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Announcements submitted by email

Submitted by shideg on Thu, 11/19/2015 - 15:53

Hello,

We are working on implementing Luminis 5.2.1 (on LifeRay 6.1.2.0 EE).

One of our former highly-paid consultants (how do I get a gig like that?) described to the higher-ups on our steering committee an out-of-the-box feature of Luminis that I have yet to locate.

He described a portlet that can instantly display announcements sent to it via email.

Right now, our institution heavily uses mailing lists (Listserv) for mass communication. The result is many users—especially students—ignore and mark a lot of that traffic as spam.

So, our powers-that-be would prefer that traffic to be routed to some announcement portlets (that can be subsequently ignored by users) as opposed to "clogging people's inboxes".

Does anybody know of such a thing, out-of-the-box or otherwise?

I suppose I could try some sort of aggregation and RSS feeds displayed by an RSS portlet, but that may not be instantaneous enough. We use Google Apps for Education, and I've read about some RSS capabilities of Google groups. Listserv itself has some RSS capabilities as part of its archive mechanism, but I'd still have to contend with latency.

Then there's the issue of attachments. We generally discourage attachments on mailing lists, but we don't enforce anything beyond a message size limit. I don't know how a portlet would deal with attachments.

I suggested to our CIO that people learn how to use a discussion forum or message boards portlet for such communications, but user entrenchment is significant. It took us forever to move people to email from paper memos.

Anyway, have any of you implemented anything like this or know of a portlet solution that can provide such functionality?

(I apologize if I posted to the wrong forum here...)

Thanks.

—Steve

Luminis Version:

~7 years ago we tackled the same thing. We drastically cut down the number of email lists, and turned to targeted announcements instead. We also moved 'news' type emails to a 'news channel' and 'event' type emails to an 'events' channel, using a calendaring system.

I haven't come across a channel you can email and have the message display in that channel, but there are targeted announcements. These can be targeted at people with certain roles, by creating a dynamic group using that role, then targeting a message to that group. 'All employees', etc..

Or, you can get a bit trickier and define membership lists using any method, then updating the dynamic group membership list yourself with a database call. See https://www.lumdev.net/node/13587

Okay, here's another way to ask this question:

Is there any way to programmatically control the contents and behavior of the Announcements and Alerts portlets from external systems?

I'm looking for a way to have an external system add entries to the announcements portlet and another system to control the alerts portlet based on external data and conditions without someone having to manually enter this data on the portal.

Thanks.

There was an api and sdk in 4 (I could send announcements with php/perl/java scripts), and I know 5 has an sdk(pdk) and liferay has an api, but I haven't dived into it yet.

The java docs are in the file Luminis_5.1.1_PDK.zip on the Ellucian software download site.

If you are going to creating an external program to enter messages into with expiration/audience selection (Banner popsels?) , I guess it wouldn't be too much more work to create a page to display the messages. In which case, just display your app inside an iFrame or TC channel in the portal.

If I were you, I might use an intermediary, like a Google Calendar, to handle some of the grunt work of expiration/times as well as giving users an interface to enter 'events', and then display an rss feed/api list of the contents in a channel. Lots of API options with Google.

I did that for a Dining services menu in our lp4 system. This file feeds it:
https://www.pcc.edu/googlecal/widget.html . Then in the portal I style it to be collapsed/look nicer.