Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

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hehemrin
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Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by hehemrin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:12 pm

I keep a note book about what I’m doing with the Joomla site. E.g. which extensions I add or delete, when I upgrade extensions, backups, issues I have to solve, ideas for improvements of my site, tasks and so on. It works fine to have it as a separate notebook (paper or digital).

But maybe, it would be even better to have one inside the Admin. That would make it easily available for all administrators (of course it is possible to share files outside Joomla), and it would also make it easy to hand over it to a new administrator. A note book inside Admin may also encourage to keep notes, which next admin may be grateful to find.

For example in Articles, it is possible to add a Version note.

But now I’m thinking of one note book to use for the entire site, available from back end.
It can be an advanced one, or just a text file (or ”document” with formatting features).

I dare not to believe I can contribute to the development of this note book. Nevertheless I want to raise the idea, to see if it make sense to a wider group of Joomla users.

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Webdongle
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by Webdongle » Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:26 pm

Create an Article and call it 'change log' set the access to the level you want it seen.
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results": Albert Einstein

hehemrin
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by hehemrin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:41 pm

Webdongle, I agree that is a work around. But it would be better to have the notebook separated from Articles, articles really are intended to be published and read as web pages and not as a backend tool. The notebook would feel as a bit lost somewhere in the Article list. By the way, I am not fully sure there is not any extension already for this. But ok, it is possible to create an article for this purpose.

Best regards

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Webdongle
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by Webdongle » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:18 pm

It's not a workaround. It's creating an Article with contents that can be seen according to Joomla's view/access and written to according to Joomla's acl. If you had a component that made notes then it would replicate the same process.
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results": Albert Einstein

hehemrin
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by hehemrin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:53 pm

A normal article is read in published mode from front end. This notebook article(s) would be read from backend, and normally read in edit mode, maybe preview mode (and maybe in published mode as well, hard to guess). Normal articles are also connected to front end menus. This one is instead connected to backend menu (I suppose it is doable, likely some coding is needed, I cannot find article object directly for backend menus). So, I still see it as a work around.

But ok, thanks for your tip and proposal!

Best regards

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Webdongle
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by Webdongle » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:16 pm

If
Users >>> User notes
and
Users >>> User note categories
Doesn't suit

Try
search
site:extensions.joomla.org notes

https://extensions.joomla.org/extension/cnotes/
https://extensions.joomla.org/extension/admin-reminder/


Or perhaps https://extensions.joomla.org/extension ... ser-notes/
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results": Albert Einstein

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sozzled
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by sozzled » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:52 pm

It's great to read stories from website owners about how they keep notes on what they're doing. Far too often we read in this forum, stories from website owners who write:
  • "I don't remember my administrator password ..."
  • "I don't know what version of Joomla I'm using ..."
  • "I think I updated my Joomla website but I don't remember what version I was using before the update ..."
and so on ...

The mere fact that some website owners don't keep any notes is disappointing. How can people manage things if they have no record of what they did and when they did things?

There are some tools available to J! website owners to automate these record-keeping matters. One such tool (that I've used) was RSLog! (at least that's what I remember as it's name) but I can't find any information about the extension. This tool kept a record of who logged into the backend, when they logged in, and some details about what they did (e.g. modified a user account, installed/updated an extension, created/modified an article). Regrettably I can't find anything further about this extension and I suspect it's been abandoned. It wasn't perfect but it provided a kind of "audit trail" of administrator activity on a website.

I don't use RSLog! (if that's what it was called); its features may have been incorporated into RSFirewall!. I really can't tell you more, sorry.

Some of the products mentioned by @Webdongle may also be useful and would be worth spending time to see if they assist in doing what you've asked.

Paper records—things we write down in our notebooks—are priceless but, in an environment where a website has more than one administrator, it's difficult to co-ordinate the activities of the administrative personnel unless people are also diligently updating those records. A further complication is how the administrators communicate among themselves what each of them are doing or have done. Email is one way, I guess, to address the matter but it requires having the discipline to keep other people "in the loop".

Another mechanism might be to construct a spreadsheet and either (a) have one person responsible to keeping the spreadsheet information updated when things happend or (b) allow everyone in the administrative group to share that spreadsheet with the ability to update it as each person does something. Maintaining that information is one thing; keeping that information secure and safe from people who don't have the right to know it is another.

It's also possible to produce a regular report from a spreadsheet and post that report in some form (possibly, read-only as a PDF document or online in its original file format) but, again, that's a matter for each website administration team to decide what's best for them.

There are obvious benefits to the website owner(s) in being able to look back over time at how the site was created, maintained, and [importantly] what information is needed when problems occur. I've attached an excerpt from my own notebook that shows an example of the kind of information that I need. I don't need to know everything; just the basics. I can easily login to any J! website, look at what extensions are installed, and use Akeeba Backup to take a new snapshot of the system and store it offline.

Yet another idea might be to use a discussion forum—as long as the part that's used for team discussions is/are kept away from other users of the website—where you can keep track not only of when things were done but also how the team arrived at the decisions that lead to changes being made. It can also be used for brainstorming new ideas. :) I've found that this approach can be very effective to help introduce new members into the team and teach them the team discipline.

One can also get a rough idea of when changes were made by using a cPanel file explorer, of FTP client (e.g. FileZilla) and looking at file modified dates. It's not a perfect science but these are some ideas.

Lastly, no, I'm not aware of any J! extensions that do it all in one place. @Webdongle's suggestion—create a J! article that's accessible only to the Administrator group—is probably as close as anyone might get, coupled with versioning that keeps some track of when the article was changed so that one could compare differences between the different versions of the article to see what happend (and, maybe, when it happened).

Good questions, @hehemrin, and it's a good discussion. I'm looking forward to see how the discussion goes from here. Cheers. 8)
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by SharkyKZ » Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:51 am

Sounds like you need a very basic component to store and view database records in the backend. Use a tool like https://ibrini.com/en/ or https://www.component-creator.com/en/ to create one.

hehemrin
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by hehemrin » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:58 pm

First of all, thanks for tips and proposals from various persons! I have looked into some of them, and thought of the ideas, but I am not in any decision to go for any of them (until any decision, I stick to a paper note book).

Sozzled, I am glad to here you think it make sense to keep some sort of record! I am curious to also here how others do with records; if and how.

My need, currently, is to handle smaller web sites. I can well believe that sites for e.g. big corporations needs different and sophisticated solutions, like a Sharepoint site.

Maybe also for "smaller sites", it may not be the best to keep the notes inside Joomla as I propose. But maybe it can be a good idea; again, interested to hear how other do or would like to do; sharing "best practise" with or without develop anything new.

When sozzled wrote about tools that automize, I thought further. My notebook is a mix of data about which release I installed when, when I added which extension, and so on. But I realize, this type of data should likely be possible to automize, i.e an easy read Joomla data log with important events (those I consider important...), available from backend, would be a great help. The other side of my notebook is topics like why I installed an extension, where I use it, which similar I have tested, odd behaviour and bugs on my site I want to solv, ideas forward, and so on.

I'm happy to listen to more Joomla users on this topic!

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brian
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Re: Notebook for Admin inside the Admin area

Post by brian » Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:14 pm

I always use a custom module and publish it on the control panel
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