Help? with login, the admin panel & other stuff

Why Couch?

If you have come across the term 'CMS' (Content Management System) you may also have heard of Wordpress, Joomla and maybe Drupal ... all well-known CMSs. Why don't we use one of those?

Well, we did extensive testing of Joomla and Wordpress and they just didn't suit the way we like to work or the clients we do our work for:

  • We like designing websites : we don't want to use other designer's themes or templates - we want our websites to look unique, not generic.
  • We want the website structure to fit the content : not the other way around.
  • We want our clients to be able to update their sites with ease.

Trying to shoehorn our designs and ideas into a Wordpress or Joomla site felt like wrestling with a giant octopus. Then we discovered Couch ... it was like swimming with dolphins!

BUT perhaps most importantly of all we wanted to choose a CMS that our clients could use ... easily. You are all busy people, perhaps you don't update the site that often - once a week maybe - if the admin panel is complicated, you won't remember how to use it from one time to the next.

We didn't want an admin panel that resembled the Atlantis space shuttle's cockpit:

Atlantis shuttle cockpit

We wanted an admin panel that felt familiar and easy to use:

Mercedes dashboard

So, with just a little effort on your part you will be updating your website with Couch CMS. Please read through these tutorials, if anything is missing or not clear, do let us know!

Log in to the admin panel

Visit the URL of your Couch CMS admin panel e.g. www.yoursitename.com/panel-name/login-page-name.php (given to you when your site went live). Enter your username and password - click Login.

Couch login

A tour of the admin panel

Below is a screenshot of a typical admin panel. This is the home page of a website which has several editable regions set up. See below for numbered item details.

Couch admin panel
  1. Your username.
  2. View Site - click to view your site's home page (opens in a new tab/window).
  3. Logout - always a good idea when you've finished editing.
  4. Advanced Settings - see 'Drafts and Previews' section below and more throughout the tutorials.
  5. A navigation list of your site's pages (plus some extras).
  6. This is the name of the current page you are editing.
  7. The pages icon indicates that this part of your website is made up from cloned pages e.g. the News section of your site will be made up of many news pages or items. These cloned pages/items may be listed on a single page on the website or may be assigned a separate page - this is controlled behind the scenes and not via the Admin Panel.
  8. This is an example of content editable with the wysiwyg editor (what you see is what you get - though don't worry if what you see in the wysiwyg isn't how it appears on the web page - the style of your site is controlled by an external stylesheet - CSS - which is developed as part of your site design and structure).
  9. Another editable region - this time plain text (i.e. a simple data entry area with no formatting icons/options).
  10. This is the image uploader.
  11. Global Data - see next item.

Published Date

There is a very important field - Published date - which is accessed by clicking on 'Advanced Settings' - the arrow toggles this area open/closed.

published date

Published date defaults to today's date. If, for example, you are setting up an event or an item in a portfolio you will want to change the Published date to the date of your event (in the future) or the date the portfolio item was created (in the the past).

Unpublished

You can change the status of a page to 'unpublished'. This means that the page won't be displayed on your site. This is generally only useful for 'cloned' pages - see item 7 in 'A tour of the admin panel' for how to identify a cloned page. You may, for example, wish to spend a day or two writing the copy for a new page - set the status to 'unpublished' - when you are ready for the world to view it - publish! (NOTE: you will be able to view an unpublished page if you are logged in to the Admin Panel)

REMEMBER ... finished updating ...

Having made your changes ... VERY IMPORTANT ... scroll to the bottom of the screen and click SAVE!

save your changes

Global data

What is Global Data?

There are some data items on a website which are repeated in different places. For example: your email address will probably appear in the footer on all pages, the contact page and maybe elsewhere within other pages. If global data needs changing you only have to change it once - within the Global Data page - the new value will be reflected across the whole website. Useful!

Near the bottom of your site's navigation list in the admin panel you will see an item named: "Global Data" (see item 11 in the admin panel tour screenshot above). Click on this and a range of editable regions from across the whole of your website are displayed for editing.

Simple text editing

As easy as 1, 2, 3 ...
  1. Click on the link for the page you want to edit within the admin panel navigation list.
  2. Make your changes within a simple text entry panel or the wysiwyg editor (more on the wysiwyg - see main link left).
  3. Click on Save! Click on View to see the page you've just updated.
Couch simple editing

Editable regions (inc. Repeatable Regions)

There are different types of editable regions within the Couch admin panel. These are the most common:

  • Text - for a heading or single line of content.
  • Text Area - for an address or small amount of content.
  • Rich Text - for large areas of free format content. This is input via a wysiwyg editor called CKEditor. This allows you more options for selecting heading styles and inputting images etc and is therefore more error prone!
  • NicEdit - a lighweight wysiwyg editor used within repeatable regions (for setting up a slideshow for example - see more info on repeatable regions below).
  • Images - images can be uploaded by clicking on the image icon in the toolbar of CKEditor OR in a more controlled fashion using the image editable region. This is a separate entity and not part of the wysiwyg (see Images - main link left - for more details).
  • You may also come across radio buttons, dropdowns and checkboxes to enable you to make choices in styles for presenting your site content.

Repeatable Region

Below is a screenshot of a repeatable region. This type of editable region is particularly useful for setting up an area of a web page which will display X number of objects (i.e. a variable number). For example, a number of slides in a slideshow.

By default Couch will display an empty 'row' for you to set up your first entry. For the second and subsequent rows click on 'Add a Row' - see No. 1 below.

Another useful feature of a repeatable region is that the order of the rows can be altered by dragging and dropping. Hover over the dotted area in the left margin, see No. 2 below, and the drag icon will appear. Left click, hold down and drag the row to the new position - release the left click.

Couch repeatable region

Cloned pages

As mentioned above in 'A tour of the Admin Panel' the pages icon cloned pages to the left of an item in the main site navigation list indicates that this part of your website is made from cloned pages. For example, the News section of a website will be made up of many news pages or items - each of these is considered a clone of the original page or template (i.e. a copy of a the original).

Each clone is presented to you in the Admin Panel as a separate entity - listed as shown in the example below ... news item 1, news item 2 etc. These cloned pages/items may be listed on a single page on the website or may be assigned a separate page each or shown 6 per page - this is usually controlled behind the scenes and not via the Admin Panel.

Cloned pages
  1. Click on 'Add New' to create a new page/item (see more on ADD NEW CLONED PAGE below).
  2. 'Delete Selected' to delete any pages/items with the check box ticked. Alternatively, you can set the status of a page to 'unpublished' in the Advanced Settings.
  3. If this page/item is within a folder (or category) it will be shown here.
  4. Date : published date.
  5. Actions : Edit - Delete - View. You may also open a page for editing by clicking on the page title.

Click on the main title, in this example News to return to the listing of cloned pages.

The arrow is pointing to the default or anchor entry for this page's template. Each clonable page in Couch requires this page to exist, it will usually have been set up for you and will be 'unpublished' - please do not delete.

Add New cloned page

Add New cloned page - create a new page/item
Cloned pages
  1. The heading indicates where you are e.g. in this screenshot - Events.
  2. Toggle the Advanced Settings open/closed by clicking on the arrow. Set the Published Date to the date of your new page/item.
  3. Give your new page/item a Title. This will usually be displayed on the website - so choose something appropriate!
  4. Leave the Name empty - Couch will complete this field automatically when left blank.
  5. If Folders are implemented for these pages/items you will see a dropdown list from which you can select the appropriate Folder in which to put this new page/item.

Continue to work your way down through the editable regions for the new page and finally ...

REMEMBER ... finished updating ...

Having made your changes ... VERY IMPORTANT ... scroll to the bottom of the screen and click SAVE!

save your changes

Drafts and previews

The content in this section is taken from drafts and previews within the official Couch documentation (thanks to the Couch Team).

A draft of any published page can be created by accessing the 'Advanced settings' of the page and then clicking the 'Create Draft' button.

Couch drafts and previews

A draft is actually a separate page in itself that has its data copied over from the original page.

Couch drafts and previews

All the drafts are stored in a separate section called drafts that shows up only if there are any available drafts in the system.

Couch drafts and previews

The drafts are internally linked to their original pages and can also be accessed from the link that shows up alongside the original pages that have any drafts available.

Couch drafts and previews

You can safely work on a draft page without disturbing the original page at all. You can save the draft just as you would save any of the regular pages. You can also preview the changes you make to the draft.

Couch drafts and previews

Once you are satisfied with your changes, you can either choose to update the original page (this will move the data from the draft into the original page and then delete the draft itself) ... or discard the draft.

Couch drafts and previews

More than one draft may be created out of a single page. This comes in handy when you wish to create several different versions of the same page and then finally choose one of them to go live.