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The follow notes are ideas, suggestions, and feature requests.

Ideas on Other Pages

Page Complier - mjn

Almost everything that's part of a Sosua page object can be described in normal HTML page. The page edit merely allows you to re-use elements and provide some editing structure. However, it can clutter up the collections of the Resource tool. One could consider a "Page Compiler" (save to HTML) which takes a page layout description and renders it into a fixed HTML file.

See Antranig - August 5, 2008 for discussion on this topic.

Sousa Modules - mjn

Group sequences into modules with metadata. Structures might be analogous to book/chapter/section/page, or other organizations.

Charting, Plots, Graphs - mjn - Completed in Aug. 2008

Use data from tables, spreadsheets, etc. and plot with SVG. The OpenCSV page is Apache 2.0 licensed and is very simple to use. It's a great way to get tabular data into Sousa. Initially, editing would only add or swap CSV (or TAB) files. Later, we could add a customized editor for table data editing. Plots and graphics are a matter of specifying which rows (or columns) to use as data, and then plot it using SVG.

OpenCSV was used on another project that builds it as a JAR that can be included in Sakai. It might be a good idea to get this put up on the Sakai Maven repository. Library is very easy to use.

Sousa Support in Structured Editing - mjn

Given that FCKEdit and TinyMCE are extensible WYSISWYG editor components, it should be possible to add an extension that allows Sousa objects to be embedded in a free-form, marked-up text element. Several extensions to editors were mentioned at the Ninth Sakai Conference in Paris (Project Coord Meeting). Also, Fluid has a text editor component now that edits text in-line (rather than in a form element).

New Page Types - Matt Mizz

The file types that we wanted to be able to display were Word Documents and PDFs.

Matt Mize, Systems Administrator
(937) 229-1024

UDit Department, University of Dayton
300 College Park, Dayton, OH, 45469-1302 

Microsoft documents might be displayable. There is an open source project to parse MS documents, thought I believe it is largely focused on Excel at this time. Display of PDF pages is fine as long as the browser supports it (such as Firefox).

Table Access to Pages and Modules - Luke Fernandez

What I'd like to be able to do is to use the Wiki as much as possible as a tool for hosting course modules. I'm doing this already with some success this semester (each course module is a page which contains links to content, discussion, and to the occasional quiz) but what I'd really like to do is to present links to course modules in a table (maybe even with folder icons) as per the attached screen shot. The default wiki table doesn't appear to do this felicitously 'cuz (as per Michal's question that sparked this thread) a yellow row appears across the top of the table. Is there a way to remove the yellow row? And are there any examples out there in the wild of other instructors who've leveraged the wiki this way?

More from Peter Knoop

You might also consider broadening you're scope here beyond just the wiki's use in these types of approaches. I suspect I'm not the only one who uses their favourite HTML editor (e.g. FrontPage, Dreamweaver) to create pages in Resources, and organize their course and content in a similar way as to what I think you're describing with the wiki. (With
the current state of WebDAV its not always possible to work directly from such applications with Sakai, but there are relatively easy ways around that.)

Such content in Resources can be placed behind Web Content tools, used as the content for the Site Info tool on the Home page (generally with the synoptic tools removed) to provide a roadmap of links to other content in the site, easily linked to from Schedule items, Announcements, etc. You can also link such pages together, so that you can build up a scaffolding, similar to the wiki approach that provides that structure built-in. You can also do things like create a page containing a reading (which might have some interactive flash illustrations on it too) and a link to some self-test questions at the end, rather than expecting the student to read a document in Resources and then navigating with the toolbar to the right place in Samigo or Mneme to do the self-test. (Now that relies on the URL accessibility of items in those tools, which Sakai is working towards supporting in more tools; I mostly still use our U-M legacy system here, as I don't have time to convert the content.) You can attach that Resource to the lecture it goes with in the Schedule tool too – if you're one to create a schedule event for each of your class sessions – allowing a student an alternative "entry" to your course at the appropriate point from their Schedule in their My Workspace. They can still go to it via Resources too and find the Week 7 folder with their reading, or click on
the Week 7 Web Content tool, and so on... It certainly takes a bit of effort, but there is flexibility in Sakai that let's you already begin to explore the usefulness of some alternative approaches to organizing your content and guiding your students' navigation of it.

Page Parameters - mjn

Now that I have support for parameters on media objects (heigh, width, etc.), there are properties that could be associated with a whole Sousa page. These might include:

  1. Background color
  2. Background image
  3. Height and width
  4. Tile borders
  5. Tile backgrounds (color, image)
  6. Tile padding and spacing
  7. Item spacing

Sakai Project Coordination Meeting - Paris, July, 2008

Fluid has an in-line editor that is WYSIWHG. It could serve as the basis for text editing in Sousa page.

Consider an index-access sequence type. Robert from Montreal (CRIM?) showed a Syllabus editor that does something like this. Index could be hierarchical with drill down. Fluid provides support for re-ordering trees.

Layout and Tile Attributes - mjn

Now that layout spans are in place, the need for layout attributes becomes more clear. These fall into two categories: those that apply to the whole layout, and those that apply to specific tiles.

Layout Attributes

  • Border Width
  • Cell padding
  • Cell spacing
  • Border color
  • Left Column Width
  • Right Column Width

Tile Attributes

  • Background color
  • Horizontal alignment
  • Vertical alignment

Adding these will require changes to the layout XML file, but it should be possible to add them in a manner that is backwards compatible with existing layouts.

Editing Layout attributes will likely require a new link off of EditPageProducer. Tile attributes, on the other hand, would be a link off of the tile view. These views do complicate the editing a bit. Perhaps a simpler approach can be thought of.

The following illustration shows the use of drop down palettes for background color, vertical and horizontal alignment on the page preview:

Alternatively (and perhaps better), they could go on the tile edit page:

Sequence Attributes - mjn, Aug. 2008

Some attributes that might be associated with a sequence:


  • Author
  • Title
  • Copyright info


  • Show page titles
  • Show page descriptions


  • Automatic advance (timer)

Pop-ups - mjn, Sept. 2, 2008

A very simple interactive element that could be easily added to Sousa is a pop-up element. It would be either a simple link or perhaps styled to look like a button. In either case, a small pop-up window would be created with content in it. The content could be a media object, Sousa page, or any web page specified by a URL.

Note that the URL media object is already very close to this. Perhaps it can be extended or cloned to provide pop-up functionality.

HTML5 Support - mjn, Aug. 20, 2013

HTML5 has substantially improved support for interactive multimedia objects.  This is one way to get 3D, Math, Music, Chemistry, etc. into Sousa pages.  Since Sousa is written on top of RSF and RSF requires XHTML, it might be a simple matter of changing the XML line at the top of each page to bring in the HTML5 name space.  I think there are HTML headers than might need to be added as well.  More research is needed.



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