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Get started on the course website using Plone

The course website is built on the Plone content management system, which provides many powerful integration services. All you need to know to use this website as well as links to more detailed documentation is located on this page.

If you are not logged in,  you can use the site as an anonymous visitor. However, to be part of the course, you need to log in. 

First things first

  1. To get a login, you need to be accepted into the course by the course organizer. 
  2. Once you are accepted into the course, you will need to fill out this form that asks for a login and some related information.
  3. Learn what it takes to develop a *good* password (unless you already know this topic inside out, please review the links in here). 
  4. Carefully read the Course Entry Agreement. Print a copy, sign it and bring it to the next course meeting. 
  5. Review the basic info on how to nagivate this site below; find your ReLog folder, submit a hello-world ReLog and Forum Entry.


Basic skills and how to read the rest of the documentation

This course website is built on the Plone web content management system. Although it provides many powerful and complex integration services, you only need a little information to successfully get through this course. Here are the basics:

  • Plone Tabs & Menu BarYou need to log in to see the editing "menu" and "tabs" of a webpage. This allows you to interact with the website beyond reading the pages. Both are found in the green bar on the top of the content for each page, right under the top navigation bar.  You will only see this feature after you log in. All tabs are on the right of this bar, all menus on the left.
  • To add new content: Nagivate to the folder where you want this new content to remain long-term. Open the "Add new..." menu. Then choose the type of content you want to add. If you don't know anything about what you want to add, please choose "Page" for normal content you write, and "Feedback Content" for your reviews. Here is a more detailed description of how to add pages in Plone
    If you have difficulty adding pages in the folders where you believe you have access (e.g. no "Add new..." menu is visible), then please contact the course organizer immediately; this is probably due to a permission setting that needs to be adjusted. 
  • Editor: When you open a new page to add content, the main content field will show a toolbar that may be similar to ones you have seen in other text processors. Feel free to experiment (or read a brief description of the text editing tool bar here). Here are step by step instructions for how to insert images in your pages (or the rich-text part of your feedback).
    Editor Tool Bar
  • Save or cancel: Every time you open a page for editing (or create a new page), you MUST either save it or cancel the editing. Failure to save your work will result in your content being lost. 
  • Collaborating on content: If you work with someone on the same page, you will need to synchronize who is editing what and when, else the website gets confused and some of your edits may get lost. It is possible to check out a copy to guarantee that nobody else is working on a page at the same time (to do this, choose menu "Action" > "Check out"). If you check in again, your edits will overwrite the current official copy. Setting up collaboration through sharing of pages or folders is explained in the Plone 4 User Manual:
  • Remember this shortcut: A notation frequently used when describing what you need to do on the course website is: 
              Go to menu "MenuName" > "Menu_entry_you_need_to_choose"
    It means that you need to find the corresponding menu in the green bar at the top of the page and then select the entry described. Tabs are described in the same way.


Permissions in Plone

Please see this link if you want an overview of how the various permissions in plone work:
If you have questions about this or cannot do something you think you should be able to do in this course, please ask the course organizer.


More advanced Plone user skills

Plone is a very powerful and complex system, with more possibilities that could possibly be used in this course. Here is more detailed documentation if you want to go beyond the mere basics:

The official Plone 4 User Manual is available for free at:

If you want to get a more well rounded understanding of how to use the course website, you may explore as much of the manual as you like, however, you do not have to work through that manual to successfully use this course. If something is well explained in the manual and you need it for this course, there will be an explicit link that you can follow.

If you feel that something is poorly explained about how this site generally works, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page detailing what you would like more clearly explained. This will help improve the course website. Contact the course organizer if you have any questions.



  • Any difficulty with adding pages in the folders where you think you should be able to? For example, no "Add new..." menu is visible?
    => Please contact the course organizer 
    immediately; this is probably due to some permission setting that needs to be adjusted. 
  • Any other questions about how the course website works?
    => If not urgent, ask in class / after class. If urgent, please email the course organizer immediately.
  • If you have trouble submitting any assignment on time because of website problems, then please do email the Course Organizer immediately. If you email in time, such technical difficulties will not lead to any reduction in the points that contribute to your grades.