Easy Answers: Creating a Sandbox in your Igloo
One thing that all Administrators have in common is the need to test things before making them live. New page setups, Spaces, even themes. A test space lets them make adjustments and review any changes before shifting them to the rest of the community. There are a few options for exploring separate Igloo instances, such as creating a free community from igloosoftware.com, or using the Preview community made available in your own Igloo, but it can be challenging to import the settings from your original Igloo to a new one, and Preview is refreshed prior to every release, which can result in lost work for longer term projects.
Today we'll walk through how to set up a Sandbox right inside your digital workplace.
Create a Space
Create a new Space somewhere in your community. For larger testing environments, it's also possible to use a Page with a number of Spaces nested beneath it, but most Administrators only require a single Space. The only other setup required is locking the Access. Remember to remove the Access rules at the Space level, and also to disable the inheritance if you've nested it under other objects. Ideally, only your Administrators and your specific testing or review Groups will have access to this area. Create any necessary rules to that effect.
Congratulations! Now you have a testing area that's only accessible to you and your testing crew. No changes you make here will appear in widgets or navigation anywhere else in the community. As long as no subscriptions are set up, it'll also never send anyone any notifications. It's a secret, but it has all of the theme and customizations of your digital workplace, making it a great place to experiment with new integrations or Page setups. There's a few other things you can do from here, too.
Changing the theme
Testing out a new design in your Space? No problem. Every Space has its own header, accessible from the Layout option of the Space Control Panel. You can add CSS directly in the header by prefacing it with the following tag:
This will ensure that the CSS is added in the Space, and to everywhere inside the Space, but won't affect the rest of your Igloo. The separate header limits the scope, but will let you test new colours or branding, as well as hiding or showing functions.
Pushing out changes
With any good testing environment, there needs to be a way to shift your changes to the broader Production community, and there are a few options available, depending on the type of change you're trying to implement.
- Widgets: widget configurations can't be transferred directly, but can be set up on any Page or Space.
- Channels: Channels can be moved from the testing Space to elsewhere in the community using the Site Manager.
- Articles: Posts, discussions, or events can be transferred to other channels in the community through the channel selector available in the Edit page.
- Theme changes: Theme changes will need to be copied and pasted from the Space header directly to the Appearance area of the community.
- Pages: Pages can be moved out using the Site Manager, or set up elsewhere in the community by using the Page Template option.
With this set up, you'll easily be able to test and review new features and options in your digital workplace before making them available for your members.
If you have any other questions about the Igloo platform, workflows, or best practices, you can leave a comment here, or ask a question in the Community area.