Once your site is upgraded, the new 1.5 BLOX templates will provide you with several new design options. This article attempts to walk through the major ones.

If you’re interested in adding any of these items to your site after it is upgraded, please contact our customer service department by calling 800-293-9576 or submitting a ticket at support.townnews.com.

Social Sharing

New social widgets, such as Facebook’s recommend button, can be added to full story pages. This gives users the opportunity to comment on their recommendation, as well as add their own comments to what others have recommended. In order for this to work properly you will need to obtain an APP ID from Facebook. Recommended articles and comments will also appear on the user’s Facebook profile.

Similarly, a Twitter retweet button has been integrated.

Facebook Integration

Once your Facebook APP ID has been created and entered into your site’s custom properties, several Social Plugin blocks are available to showcase your Facebook content and promote your profile. These blocks can be placed anywhere on your site. Plugins include:

  • Like Box: Displays thumbnails of current fans and a like button that enables users to become fans of your paper’s Facebook business page. It can be configured to display a news feed from Facebook, too.
  • Event Stream: Displays streaming comments from users regarding a specific event. Activity Stream - Based on the recommend button, displays what friends are doing.
  • Recommendations: Displays suggestions for pages on your site a user might like based on what their friends like.

For more information on social widgets, visit developers.facebook.com/plugins.

As part of the 1.5 templates, the default Most Popular/Commented block has the ability to show a Facebook Activity Stream. It appears as a third tab on the existing block, so it won’t take up additional real estate on your site. The presentation varies slightly depending on if the user is currently logged into Facebook.

Related Content

Sub-content elements called Related Content can be displayed at various points around your story page, depending on the type of sub-content desired. Related content inlcudes:

  • Top of the Page: “Story Highlights” and “Editor’s Note” appear at the top of the story page, just below the story tools.
  • In-set Into Story: “More Coverage” content appears in-set into the story, on the right.
  • Beneath In-Set Photo Box: All other related content types appear in the media box to the left of the story. This box also shows related items, such as photos and other child assets. You can reorder multiple content items by dragging and dropping them in the BLOX admin asset panel for that particular story.

Pull quotes can also be used. To obtain this nice style, all you need to do is create a pull quote content type, and add the name in the title field so it shows up with special styling at the top of the quote.

BLOX Commenting Upgrades

With the 1.5 templates, the BLOX commenting system supports inline graphical emoticons. Each user, when logged in, will be presented with an emoticon control panel. They simply need to click on a graphical emoticon and the code will be inserted inline with their comment.

After the user posts their comment, the emoticons will display in their message preview, and also when their message is published.

We now have a built-in Rules of Conduct panel which can be turned on for your site. A set of default rules can be used, or you may enter your own.

Block Upgrades & Additions

In order to promote popular content on the site, we’ve added a new “popular index” block which specializes in showcasing popular content. We recommend creating a new section in your “site” area which will display this new block, and then linking to it from your front-page Most Popular/Commented block.

A Twitter Block has been added to the block library, which is based entirely on the default JavaScript widget provided by Twitter. With this new block, you can display a hashtag search or a specific user’s tweets, but you can also display a Twitter list (a group of Twitter users) and a user’s favorit tweets.

If you have our marketplace product, your marketplace widget now has the ability to offer a search from within the widget, as well as a default listing of popular searches. These popular searches exist within the markup on the page, and therefore get spidered by search engines, thus helping with search engine optimization to these search pages. You can also enter an optional area description in order to add more meta data to these category links. For example, you could set your area description to “Quad Cities” and the most popular seaches would then show:

Quad Cities Dentists
Quad Cities Restaurants

View full documentation at docs.townnews.com/kbpublisher/BLOX-15-Template-Release-New-Features/Changes_6232.html.

(Sandi McDaniel is the director of design and implementation at TownNews.com. She may be reached at smcdaniel@townnews.com.)