Knowledge Base Basics
GCom Internet's online knowledge base is a custom application which produces static and dynamic HTML files meeting the following development criteria...
- Simple navigation
- Structured article hierarchy
- Consistent article formatting
- Independence of article content from site format
- Independence of article URI from display hierarchy
- Linking of related articles at multiple levels
- Printer friendly formatting by way of CSS tags
Hierarchy and Icons
The knowledge base hierarchy is represented by folders, each of which can in turn contain further sub-level folders and/or articles. Within this hierarchy, two basic icons are used to represent the elements of the knowledge base...
- A knowledge base folder
- A knowledge base article
Folders and articles are opened by clicking on the descriptive link associated with each element of the knowledge base. If a folder link is clicked, that folder will open and sub-level folders and article titles will be displayed. If an article link is clicked, that article will be opened and displayed.
At all times, a breadcrumb trail of clickable links is displayed at the top and bottom of the page. This allows users to backtrack to the folder view of the current or previous levels of the knowledge base.
Each article can contain standard hyperlinks to other related articles and pages from within the knowledge base itself, and also to related resources from the wider Internet.
One of the primary design requirements of the knowledge base is independence of article URI's (Uniform Resource Identifier) from the hierarchy of folders displayed to users.
This feature ensures that articles can be safely bookmarked and referenced by URI without the risk of dead links if the hierarchy is later modified or expanded. Users can create bookmarks of articles via their browser menus or buttons, or can copy and paste from the address bar of their browser to the target document.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) elements have been used in the knowledge base to enable easy printing of articles in a printer friendly format.
When a page is printed, CSS formatting strips screen related items from the article prior to passing the data to the printer. Users can manage printing by way of the standard menus or buttons of their browsers.