The Basic Meeting List Toolbox

Administering the CMS Plugins

All of the CMS plugins present exactly the same user interface for administration. There may be slight differences in styling, but the behavior and basic interface is identical between plugins. This page will describe what each of the various parts of the plugin administrative interface do.

Some of the images below are “thumbnails.” Smaller images, that, when clicked, will open up larger images.

The Main Dialog

The administration page is a fairly large screen that uses up pretty much all of the page. Unless you have a massive computer monitor, you’ll probably have to scroll to see the whole thing. You can click on the image to the left, and it will open a larger version of the screen.

Success Message
The very top of the screen will have a white bar. This bar is a “fader.” It will display a success or failure message when you save the settings. The message fades after a few seconds. If the operation succeeds, you get a green “success” message, as shown by the image to the right. This message will fade in a few seconds, leaving the bar white and blank.

If the operation fails, a red message, similar to the one on the right, will be displayed, and will take longer to fade than the green success message.

Multiple Settings

An extremely powerful feature of the new 2.1 (and greater) series of plugins, is the ability to have multiple “settings.” Each setting can point to a different root server, have a different color theme, a different map setup a different time offset…you get the picture. They can also show different “views” of the same root server. An example of that is the Greater New York Region site. If you go to the main meeting search, you will see a fairly general map that shows the entire Region. However, it is also possible to go to “focused” searches for each of the member ASCs of the Region, such as the Eastern Long Island Area, or the New York City Area, or the Lower Hudson Valley Area. Each of these searches is established by a separate setting, with the only difference being the map center and zoom. They all point to the same root server.

A more extreme example can be observed in the demos shown on this site. There is one that uses the Greater New York Region root server, and another that uses a test server for UKNA. They can all be shown on the same site.

When you first access the settings page, you will see only two buttons above the map:

Two Buttons Shown

The “Save” button is disabled. This will become enabled if there is a change in the settings. If you click on the green button (“Add A New Setting”), the top, which before, showed only a title for the setting:

Single Setting Has Only A Title

now has a popup menu:

The popup menu will allow you to switch the screen between the settings:

Whichever setting is chosen will set up the values in the screen.

You will also see that there are now three buttons:

The new button allows you to delete the current setting. You cannot delete the only setting, so the delete button is not shown if there is only one setting available.

Just below the popup, you will see a string that tells you the setting ID. This ID is unique to each setting, and is used to associate a displayed BMLT instance to the setting. We’ll get into exactly how that works, later.

Settings ID String

Below that, are some text inputs. The first, allows you to specify a descriptive name for this setting:

After you save the settings, this name will be used for this setting.

Once something changes in the screen, the Add and Delete buttons will be disabled, and the “Save Changes” button will become enabled.

Save Button Enabled

NOTE: This will save ALL changes, in ALL settings, even ones that you can’t see, because they are not selected. This means that the save button may be enabled when there are no visible changes to the current settings. If you try to close the browser or navigate away without saving the changes, you will be presented with a dialog that will ask if you want to leave the page (lose the changes), or stay (keep the changes).

The URL

Below the Settings Name text input, is another text input. This is the Root Server URL.

The Root Server URL is where you enter the URL to the main_server directory of the desired root server. The “Test” button will allow you to check to make sure that the URL points to a valid root server. If the root server is valid, you will get a green circle and the server version will be displayed. If the URL is not valid, you will get a red “X”, and there will be a message, informing you that the URL is not valid.

NOTE: The server version should be 1.8.1 or above to be considered “valid.” Versions less than this may work, but not all functions will be supported.

The Themes

Below the URL text inputs, is a popup menu that allows you to select a color and style “theme.” At the time of this writing, there are seven themes available, but this number is expected to grow.

Additional CSS

This is fairly self-explanatory. You can actually type/paste in CSS styles that will be inserted into the <head> section of the page containing the BMLT instance. This allows you to add custom style and behavior to the BMLT instance that is not provided by the selected theme.

CSS Styles Input

NOTE: Only enter “pure” CSS (rules and properties only). The <style>…</style> element will be provided by the plugin. Remember that you can “break” the page with bad CSS.

Interactive Search Properties

The properties in the box under the “Additional CSS” box affect these shortcodes, in various ways:

  • [BMLT]]
  • [BMLT_MAP]]
  • [BMLT_TABLE]]
  • [BMLT_QUICKSEARCH]]
  • [BMLT_MOBILE]]
  • [SIMPLE_SEARCH_LIST]]

Google Maps API Key

This is where you need to enter the Google Maps API Key. This post covers this process in detail. It’s important to note, however, that the map below these settings will not work until a valid API key for the site has been entered (the key is blurred in order to drive home the fact that it needs to be YOUR API key. There is actually no security issue with you seeing the one in the example).

Distance Units

The mobile search can tell you how far (as the crow flies) a meeting is from the search location (or the visitor’s GPS location). This popup menu allows you to select whether the distance will be expressed as kilometers or miles.

Close-Up of the Distance Units Popup

Language

A really neat feature of the BMLT is that you can assign a different localization each setting. It needs to be noted that this will not affect the meeting data itself; only the “surrounding” text, such as table headers and button text.

Region Bias

This is a “hint” that is passed to Google Maps, indicating where it should concentrate searches. For example, if you look for “Paris” in Texas, USA, you expect to find this town, which doesn’t have the Eiffel Tower.

Week Begins On

This is used for localities (such as many European nations), where the week does not start on Sunday (as it does in the US). You can choose which weekday is considered the “first” weekday in lists of weekdays.

Time Format

This allows you to specify whether times are displayed in Ante Meridian (AM/PM) or Military (“13:00” instead of “1PM”).

Initial Search Type

Close-Up of Search Type Popup

When the interactive search is displayed, it will come up in a manner specified by this popup. The choices are:

Root Server Decides
The root server is able to choose whether the initial screen will be Basic Text Search or Basic Map Search.
Map
Always come up as Basic Map.
Text
Always come up as Basic Text.
Advanced (Server Decides)
The root server is able to choose whether the initial screen will be Advanced Text Search or Advanced Map Search (If the server is set to Basic Map, then this turns into Advanced Map, and so on)..
Advanced Map
Always come up as Advanced Map.
Advanced Text
Always come up as Advanced Text.

Grace Period

When you do a mobile search for “meetings later today”, the search will not return meetings that have already passed. This is the period of time after a meeting begins, where it will still be listed. This way, you might be a bit late, but you can still find the meeting.

Close-Up of the Grace Period Popup

The Map

The map at the bottom of the page is a standard Google Map. It allows you to select a center point for the map, as well as a zoom. You do this by moving the black marker (you can grab it and drag it, or simply click somewhere on the map). You adjust the zoom by using the tool in the bottom right corner of the map.