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Media Management

Mar 16 2010 06:00 PM | spacedvest in Media

The media module in the IP.Content 2.0 ACP section allows you to quickly and easily manage multimedia files you may need to use with IP.Content.  While you can certainly upload your files through FTP, or link to offsite files, you may find it easier to upload the files using the media section of the ACP, and then copy the links for use within pages, templates, and blocks.

From within the media module, you can create folders, upload files, move files and folders, rename files and folders, and delete files and folders.  Files can be listed and you can click on a file to view it (or right click on the file to copy the link).

This simple tool can be a timesaver when you simply need to upload an image quickly for use within a page template.  The media folder is defined in the media_path.php file in your forum root directory, giving you the freedom to move and organize your paths as needed.

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Template Management

Mar 15 2010 06:00 PM | spacedvest in Templates

In IP.Content 2.0, you will notice that there are 3 separate template sections of the ACP:

  • Page Templates
  • Database Templates
  • Article Templates

In IP.Content 1.x, database and page templates were combined into a single "Templates" section, which worked fine for our original intentions.  However, with the introduction of a separate Articles module, and additional template types related to the articles module, we decided to separate the templates so that each template type is displayed separately.  This should help finding and editing your templates easier in practice, as you will be able to filter the template types and work with fewer at a time.

Within each templates section, you can create containers to group your templates into logical groupings.  For instance, you may wish to create a grouping for each database you create, and then place the database templates appropriately into the container representing the database itself.  Or you may wish to create multiple front page templates, and group them all together in the article templates area.  You can use containers for whatever purposes you may have, or not at all: it's up to you!

Templates can be reordered by dragging and dropping the rows up and down, and they can be moved from one container to another via drag n drop as well.  

Certain meta data about the templates are stored when you create new database or article templates, allowing IP.Content to tailor other areas of the ACP to help you out.  For example, in IP.Content 1.x the software did not "remember" what kind of database template you were creating, so all database templates were presented in each of the dropdowns when creating or editing a database.  Beginning with IP.Content 2.x, the software stores the template type when you create a new template.  This allows us to show only "category listing" templates in the "category listing template" selection dropdowns.  Similarly, the template tag help popup can automatically know which template type you are editing without you having to specify.

Properly making use of templates can help you push out pages on your site in a uniform manner quickly and easily, and without having to "reinvent the wheel" each time a new page is ready to be published.

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Sharing links

Mar 16 2010 06:00 PM | spacedvest in Databases

IP.Board 3.1 introduces a new feature that is available for any application to make use of: sharing links.  IP.Content 2.0 makes use of this new feature in the custom databases (and articles) modules to allow you to more easily expose your content to a wider audience.

Along with supporting sharing of your content with third party services such as Facebook and Twitter, you can now also send an article via email, print the article, and download the article easily by clicking the appropriate icon under the article body.  The additional printing and downloading features allow the content to be shared, online as well as offline.

Within the articles module specifically, the article image that you upload when posting the article (optionally) will automatically be flagged for use with Facebook when someone uses Facebook to share the link.  This ensures that the correct image is the one Facebook displays to other users.  Similarly, we pull out an appropriate extract of textual content for Facebook to use as well.  If the user is logged in to Twitter or Facebook, sharing the content becomes even easier, not requiring you to even leave the site.

We hope that by providing tools to make it easier to share content on your site, your content will be exposed to a wider audience, bringing you more traffic and making your content more easily and readily available to the world.

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Template Variables Help

Mar 16 2010 07:00 PM | spacedvest in Templates

All templates are capable of using template tags, and as such when you edit any type of template, there will be a "template tag help" link.  Clicking this produces a sidebar (there is then a link in the sidebar to open a separate popup) that details all of the template tags you can insert to include IP.Content data within your template.

However, with database and article templates, there are additional variables that are passed into the template to allow it to manipulate and display the HTML that represents the content.  For instance, different data is retrieved and available when you are looking at a list of articles compared to when you are viewing a single article.  You need to know what these variables are in order to be able to properly modify the template to display data in the manner you want, and as such, a template variable help popup is available that will detail the variables available for each template type.

When you are editing a template, click on "template variable help" and a new window opens displaying the variables you can expect to be available to the template with a short description of each variable.  If you get stuck, this help window can help shed some light on the variables that are available, what values they should contain, and how you can use these variables to your advantage to build a more dynamic and useful interface for your database.

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