casey.eubank

Desperate Need of Branding Help!

Discussion created by casey.eubank on Feb 26, 2018
Latest reply on May 25, 2018 by bo0046727

Thank you in advance for anyone who might be able to help me with this issue.

 

Here is my issue/question, in five parts:

 

1. Right after our last upgrade on production, I originally exported a copy of our branding on our test server and imported it in to our production server.  However, we are changing the name of our institution and I wanted to do some re-branding work on the test server but I noticed that the several of the images in the branding on production were pointing to the test server.  So I wanted to change the branding.css file on production so it is pointing to the files on production that way I would be free to make changes on test without affecting production.  However, when I changed the css and even did a restart of services on production, the image files were still pointing to test.

 

2. This prompted me to submit a ticket to Bb Support which is below:

 

Please see my Jing video for more info: https://www.screencast.com/t/2FQu3MqD

As I stated in my video I thought maybe server caching was causing this to happen but when we restarted services, this did not fix it. My next thought is do we need to run a pushconfig or maybe there is something else you would suggest?

 

3. I then called them and they said they did not think I would need to do a pushconfig or restart of services and that I just needed to do the following (which they put in as a response to my ticket):

 

Hi Casey,

During our call, I explained that you will need to:

copy <shared_content>/vi/BBLEARN/branding/themes/* to blackboard/webapps/content/branding/themes/
copy <shared_content>/vi/BBLEARN/branding/colorpalettes/* to blackboard/webapps/content/branding/colorpalettes/

article 000047372 outlines this issue.

We also recommend you consider using the approach from article 000023941.

4. So I pulled up the article they referred to and it said this:

 

How to Customize a Login Page with Images and Icons from Within the Application

Date Published: Apr 18,2017

Category: Product:Authentication & Security,Installs & Configurations,Troubleshooting Guides; Version:9.1
Article No.: 000023941

Product: Blackboard Learn

Issue Description: How to store and use custom images to be used on a custom 'Gateway' login page.



Resolution/Workaround: Where to store the image files:

Best: On an external web server on the school's network which web server is accessible by the Blackboard system via HTTPS.
Next best: The process in this article - contained within a custom Theme package uploaded to Blackboard Learn.
Unsupported: Placing image files in various directories created by the Blackboard Learn application itself.
Content Management or Xythos system: Do not host images here this will cause undue load on the system and can even crash your system.


The first option can be difficult as the web server may be managed by other persons, or impossible if there is no other web server.
The second option, using a custom theme package, works well as the custom theme is not part of the application, handling is consistent across versions, and it is ignored by upgrades.
The third option breaks due to changes in the way the application handles locating files over various versions.  Also, upgrades remove non-Blackboard files from the application directories.
The fourth options requires a lot of overhead form the database and to be logged in etc and has caused system to crash for clients who have done this on their login page which serves hundreds and thousands of views an hour.

Example using the Custom Theme option:

The custom image files are stored in the theme package/core/images directory.
If you have a custom theme already - use it.
If not, download a standard system-provided theme package and use it.
On systems prior to the 2016 versions this will probably be Bb Learn 2012, which downloads as as_2012.zip.
On 2016 versions and higher you may want to use Bb Learn 2016, which downloads as as_2015.zip.

1. Download the theme package: Admin Tab > Communities module > Brands & Themes > Theme & Palette Catalog
2. Unzip it.
3. Place your image file (example: my_image.jpg) into directory theme_package/core/images.
4. Enter the package folder and select the contents (/plugins and /core) then zip that up as a new name.
(you cannot zip up the containing folder as this would be a non-valid package, containing a nested folder layer)
5. Upload the the package: Admin Tab > Communities module > Brands & Themes > Theme & Palette Catalog > Create Theme.
Theme Name: can use any characters.   Reference Name: will be used to create a directory, so avoid spaces, special characters, and hyphens.
Example: Theme name and Reference Name the same: ThemePackage_Custom_Images


Test your image file:

Open another browser tab and try the URL that should find your image:
https://myschool.edu/branding/themes/ThemePackage_Custom_Images/images/my_image.jpg


Customizing the login page:

1. Download the 'Default Login Page' at: Admin Tab > Communities module > Brands & Themes > Customize Login Page.

2. Edit the downloaded login.jsp file with a plain text editor or perhaps Notepad++ (never use a formatting editor like Microsoft Word).
Example: to have the image display below the default login box, but above the System Announcements box:
<loginUI:welcomeArea />
</div>
</div>
<! 2017.04.15 always comment your changes -->
<center> <img src="https://myschool.edu/branding/themes/ThemePackage_Custom_Images/images/my_image.jpg" alt="alt text for my_image.jpg" /> </center>
<loginUI:systemAnnouncements maxItems="5" />

3. Save it as a new name.

4. Upload it to the system: Admin Tab > Communities module > Brands & Themes > Customize Login Page
Click: Use Custom Page
Browse to upload
Submit

3. Test it by accessing the system in a different web browser - do not log off the current browser as you may need it to reset the login page.
(In a worst case, one can use the system default login page via URL: https://myschool.edu/webapps/login/?action=default_login.
Or, on a Self-Hosted system, bypass the login page using the back end tool blackboard/tools/admin/AuthenticationOneTimeLogin.sh/bat)
Best Practice Info: Best: On an external web server on the school's network which web server is accessible by the Blackboard system via HTTPS.
Unsupported: Placing image files in various directories created by the Blackboard Learn application itself.

 

5. So now looking at this article, I am just wondering if I should try to redo everything from the beginning?  I am just really nervous doing any changes like this as it is on production!!!!!!

Outcomes