If we are talking about a set of _curated_ community plugins, Github (or any
of umpteen git platforms) would be fine. A Springshare person and/or
designated community persons could control the repos, approving pull
requests and managing releases and all that. A new release would be sent to
an approval process that would check for bugs, performance problems,
security, etc., and this part would have to be done by a Springshare person
most likely. If it is approved, regular LG users could enable the plugin by
checking a box on an admin page that lists all the approved plugins. Regular
non-techy users (who you indicated are the vast majority of LG sites) would
never have to touch git or even know repos exist.

As far as communication platforms, the only thing that might be helpful is
an IRC channel. Otherwise, Github bug trackers, SS lounge (maybe with a new
developers group), and listservs like this one would be sufficient.

These social issues are one thing. The more difficult part IMO is
determining how the plugin system would work. Wordpress and Drupal offer a
good model with their systems of hooks. For instance, there could be an
on_page_load hook. A plugin could register with that hook, which would tell
LG under-the-hood to run the plugin whenever the page loads. The hook would
pass an object into some kind of init function, where it could be
manipulated in PHP and then returned. We could come up with a small handful
of these hooks that would handle just about any use case the community might
have. (Off the top of my head: on page load, at a scheduled interval, on
loading the "add box" menu, on loading the "add box content" menu, on
loading the admin guide index page.)

Here's a trivial example of sorting all the boxes on a page by title:

Josh Welker

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Cindi Blyberg
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2014 8:16 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 7:29 AM, Alex Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> @Cindi: In my defense, I was being rhetorical as to why there's no
> plugin system. I wasn't trying to second-guess how you develop your
> products.
> Though I'm glad you're considering allowing more sophisticated
> customization for LibGuides. Navigation in particular is a thorny issue.

No worries! I hope my response didn't come off as reactionary. We are happy
to answer questions, even rhetorical ones. ;)  (I hear you, but we were
like, yeah, why *doesn't* that exist? Let's *do* it!)

As for Gist/Git, there are repos out there, 20-some of them.  We would very
much like to replace the Lounge with something else in the future, and while
I think GitHub is too high a bar for most of our users, it could play a role
in us sharing with you and vice-versa.

> There's some simple stuff thatare worth documenting. For example, Josh
> mentioned that:
> "The admin controls in LGseem to all be loaded dynamically via
> javascript, which makes them both very hard to customize and very easy
> to break. I have also noticed that changingthe ID of certain HTML
> elements in your template can have the unintended(and undocumented)
> effect of erasing particular admin features from your template."
> I've listed these IDs here:
> 9f083aa03c287931d9f0#file-required-for-admin-html

We actually had this on our list of things to add to the LibGuides
documentation. So, thanks for that, Alex! :)  I'll see that it gets
added--you're not the first one to alert us to this issue (nor was

> Any ideas on where/how we can share things like this? I tried tweeting
> it to my 6 followers. To my surprise, it was not widely reported on :p

We are happy to RT - just tag us @springshare. We also have a blog
<>, and a web newsletter that goes out to every
person with an account. I realize that this is us sharing rather than you
sharing--if something else works, go for it, and if we can help, just ask.
Keep being awesome, and know that we welcome your feedback. :)

 -Cindi :)

On 2014-09-25 23:48, Cindi Blyberg wrote:

> OK, one more tidbit on this.  I was chatting with Slaven, our CEO, and
> told him of the chatter on the list and the idea of a
> community-developed, curated set of plug-ins, along with templates,
> themes, etc., and he's totally excited about this idea.  He (and I!)
> would love it if you all would chime in on this and other ideas on the
> Lounge so that we can figure out how to make them happen.  We're going
> to set up a group on the Lounge for techie admins, but our Lounge
> admin is in the midst of moving so it might take a day or two.
> Thanks for all this great feedback, everyone!  We are listening, and
> want to make these things happen.
> -cb
> On Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 3:22 PM, Cindi Blyberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>  Hi Alex,
>> That's a great question! I would surmise that a plug-in system and
>> other advanced tech features don't exist yet for a couple of reasons.
>> First, we're a small company.  We have eight products and a small
>> development team; right now the priority is getting out v2 apps.
>> Second, we have more than 4500 LibGuides customers, and some have
>> more than one site.  The vast, vast majority of those folks use
>> LibGuides out of the box, with a few color customizations that they
>> accomplish with the UI (or a lot, as you've seen...).  Some folks are
>> advanced enough to figure out and alter the default CSS and put their
>> customizations in the Custom JS/CSS field.  Then there is this group.
>> :)  There are a few LibGuides admins who do customization at this
>> group's level who aren't on this list (or are you?
>> :)
>> ).
>> I'd also second the Lounge ( as a good group.
>> There's an academic libraries group there, which is quite active.
>> Cheers.
>> On Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM, Alex Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>  The web content workflow and governance issues that were brought up
>> are
>>> really important. I would love to discuss them at excruciating length.
>>> But
>>> content ownership conundrums and the frustrations of WYSIWYG editors
>>> are broader issues that can be usefully taken up in other threads.
>>> I de-lurked here because I saw an opening to discuss LibGuides with
>>> other people who have a stake in it, especially as a lightweight
>>> CMS. I think Josh's description of its limitations was very good.
>>> His feature propositions, including that of a curated plugin system,
>>> were even better.
>>> I have a question though: Why doesn't it exist already?
>>> LibGuides is limited, though the v2 API looks promising for
>>> client-side stuff. We should be talking with Springshare about
>>> improving workflows for admins -- such as (an example I came across
>>> today) being able to upload more than one image at a time. And, in
>>> the meantime, there's other stuff we can do now: community docs,
>>> templates, themes, best practices, etc. I've been surprised by the
>>> lack of this material, considering how widely LibGuides is
>>> implemented.
>>> Does anyone else find this stuff interesting?
>>> Alex
>>> On 09/25/2014 05:48 PM, Cindi Blyberg wrote:
>>>  One more great guide to share - a literary journal from a k12 in
>>>> Australia:
>>>> For you LG admins out there - it's a series of RT content types
>>>> that's governed by an external stylesheet.  They have LibGuides
>>>> CMS, and this private guide is in its own group.
>>>> *back to lurking*
>>>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM, Cindi Blyberg <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>   Jesse reminds me that I meant to point out that there is a "Paste
>>>> from
>>>>> Word" button in the RTE that will strip out all that microsoft
>>>>> nonsense.
>>>>> Not quite what you were asking for (suppressing tags from the
>>>>> RTE--I passed that suggestion on to the devs) but it's what we
>>>>> refer people to who break their formatting accidentally with a
>>>>> massive paste.  There's also a "Paste as Plain Text" button that
>>>>> has a similar effect.
>>>>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM, Jesse Martinez
>>>>> <[log in to unmask]
>>>>> >
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>   I can commiserate!
>>>>>> The tactic we've used at our university was to use the data
>>>>>> migration from
>>>>>> LGv1 to LGv2 as a means to convene guide authors and rethink
>>>>>> * the future overall layout of our guides (new side menu has been
>>>>>> our design choice but complicates preexisting three- and
>>>>>> four-column layouts);
>>>>>> * their intended use (pastiche of related but independent boxes
>>>>>> on the guide or something with a simple flow/concise content --
>>>>>> it's a philosophical discussion, for sure);
>>>>>> * breakdown of content (when it is appropriate to have long
>>>>>> detailed pages or break down into sub-pages, which have their own
>>>>>> issues...);
>>>>>> *  the strict use of accessibility policies (must set up strict
>>>>>> policies about funky colors & fonts, minimize use HTML tables,
>>>>>> content column layout w.r.t. responsive design, etc.).
>>>>>> I feel our internal conversations and meetings about rethinking
>>>>>> LibGuides
>>>>>> v2 with our staff have gone over well, and reiterating
>>>>>> appropriate "best practices" or suggestions whenever I field a
>>>>>> LibGuides question have birthed some improvements in guide
>>>>>> construction. It's an ongoing battle, of course!
>>>>>> There are some heavy-handed tactics in place here too. For
>>>>>> instance we've hidden the Fonts button in the guide editor using
>>>>>> CSS.
>>>>>> span#cke_12 {display:none;}
>>>>>> This doesn't stop custom html or copy/pasting Word content (ugh)
>>>>>> from getting through, but it does allows us to say, "nope, we're
>>>>>> not supporting Comic Sans!"
>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>   I lol'ed several times reading your message. I feel the pain.
>>>>>> Well, it is
>>>>>>  nice to know I am not alone. You are right that this in
>>>>>> particular is
>>>>>>> an
>>>>>>> organizational problem and not a LibGuides problem. But
>>>>>>> unfortunately it has been an organizational problem at both of
>>>>>>> the universities where
>>>>>>>  I've
>>>>>>  worked that use LibGuides, and it sounds like it is a problem at
>>>>>> many
>>>>>>> other libraries. I'm not sure what it is about LibGuides that
>>>>>>> brings out the most territorial and user-marginalizing aspects
>>>>>>> of the librarian psyche.
>>>>>>> Does anyone have any positive experience in dealing with this? I
>>>>>>> am on
>>>>>>>  the
>>>>>>  verge of just manually enforcing good standards even though it
>>>>>> will
>>>>>>>  create
>>>>>>  a lot of enmity. LibGuides CMS has a publishing workflow feature
>>>>>> that
>>>>>>> would force all guide edits to be approved by me so that I could
>>>>>>> stamp this stuff out each time it happens.
>>>>>>> To enforce, or not to enforce, that is the question-- Whether
>>>>>>> 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of
>>>>>>> outrageously poor usability, Or to take arms against a sea of
>>>>>>> ugly guides, And by forcing compliance with standards and best
>>>>>>> practices, end them?
>>>>>>> Josh Welker
>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>>>>>>> Behalf Of Will Martin
>>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:34 AM
>>>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>>>>>>   4. Admin controls are not very granular. With most aspects of
>>>>>>> editing
>>>>>>>> a guide, you either have the option of locking down styles and
>>>>>>>> templates completely (and oh your colleagues will howl) or
>>>>>>>> allowing everything (and oh your eyeballs will scream). Some of
>>>>>>>> these things could very well be improved in the future, and
>>>>>>>> some probably will not.
>>>>>>>>  This!  My librarians have successfully resisted every attempt
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>> impose
>>>>>>> any kind of standardization.  Visual guidelines?  Nope.  Content
>>>>>>> guidelines?  Nope.  Standard system settings?  Nope.  Anything
>>>>>>> less than 100% free reign appears to be anathema to them.
>>>>>>> The result, predictably, is chaos.  Our guides run the gamut.
>>>>>>> We have
>>>>>>> everything:
>>>>>>> - Giant walls of text that no one ever reads.
>>>>>>> - Lovingly crafted lists of obscure library sources that rarely
>>>>>>> (if
>>>>>>> ever) bear any relation to what the patron is actually trying to do.
>>>>>>> - A thriving ecosystem of competing labels.  Is it "Article
>>>>>>> Indexes", "Article Databases", just plain "Databases", or
>>>>>>> something more exotic?
>>>>>>> Depends which apex predator rules this particular neck of the
>>>>>>> jungle.
>>>>>>> - Green text on pink backgrounds with maroon borders.  Other
>>>>>>> pages in
>>>>>>>  the
>>>>>>  same guide might go with different, equally eye-twisting color
>>>>>>> schemes.
>>>>>>> I'm not even sure how he's doing that without access to the
>>>>>>> style sheet, but he's probably taught himself just enough HTML
>>>>>>> to mangle things in an effort to use "friendly" colors.
>>>>>>> - Some guides have three or even FOUR rows of tabs.  With
>>>>>>> drop-down submenus on most of them, naturally.
>>>>>>> - A few are nicely curated and easy to use, but they're in a
>>>>>>> distinct minority.
>>>>>>> I've tried.  I've pushed peer-reviewed usability studies at them.
>>>>>>> I've
>>>>>>> reported on conference sessions explaining exactly why all these
>>>>>>> things are bad.  I've brought them studies of our own analytics.
>>>>>>> I've had students sit down and get confused in front of them.
>>>>>>> Nothing has gotten through, and being the only web type at the
>>>>>>> library, I'm outnumbered.
>>>>>>> Just the thought of it makes me supremely tired.
>>>>>>> I'm sorry if this has digressed.  LibGuides is not at fault, really.
>>>>>>> It's an organizational problem.  LibGuides just seems to be the
>>>>>>> flash point for it.
>>>>>>> Will
>>>>>>>  --
>>>>>> Jesse Martinez
>>>>>> Web Services Librarian
>>>>>> O'Neill Library, Boston College
>>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>>> 617-552-2509