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Let's define the key terms for this project here. Please feel free to add your own, but don't delete any. Explain how they relate to each other.


The act of creating original content or editing content. It is more than filling in data fields in a form, but there is potentially a grey area for large, free-form, text entry boxes with a WYSIWYG Editor.
Authoring is also the act of assembling content, files and active components to create a coherent whole, that may be a page or a site.


Typically a static combination of text, images and other multimedia components, generally intended to be viewed and/or read without additional interaction.


Edit in place



A very broad term that describes many levels of granularity in 'chunks' of Sakai functionality, from a simple data field to a whole tool. In the authoring context we will often be referring to an html rendering of that functionality, but there could be a 'data' (e.g. JSON) rendering too.

May also refer to an external resource to which a user might want to point, or show in part or as a whole on a page.

Freeform Authoring

This will be the default form of authoring in many people's expectations, but it has meaning when contrasted to highly structured authoring (e.g. constrained by an XML DTD or XSD) such as often occurs in a Portfolio Form. An example of structured authoring might be a c.v. that includes a series of repeating elements, each of which contains employer, start date, end date, position and description imposed in the document.

HTML Editor


A single web page.

An area in the browser screen where the user views information and navigates by conventions recognised by most web users as 'moving around pages'. Note this definition is offered because in a standard site there are 'pages' at least two levels. One level is the html that fills the browser window, but this often includes 'framing' components like headers and navigation bars. Where there are framing components, the area of the page that changes as you navigate is also thought of as a 'page' by many (most?) users.

Page Authoring

the act of assembling content, files and active components to create a coherent whole that is recognised by most users as being a 'page'.




A technology for enabling 'active areas' to appear in a page. An 'active area' supports user interaction, e.g. posting to a discussion thread or submitting an assignment. Synonyms for the purpose of the authoring discussion include 'gadget' and in some uses 'entity'. There are technical definitions for these names which are not widely understood nor widely applied accurately. Current Sakai usage does not reflect the technical definitions.


A visualization tool which lets a user see what the final page looks like while editing it. In addition, a WYSIWYG editor automates the most common features, letting the user update code in the background without prior coding knowledge. TinyMCE and FCK Editor are the two ones used in Sakai right now.