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Configuring Sakai from within the Web Application

Once Sakai is up and running and you are familiar with the basic operation of the software, there are few common administrative tasks that you may wish to perform.

Change the Default Administrator's Password
By default, the application ships with an administrative user named "admin" whose password is also "admin". Once you get Sakai up and running, one of the most important configuration tasks is to change the default admin password. To do this:

  1. log in to Sakai using the username "admin", password "admin".
  2. Navigate to the "Administration Workspace" site, then open the "Users" tool.
  3. Click the "admin" user's name in the list of users
  4. Enter a new password, then click "Update Details"

Adding Administrative Users

If you wish to delegate administrative permissions to a range of users and wish a clearer audit trail for admin changes, you may want to set up additional administrator accounts. To add a new administrative user:

  1. Log in as an existing administrator
  2. Under the "Administration Workspace" site, open the "Users" tool.
  3. Click the "New User" link.
  4. Enter the new user's information and set their type to admin (mostly a nicety to help remember who the admins are)
  5. Click "Save Details"
  6. Open the "Worksite Setup" tool. Check the box next to the "Administration Workspace" site, then click "Edit".
  7. Click "Add Participants" then enter the username you created earlier in the "Username(s)" text area (the upper of the two). Click "Continue".
  8. Tick the radio button for the "admin" role, then click "Continue".
  9. Select your notification options if desired, then click "Continue".
  10. Click "Finish" to add the user to the Administration Workspace as an admin.

If you wish to give a user superadmin privileges without adding them to the Administrative Workspace site:

  1. Create a new user following the first 5 steps above.
  2. Under the "Administration Workspace" site, open the "Realms" tool.
  3. Enter "/site/!admin" in the search field and hit the "Search" link.
  4. Click the "/site/!admin" link that appears in the list of results.
  5. Click the "Grant Ability" link at the top of the screen that appears.
  6. Enter the id of the user created above in the "User Id:" text box, select the "admin" role, then click "Done".

Manually Adding a Tool to a Sakai Site.

By default, a number of provisional tools are included with Sakai, but can only be added to a site manually. This process is detailed in the SakaiPedia entry "Manually Adding a Tool to a Sakai Site".

Displaying dynamic HTML within the gateway and other sites.

By default, the gateway site displayed before users logged in displays a two-column layout containing the latest message of the day and the content of the location specified by server.info.url in your sakai.properties file. The default location for server.info.url points to a static HTML file bundled with a standar Sakai installation. Administrators are likely to prefer a message that can be updated without requiring a restart. Here's an approach to making the server info displayed in the gateway dynamic:

  1. Open the "Administration Workspace"
  2. Open the "Resources" tool
  3. Click on the "public" directory.
  4. Use the triangle to the right of the Add button to select the "Create HTML Page" option.
  5. Enter your content, then click "Continue.
  6. Select a name and copyright options for your page, then click "Finish".
  7. Once the page is saved, copy and paste the URL for your page into memory (the URL will typically be something like http://hostname/public/Your File Name.
  8. Edit your sakai.properties file and set server.info.url to the URL specified above (the protocol and port are optional).
  9. Restart Sakai

A similar approach can be used to prepare public content for use in any site or template. As above, create public content from the "Administration Workspace" site. Once you've saved your content, simply add an additional "Web Content" tool to the site in question. Here's an example in which we add a custom page to the default template for new "My Workspace" sites (useful for training materials, etc.):

  1. Follow the steps to create a dynamic page as in the previous examples.
  2. Open the "Sites" tool
  3. Open the "My Workspace" template (!user)
  4. Click the "Pages" button
  5. Click the "New Page" link
  6. Enter a name for your new page (this will appear in the list of pages in the navigation bar).
  7. Click the "Tools" button
  8. Click the "New Tool" link
  9. Select the radio button next to the "Web Content" tool
  10. Scroll down and enter the URL you copied above into the "source" field.
  11. Click "Done" to save your changes.

Template sites only show up in the "Sites" tool. For individual sites, you can simply add the dynamic content as follows:

  1. Follow the steps to create a dynamic page as in the previous examples.
  2. Open the site
  3. Open the "Site Info" tool
  4. Click the "Edit Tools" link
  5. Select the "Web Content" tool, then click "Continue"
  6. Enter the URL you copied above into the "URL" field, then click "Continue", then "Finish"

Permissions

The permission to view, edit, delete, and otherwise manage the data associated with Sakai tools is managed using realms, which are most commonly associated with a site. Each realm has one or more roles to which a user can be assigned. Permissions are managed using the Realms tool in the administrative workspace.

Examples of roles would be instructor, student, teaching assistant, grader, site maintainer, site accessor. A role is typically given a single word name like "instructor", "student", "ta", "grader", "maintain", "access". Each role specifies explicitly all of its permissions, and one set of permissions does not imply another (for example, "add" for a given tool does not imply "edit" or even "read" for the same tool).

The default permissions for a realm are inherited from the most appropriate realm template for a given site at the time the site is created. A site with a type of "project" would inherit from the realm !site.template.project realm if it exists, or from the !site.template realm if !site.template.project realm does not exist.