CONTENT MANAGEMENT USING COBRA APPLICATIONS

Context

Since 1986 Antenna developed a wide range of on-line applications mainly aimed to enable free worldwide access to public resources and facilitate networking among NGOs and activists

History

Antenna developed many webapplications since 1993 and realised most applications were either All these webapplications - as still is the case with most website productions - were taylor made reproducing similar applications only partially based on previous routines and often with fixed links to design elements and the hosting provider. Adaptions and upgrades were tideous and hence costly tasks. What was needed was a flexible tool that creates stable, compatible and affordable applications that produces the forms and routines to store and retrieve information from a database server using a browser as interface and the Internet as communication platform. By using Open Source based languages and tools a sustainable formula for both provider, designer and user should be created.

This resulted in Cobra, our own software engine written from scratch in PHP, to produce quickly applications that easily can be upgraded, expanded, adapted and can meet the specific needs of our NGO user base. We selected a basic set of applications grouped by experience and user needs. For each application a general format of relevant fields, lables and functions was developed but with the notion that

Facilitating Platforms

The first Cobra client aimed to share knowledge between 15 local communities on environmental legislation, procedures and documentation.
Cobra was used in 2001 and 2002 to enable two national networks to share resources like weblinks, projects, publications, press releases, events and documents on-line.

What is Cobra?

Advantages

On-line authoring and validation

Publication Level and Networking

Display specifications

Multi Lingual options

Applications

A range of Cobra based applications are available. Any kind of application can be combined with another or expanded or adapted to the needs of the user. This means altering the items and form elements from textareas to checkboxes, pulldown menus, radiobuttons, input fields. Changing the size, location and fonts of each item or field separately. All applications can store attached or uploaded files and images, weblinks, e-mail addresses, predefined pulldown menus (in multiple languages), active links to other pages or detailed views, hidden items etc. etc. These applications are available:

Navigation

Communication

Homepage

Conversion of existing sites

The easiest way to convert an existing website is to extract the HTML code that produced the design and navigation and store them in the Cobra header- and footer file. After which via one or more applications the existing content is converted via normal copy and paste functions under Windows from the old webpage or authoring documents to the on-line forms of the Cobra based application.

But also existing Content Management Systems that store content dynamically in a database server can export their content in a dump format that easily can be converted into the SQL database that Cobra applications use.

Likewise Cobra applications can produce Comma Separate Values (CSV) files or SQL dumps that other Database applications or servers can accept. Cobra applications can work in principle with any ODBC linked database application or server.

Samples