Neatline

Building an interactive map using Omeka’s Neatline plugin

Neatline is a plugin for Omeka that allows for the creation of interactive maps and timelines. Neatline allows the user to plot points on geospatial layers that, when clicked, reveal text and media. Users may create records from scratch and add them to their Neatline exhibits, or import existing items from Omeka. See Neatline.org for demos of this tool in action and more documentation.

Before using this tool, you will need to:

1) Install Omeka (see “Installing Omeka”).

2) Install the Neatline plugin to your Omeka site (see the “Installing Plugins” section of the “Installing Omeka” guide).


Contents

Some vocabulary

Setting up (first time only)

Creating Collections and Items in Omeka

Managing your Neatline exhibits in Omeka

Linking your maps to your Omeka home page


Some vocabulary

Item: Omeka’s basic building block, containing text, media, and/or metadata.
Collection: A group of items, typically sharing a common theme.
Record: Neatline’s version of items. Can be created on their own, or imported from an existing item in Omeka.
Exhibit: A Neatline map or timeline; contains your records.
Widget: An add-on tool for Neatline, such as Waypoints.
Spatial layer: A navigable map that Neatline can use, typically pulled from Google Maps. The various options Neatline offers have different aesthetics.

Setting up (first time only)

1. Install the Neatline plugin (see above). Install any additional supporting plugins you’d like, such as Neatline Waypoints.

2. Go to your Plugins page in Omeka. Then, click “Configure” to the right of Neatline. On the configuration page, click the link to developers.google.com/maps/web. If possible, open this link in a new tab, since you’ll soon need to return to the configuration page.

3. On the Google page that opens, click the “GET A KEY” button at top right. Follow the prompts in the pop-up window to create a new project, named whatever you’d like (this title won’t matter for your Neatline projects). When you’re given a long string of characters, copy it. This is your Google Maps API Key. You’ll only need it once.

4. Return to the Neatline configuration page from step 2. Paste your API Key into the text box. Then click the green “Save Changes” button. Neatline is now connected to Google Maps.

5. Click Settings at top right of your Omeka dashboard. In the text box to the right of “ImageMagick Directory Path,” enter this exact text without the quotation marks: “/usr/bin”. Then click the green Save Changes button at top right. This will allow Omeka to handle your images properly.

Neatline is now ready to go!

Creating Collections and Items in Omeka

1. Optional: create one or more collections. This is an organizational tool: by creating collections now, you’ll be able to sort your items or bulk import them to Neatline more easily later. To create a collection, click “Collections” on your lefthand Omeka dashboard menu. Then, click the green Add a Collection button. On the Add a Collection page, give your collection a Title (you can leave all other boxes blank). If you want to add formatting to your text such as bolding or italics, check the box next to “Use HTML,” and more editing options will appear.

When you’re done, check the box next to “Public” and then click the green Add Collection button.

NOTE: You’ll see many fields when creating collections or items, but there’s no need to panic: almost all are optional and exist for archival purposes. Only fields with a * after them are required.

2. Begin creating items. Omeka is a tool for curating artifacts. In this step, you’ll begin this curation by creating items. To create an item, click “Items” on your lefthand Omeka dashboard menu. Then, click the green Add an Item button. On the Add an Item page, give your item a Title and a Description (you can leave all other boxes blank). This is the text that will ultimately appear to viewers of this record on your Neatline map. If you want to add formatting to your text such as bolding or italics, check the box next to “Use HTML,” and more editing options will appear.

Check the box next to “Public.” If you wish to add this item to a collection, select it from the dropdown menu under “Collection.”

If you wish to add images to your item, click the “Files” tab, then click “Choose File.” Follow the prompts to upload an image. To upload more images, click the green Add Another File button. These images will be displayed alongside your text when a viewer clicks the relevant point on your map.

If you wish to add tags to your item, click the “Tags” tab, then enter all desired tags in the text box, separated by commas. Remember to click Add Tag afterward.

When you’re done adding text, files, and tags, click the green Add Item (or Save Changes if you’re editing) button.

You can always find your list of items, with the option to edit each one, by clicking Items on your Omeka dashboard. From the Items page, you can also use the blue Search Items button to filter items by user or tag.

Clicking “Tags” on the Omeka dashboard will bring you to a list of all your tags. Click a tag’s name to edit it, or click the number to its left to view all items with that tag.

Managing your Neatline exhibits in Omeka

1. Create an exhibit. Your Neatline map will be known as an exhibit. It’s now time to create this map. Click Neatline on the lefthand dashboard menu, which brings you to the Browse Exhibits page. Then click the green Create an Exhibit button.

On the Create an Exhibit page: give your exhibit a Title, Narrative (optional but recommended), and Widgets (if you’d like to use Waypoints or another add-on you’ve previously installed). The Narrative is the exhibit’s primary textual description, and it will appear alongside your map.

Scroll down and select a Default Spatial Layer from the dropdown menu. The Default Spatial Layer is the default map style your exhibit will display. You can edit this any time, so try out a few and see which aesthetic you like best. You can also optionally use the Embed Spatial Layers field to allow your viewers to toggle between various map styles.

The only other setting you need to change here (eventually) is Public: when you check this box, your exhibit will be live. When you’re done, click the green Save Exhibit button at the bottom of the form.

2. Access the Neatline editor. Return to the Browse Exhibits page from step 1. To access the editor, click your exhibit’s title. Clicking Public View or Fullscreen View will let you preview how your exhibit will look to visitors.

Here is what the editor looks like. Notice the Records, Styles, and Plugins tabs, and the list of records below the blue New Record button (there won’t be any records until you add some):

3. Set the default focus. This is the latitude/longitude and zoom that viewers will see when they first open your map (they’ll then be able to move it however they’d like). In the editor, click the Styles tab. Click and drag on your map to move it around, and use the + and – symbols at top left to zoom in and out. When you’re satisfied with the current view of the map, click the Use Current Viewport as Default button. This will automatically fill-in coordinates and the depth of zoom. You can also manually add these. When you’re done, click the blue Save button.

4. Import items into your exhibit, which then become records. First, click the Records tab in the editor. Then, click the large blue New Record button.

New tabs will appear. Click the Item tab. You’ll see a dropdown menu called “Search Omeka items.” This will list all the Omeka items you’ve previously created. Find the item you wish to add to the map, and select it. The item’s content appears below the dropdown menu. If it looks correct, click the blue Save button. If not, click “View the item in Omeka,” edit the item, and try again.

NOTE: If you edit an item in Omeka that you’ve already imported into your Neatline exhibit, its record in the exhibit will be automatically updated.

NOTE #2: You can also create records from scratch using the New Record button and the Text tab (without making an Omeka item first). However, this isn’t recommended if you wish to include images or other media in your record, since that media would require additional HTML formatting.

5. Pin your records to the map. You can access any of your records from the list of records on the editor’s main page (see the screenshot in step 2 of this section, looking under the New Record button). Once you’re in a record, you can place it on the map. If you’ve just created a record using the Item tab from the previous step, then you’re already in that record.

Once in the record, click the Map tab. You can draw many different shapes here (and feel free to experiment!), but for our purposes, we’ll look at two buttons: “Navigate” and “Draw Point.”

When “Navigate” is selected, you can move your map around without adding anything. When “Draw Point” is selected, you can click on the map to place a blue pin. When a viewer clicks this pin, she’ll see the record associated with it. When you’re done, click Save.

For example: I have a record containing text and images about Shakespeare’s first performance of Henry V in London. I can go into my Henry V record and use “Draw Point” to place a pin on London. Now, the viewer can click the blue dot on London to bring up this record.

Optionally, you can use the Style tab in a record (to the right of the Map tab) to change the appearance of points and shapes for that record.

You can add as many interactive points or shapes as you’d like to your map.

6. Add widgets to your record (optional). If you’re using the Waypoints widget, select it by clicking in the Widgets field. See the next step for more information about Waypoints.

When you’re done, click Save. Then, you can exit out of the record and back to the editor’s main page by clicking the X above the Style tab. You can return to Omeka by clicking “Return to Omeka.”

7. Adding Waypoints: a table of contents for your map. The following guide from Neatline.org explains how to add a list of clickable records to your map, so viewers can jump from point to point without searching the map for them:
http://docs.neatline.org/working-with-the-waypoints-plugin.html

Linking your maps to your Omeka home page

1. Choose what links you’d like to display on your home page’s navigation menu. This menu may appear in a slightly different place on your home page depending on your theme. Here’s what it looks like in one of Omeka’s built-in themes (“Thanks, Roy”):

To edit this menu: from your Omeka dashboard, click Appearance in the black bar at the top of the screen. Then click the Navigation tab.

This takes you to a checklist of links. Each checked link will appear on your home page’s menu. To edit a link’s label (name) or URL, click the small black arrow to its right.

To add a new link: fill in the Label and URL fields at the bottom of this page, and then click Add Link. You can reorder the menu by clicking and dragging the links. When you’re done, click the green Save Changes button.

By default, there will be a link called “Neatline” which takes your viewer to a list of your Neatline exhibits. This is called the Browse Exhibits page, and looks like this:

If you’d rather have links on your menu to one or more specific exhibits, first pull up that exhibit’s public or full screen view (see the screenshot for step 2 under Managing Neatline exhibits and using the editor above). Copy the URL from the address bar at the top of your browser. Paste it into the URL field on Appearance > Navigation, give it a label, click Add Link, and then Save Changes.

2. OR, choose a different default home page.

To use a list of your Neatline exhibits as your home page:
On Appearance > Navigation, click on the dropdown menu under “Select a Homepage” (to the right of the link checklist). Select “Neatline” (or whatever you’ve renamed it). Click Save Changes to finish.

To use a specific exhibit as your home page (taking your viewer directly to the map):
On Appearance > Navigation, add a link to the public or fullscreen view of the map you wish to be the homepage (see the previous step). Then, click on the dropdown menu under “Select a Homepage” (to the right of the link checklist). Select the link you’ve just added. Click Save Changes to finish.

Now you can share your Omeka site’s address with whomever you’d like, and they’ll be able to explore your interactive map!

Cloning applications to a new subdomain/subdirectory

The domain name that you choose during sign up will stay with you through all of your current and future build projects. This is why we recommend choosing a general and enduring name, such as a variation of your name. However, while working on your site, you might find that the name you chose doesn’t adequately describe your project anymore. In this instance, it is possible to clone your application to a subdomain or a subdirectory of your site that has a more desirable name.

If you want to clone your site to a subdirectory (so, the URL would change from something like YOURNAME.emerson.build to YOURNAME.emerson.build/project), you can create that directory during the cloning process. To clone to a subdomain (which would change the URL from YOURNAME.emerson.build to project.YOURNAME.emerson.build), the subdomain needs to be set up ahead of time.

Once you’re ready, head to the “My Apps”/”My Applications” area from your cPanel Dashboard.

  1. To the right of the name of the app you want to clone is a row of buttons, the “clone” button looks like a forked arrow. Click it.
    Single application row in the cPanel with Clone button marked
  2. On the “Clone” screen, verify that the correct information appears in the “Source” box. Under “Destination”, choose a previously created domain or enter a subdirectory name in the “Directory” field.
    • You will see the URL and file path for the cloned site listed below these fields.
  3. The other settings can be left as their defaults to automatically create and copy databases and settings.
  4. Click the “Clone” button at the bottom of the form. Depending on the size of your application, this may take some time to complete. A progress bar will keep you updated.
  5. After verifying that the cloned site works as expected, you can delete the original.

Tip: Cloning your application can also be used to test new themes and plugins without affecting your published content.

Managing Backups

Any application that you install in Emerson.build using the cPanel/Installatron is set to automatically create a backup of the whole app every time the software updates. The backups expire after 14 days, but they can quickly eat up quota space in that time, especially since some apps (such as WordPress) update automatically. Follow the steps in each section below to take more control over the space that backups use in your account.

1. Turn off the automatic Installatron backup

  • Go to your cPanel
  • Go to Applications > WordPress > My Applications.
  • From there, select the wrench next to your site’s name.
  • Scroll down to Automatic Update Backup and set that to “Do not create a backup”​​

Application Backups screen with an arrow pointing to "Do not create a backup" under "Automatic Update Backup"

2. View restore points in JetBackup App

The JetBackup app can be found in the “Files” section of your cPanel dashboard.

Files section of the build Dashboard with JetBackup location circled

This app should already be active so there are no additional steps you need to take to set it up. JetBackup automatically creates full backups and individual backups of your site’s files and databases nightly. More information on how to navigate and use the app to restore your site is available in this post on the Reclaim Hosting Community site: “Restoring Backups Using JetBackup” (opens an external site in a new tab).

 

3. Create a manual Installatron backup before major changes

While JetBackup creates daily backups of all of your content, it’s best practice to have a backup of your application from right before you start tinkering, just in case anything goes wrong. That way you won’t lose any content that’s been added or changed since the latest daily backup. As a bonus, backups created through the Installatron are easy to restore with a single click. These manual backups can even be sent to an offsite location like Dropbox to save space.

To create a manual backup:

  • From your cPanel, click “My Apps” in the “Applications” section.
  • Click the checkbox to the far right of the application name (labeled 1 in the screenshot below).
  • Click “Backup” below the bottom of the application list (labeled 2 in the screenshot below).
  • On the next screen, enter a descriptive label and click Backup again. The backup will run with a status bar.​

Installatron "My Applications" screen. The checkbox to the far right of the application's name is labeled "1" and the "Backup" button underneath the app row is labeled "2"

 

4. Delete Installatron backups that are no longer needed

If you’ve created a manual backup or are running out of space due to the automatic backups, you should delete old Installatron backups to free up space.

  • From your cPanel, click “My Apps” in the “Applications” section.
  • Between “My Applications” and “Applications Browser”, you’ll see a “My Backups” tab. Click that to see the list of current backups.
  • Click the “X” to the right of an individual backup or check the box to the right of multiple backups, then Delete at the bottom.
    Installatron's page listing available backups with the "X" to remove one circled
  •  On the next screen, you’ll see a summary of the backup(s) to be deleted. Click “Delete” to confirm.
    The confirmation screen after clicking Delete the first time. The Delete button here is circled.

When You Leave

You retain access to your Emerson.build domain for one year after you graduate or leave Emerson. After one year, you will lose access to your Emerson account and your domain along with it. To retain ownership of your domain, you have several options: pay Reclaim Hosting a small yearly fee to keep everything; download your entire site to store on your computer; or move everything over to another hosting provider.

Using Reclaim Hosting

Emerson.build is hosted through Reclaim Hosting. Through our partnership with them, you’re eligible to have your domain and content automatically migrated to a full hosting account at a 20% discount. Follow the instructions below, and Reclaim Hosting will complete your migration for you. You won’t have to provide any login information since they control the servers on both sides.

To sign up for your own Reclaim Hosting domain:

1. Log-in to Emerson.build.

2. Hover your mouse over Manage Your Account in the top navigation menu, and click on Migration Information in the dropdown menu.

Find the Migration Information button under Manage Your Account at the top dashboard of the cPanel.

3. Click on Get Started in the Migration Offer box.

Clicking "Migration Information" takes you to a Migration Offer from Reclaim Hosting, where you can click "Get Started."

4. You will be given the option to 1) register a new domain, 2) transfer your domain from another registrar, or 3) use your existing domain and update your nameservers.

Reclaim Hosting's options for migrating from Emerson.build.

If your site’s URL ends in Emerson.build, and you have never used a different URL or purchased hosting from somewhere else, the Register a new domain option allows you to get your own personal domain with Reclaim Hosting (outside of Emerson.build). Your site will no longer be located at “yoursite.emerson.build,” and you’ll be able to purchase a new URL.

If you have purchased (or intend to purchase) a URL from a different hosting company, but still want your site to be hosted with Reclaim Hosting, select the I will use my existing domain and update my nameservers option. Your site will be migrated to a personal Reclaim Hosting account, but then you will have to update the information that tells the other hosting company (that you got your URL from) where your site is located. It’s possible to get your hosting and URL from two separate companies, but it’s often easier and cheaper to get them together.

If you already have a site that’s hosted somewhere else, and want to transfer everything to a personal Reclaim Hosting account, select Transfer your domain from another registrar.

Other Hosting Providers

If you don’t want to continue with Reclaim and would rather use a different hosting company, you can download all your site files independently, purchase a URL, and upload the files to your new domain through FTP.

Static and Dynamic Websites

Static Websites

In the early days of the Web, almost all Web sites were what is known as 'static sites.' Content (text, images, video, audio, etc), was placed or embedded in a file in which HTML tags were used to format it.

The content and the tags lived side-by-side. To edit the page, you’d open up the file (on your own computer) in a program capable of editing HTML files and make changes to either the content or the presentation. Every page had to be edited individually, even if the edits you were making were for common elements that appeared on many pages (like menu bars).

From a technical perspective, accessing a static Web site is fairly straightforward. When your computer is connected to the Internet, you can use a Web browser to access files on a Web server (as long as you know the address). The Web server delivers the contents of those files to your browser, and your browser displays them.

Dynamic Websites

Over time, as the Web became more sophisticated, new systems emerged for creating and managing Web sites. These moved beyond the model of having content and HTML tags live in a simple HTML page which your browser accessed and displayed. Instead, these systems were Web applications – software that literally runs on the Web server and makes it possible to manage a Web site, often with very sophisticated features. One feature of these applications is that they separate content and presentation by storing most content (your text, images, etc) and data about the site (the title, options, etc). in a database.

On the Web server, the Web application installs files that are written in some kind of programming language. The server reads this code and obeys any requests in it to access data in the database (which lives on a separate server) and displays it according to the instructions in the code.

Essentially, the data for the site (living in a series of tables in a database on the database server) is entirely separate from the actual presentation of the site (living in the code of the programmed files on the Web server). Special software on both the Web server and the Database server enable the two to speak to each other and work together.

One of the benefits of using a Web application is that you usually don’t need to touch (or even look at!) the code in order to make changes to your content. In addition, editing the site usually involves accessing some kind of control panel through your Web browser and filling out a form, instead of having to download and access files in software on your own computer.

Dynamic vs Static Content

Sometimes when we talk about the difference between dynamic and static content we get bogged down in the idea of whether or not the content is “fresh” (dynamic, regularly updated) or “old” (static, never updated). How frequently you update your content has nothing to do with what kind of system you are using to manage your site. You can manage a static Web site (as described above) and update the content every day. You can also have a dynamic Web site (running something like WordPress) and never change the content after you create it.

Generally speaking, it IS easier to regularly update content on a dynamic Web site because the Web application just makes it easier. Sometimes, even when you just want a very basic page or placeholder, it’s easier to install a Web application (and only put up a single page) then to manually create an HTML page and upload it.

A Side Note about Separating Content from Presentation: Style Sheets

Another aspect of separating content from presentation involves the use of 'Cascading Style Sheets' (CSS). These are special files that live on your Web server and are linked to your Web pages. They contain information (written in a special markup language) about how to make elements on your site look. They allow you, for example, to define in a single location what all Level 1 Headings look like on your site. They are an important aspect of understanding how to separate content from presentation, but they’re not really an aspect of the difference between static and dynamic sites. Both static and dynamic sites can use style sheets.

Creating an Email Address

Creating an email address in the control panel creates a mailbox on the server for mail to be delivered to. In some cases this might be desired if you want to maintain full control of the email you receive, however in many cases users may wish to simply create an Email Forwarder that sets up a custom email address and sends all mail sent to it on to the address of your choice. This article will show you how to setup both methods.

  • On the homepage of the control panel you will see a section titled Email that contains several tools for setting up email addresses. To get started, go to the Email Accounts page.

Create an email address in cPanel.

This screen will allow us to setup an email address that uses a mailbox stored on the server. You will be able to access mail sent to this email address either through a webmail client or a desktop/mobile client directly. Enter the desired email address as well as a password to associate with that email address. You can choose to set a quota for how large of a mailbox you need, or set this to unlimited (keep in mind your quota will still be dictated by the limits of the hosting account). Once you’re done click Create Account.

Your email address is created and it’s ready to be used. Scroll down the page to see your newly created account listed under Email Accounts.  You have the choice of accessing your new email address via the webmail options built into your control panel, or setting up a mail client directly from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. These options appear as links under Actions to the right of where your email address is listed. The More button allows you to suspend your address, access webmail, configure calendars and contacts, and manage disk usage.

You can work with your new email address by using the links next to it under "Email Accounts."

If you already have an email address you want to use, such as a Gmail or Hotmail account, you may wish to create an Email Forwarder instead of a mailbox. Setting up a forwarder is very simple. Start by clicking on Forwarders from the Mail section of your control panel homepage.

The Forwarders page in cPanel.

The first screen will show you any existing forwarders that you have created. To setup a new forwarding account, click Add Forwarder.

Add a New Forwarder page in cPanel.

To create a new forwarding account, simply type in the desired email address as well as the email address you’d like all mail to be forwarded to. When you are done click Add Forwarder.

You have now successfully created an Email Forwarder and all email sent to your custom email address will be forwarded on to the address you entered.

What Exactly is a Web Application?

In the most general terms, a Web application is a piece of software that runs on a Web server. A Web server is a just a specialized computer designed to host Web pages.

Most Web applications are comprised of two components: files and a database. When you install a Web application, you will need to make sure all of the files are copied over into the appropriate location AND that a database (and database user) has been set up to connect to those files. Often, you will have to do some configuration to make sure the application knows how to access the database.

The system we use for Emerson.build uses a special script installer called Installatron (in cPanel) that allows you to automatically install dozens of open source applications. When you use Installatron, you don’t need to worry about moving files, creating databases, or doing the initial configuration. It’s all taken care of for you. You can find out more about Installatron here.

In order to run on the Emerson.build server, Web applications must be able to run on a LAMP server, which is the particular kind of Web server that we use. Occasionally, a Web application may require additional components or modules that need to be installed on the server.

File Structures and the File Manager

Web hosting is, at its core, files and folders on a computer that is connected to the internet and setup to distribute them. How that computer (typically a server) is setup to do that is covered more in LAMP Environments but this article will explain the idea of the file structure and how it relates to what you view on your domain.

When you signed up for your domain a web hosting account was created. Although you typically will interact mostly with the web interface to create subdomains, install applications, and other common tasks, you might occasionally also need to work directly with the files in your account. The File Manager in your cPanel is one way to see these files. You can also create an FTP account in cPanel and use an FTP program to interact with these files (FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it’s a way of using a desktop client to transfer files to and from your Web server space).

Let’s take a look at the File Manager built into your cPanel to get a better understanding of the file structure that makes up your website(s).

  • Login to cPanel with your Emerson username and password.

Emerson.build cPanel log-in screen.

  • On the homepage of your control panel you’ll have all the various tools listed. You can easily find the File Manager by using the search tool in the upper righthand corner and typing File Manager. You can also find its icon under Files.

Searching for the File Manager in cPanel.

  • You are now sent to the File Manager and can navigate the folder structure there.

You’ll notice when the File Manager opens up that this looks very much like a folder on your computer. There are a few folders in it as well as files, and you can navigate down into those folders and see what’s inside of them. At the top level of the File Manager you also have the option of interacting with files and folders you select by moving them around or removing them. There is a larger article all about how to use the file manager at Accessing Your Files through the File Manager so we won’t talk much about how the interface works, rather we’ll cover what those folders and files actually mean and how they relate to what someone sees when they visit your website.

By default you have a variety of folders at the root of your web space (the first screen you see when you open up the file manager). Some of them are created automatically to store information about the panel and setup of certain sites. These folders are things like access-logs, etc, ssl, and tmp. You can safely ignore most of those folders because they don’t correspond to actual websites. Let’s look at which folders do and how it all works.

Your main domain, mydomain.com, corresponds with a folder called “public_html.” Whatever files and folders are inside of this folder are available at that domain. If you installed WordPress here you’ll likely see a lot of WordPress-related files within it (which were probably helpfully put there by the automated installer). Let’s say we uploaded an image called mypicture.jpg into the public_html folder. That image would now be available at mydomain.com/mypicture.jpg. The slash after your domain implies “this file is inside this folder”. But what if we had a folder inside the public_html folder? How does that appear? This is typically called a subfolder so let’s put a folder in public_html called “images” and put our image, mypicture.jpg, inside of that folder. What would you type in a browser to get to that file now? The location would be mydomain.com/images/mypicture.jpg. So subfolders are also indicated by a forward slash after a domain.

What about subdomains? You can have completely separate sites called subdomains that appear as nameofsubdomain.mydomain.com. But where are they in the file structure? When you created your subdomain the control panel asked you to give the folder a name. If I had a subdomain called photos.mydomain.com for example, I might want to name the folder “photos” (by default your control panel will call the folder by the name of the subdomain). Folders for subdomains are located inside the public_html folder. So when you go to the File Manager and navigate to public_html you’ll see folders listed for all of your subdomains and once you navigate inside one of those folders you’ll see files and folders specifically for that subdomain that appear on the web at that subdomain’s address.

The File Manager in your control panel is great to view these files and folders, but it can be limiting if you want to upload an entire folder of information to your website. If you find yourself wanting to do more with the files and folders on your web space, you can download a free FTP program like Filezilla for PC or Cyberduck for Mac and connect to your website using the FTP credentials provided in the welcome email you receive when you first register your domain. Keep this welcome email in a safe place! An FTP program will allow you to upload and download an unlimited number of files and folders quickly.

What Can You Do with Your Emerson.build Account?

Your ability to do things on Emerson.build is dictated to a large degree only by the limits of your imagination. That said, there are some technical requirements and limitations that you should be aware of and might want to review.

To spark your imagination, here are some ideas that might help you get started:

Install a Web Application in Your Space

Emerson.build makes it very simple to install certain Web applications in your Web space. Web applications are just special software that run on a Web server. Usually they allow you to build and manage a website. The kind of site you can build depends upon the type of application you install. Here are some examples of applications that you can easily install within the Emerson.build web hosting interface:

""

WordPress: WordPress is a blogging application. While it allows you to quickly and easily set up a blog, it also comes with a set of features that really make it possible to set up any kind of basic Web site without much difficulty. We have resources available that are focused on installing and using WordPress.

 

""

Omeka: Omeka is an open-source web application that can be used to create and display online digital collections. We have information available to help you install and use Omeka.

 

These are just a FEW of the open-source applications that are available to you in your Emerson.build web space; you can find a list of all of the applications you can install automatically here.

Organize Your Site with Subdomains and Folders

Through this project, you’ve received a domain name that you can actually subdivide and organize any way you like. There are two main approaches to organizing your domain space and the applications you install: creating subdomains or creating subdirectories (which can also be called simply folders). Each approach allows you to point viewers to the pages and applications you’ve set up, but the links your viewers will access look different depending on which approach you’re using.

Here’s an example of one way you might choose to organize your site (using the subdomain vs. the subdirectory approach):

 To Install… Subdomain Approach Subdirectory Approach
… WordPress as your “main site” yourdomain.com (“root”) yourdomain.com (“root”)
… a second WordPress instance for a course you’re taking course1.yourdomain.com yourdomain.com/course1
… Koken for a public photo gallery of your photos photos.yourdomain.com yourdomain.com/photos
… MediaWiki for a club you belong to that wants to collaboratively edit its bylaws docs.yourdomain.com yourdomain.com/docs
… OwnCloud so you can access your files on your laptop and at work files.yourdomain.com yourdomain.com/files

This is just one way to organize your site and then use different sections to do different things. There is no “one size fits all” solution to this challenge, and what you do should be driven by what makes sense to you. To start, you may just want to install one thing at the “root” of your domain, and then let the rest evolve as you get to know more about what’s possible.

To learn more about subdomains, subdirectories, and organizing your site, please visit the “What is a Subdomain?” section of this documentation.

Map Your Domain (or a Subdomain)

If you already have a digital presence that you’d like to pull into your emerson.build space, domain mapping is an option you may wish to explore. This allows you to assign your domain (or a subdomain) to another service. Some services that work with domain mapping are:

When you map a domain, users who visit your URL will automatically see your space on one of these services. It’s a great way to incorporate your activity elsewhere into your domain, and it might be a good first-step if you’ve already established a presence somewhere else and just want to point your new domain to that space.

Accessing Your Files through the File Manager

Your Emerson.build cPanel includes a File Manager that allows you to interact directly with the files stored in your webhosting account. This can be useful if you want to upload software that cannot be automatically installed via the Web Applications section of your cPanel, if you need to change the name or permissions of a file or group or files, or if you want to edit a plain text file. To access your files via the File Manager, use these steps:

Login to Emerson.build with your Emerson username and password.

Emerson.build cPanel log-in screen.

Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your control panel. The easiest way to navigate the panel is using the search feature in the top right panel. Click the Search box and type “File Manager” (without the quotes). When you press enter, you will be automatically redirected to the File Manager.  You can also find its icon under Files.

Searching for the File Manager in cPanel.

On the left side of the “File Manager” window, you’ll see a navigation menu containing the file structure of your webhosting account. More information about the contents of these files and folders can be found in the “File Structures and the File Manager” documentation in this knowledge base.

In the navigation menu, choose the public_html option. This will take you directly into the folder that contains the files associated with your website(s). You’ll notice your current location (the public_html folder) is bolded and highlighted in this menu. Click the [+] (expand) icon next to a folder to see what subfolders it contains, or click on the name of the folder to view all of its contents in the file browser on the right side of the page. You can also navigate through the folders in your account by double-clicking on them in the file browser on the right side of the “File Manager” page.

File Manager with the public_html folder open.

To select an item, click once on its icon in the file browser. You can also use the “Select All” button above the file browser, or your computer’s keyboard shortcuts (Shift, Command, Control, etc), to select multiple items from this list.

Files selected in File Manager.

Depending on what you have selected, different options will be available to you in the action menu across the top of the “File Manager” page. If you have selected a folder, for example, you can “Rename” it or “Change Permissions” on it, but cannot edit it using the Code Editor or HTML Editor.

If you know exactly what location you want to skip to within your webhosting account, you can type it into the box directly above the navigation menu and click Go.

Internal searching in File Manager.

Alternatively, if you know the exact name of the file or folder you are looking for, but not its location, you can use the Search box to find it.

Search for an exact file name in File Manager.