Release Note 11th April 2018-

Planning enhancements, publishing, registering content types

This release note covers what's new in the latest version of Dynamic Content. We'll go into detail on the enhancements in planning, the publish and copy content item functionality, and the new developer section including features that allow you to configure and register a content type. You'll also find details on folder improvements, new settings and help icons, and the content rendering service.

Planning enhancements

We've made several updates to the planning view in this release. A new date selection dialog has been added and we've made a few changes to make editions easier to work with. New items have been added to the edition contextual menu to make accessing commonly used functions faster, editions and events can now include description text and slot validation information has been made clearer.

Edition contextual menu
Edition contextual menu

To find out more about the updates to the planning features in this release go to the planning updates page or expand the section below.

Planning user interface enhancements

There have been several updates made to the planning view in this release. A new date selection dialog has been added and we've made a few changes to make editions easier to work with. New items have been added to the edition contextual menu to make accessing commonly used functions faster, editions and events can now include description text and slot validation information has been made clearer.

Easier date selection

We've made it easier to go straight to a chosen month or year from the planning view. Click the new date selection icon and choose the month from the date selection window, as shown in the example below.

Date selection in the planning view
Date selection in the planning view

New items on the edition contextual menu

To make it easier to work with editions, new actions have been added to the edition contextual drop down menu, available from the "Schedule" button in the edition window. The items available in the menu will vary according to the state of the edition.

If the edition is in a 'Draft' state, that is it has not been scheduled, then the Copy, Edit details and Delete menu items are available.

An example of the contextual menu for a draft edition is shown below.

The edition contextual menu for a draft edition
The edition contextual menu for a draft edition

If the edition is in a draft state and also contains slots for which there is a version conflict, then a "Resolve conflicts" menu item is included, providing easy access to the conflict resolution centre.

The image below shows the contextual menu for an edition that contains a version conflict.

The edition contextual menu for an edition with a version conflict
The edition contextual menu for an edition with a version conflict

If an edition is no longer in a draft state- if it is scheduled, published or expired, then only the "Copy" item will be displayed in the menu.

Adding descriptions to events and editions

You can now add description text to events and editions, so planners can add comments for other users, for example. The text can be added when the event or edition is created, or updated from the event or edition editing window.

An example of the new edit edition window with the comments field is shown below.

Adding an edition description
Adding an edition description

Save to edition remembers your last choice

To speed up the process of choosing an edition to save content to, "Save to edition" now remembers the last edition that you saved content to.

In the example below we're choosing to save the "Summer madness sale" banner to an edition.

Saving to an edition
Saving to an edition

The Save to edition dialog is now displayed with the last event and edition that we saved content to selected. If we had previously saved this content to an edition, than the edition we previously saved content to would be selected, otherwise the last edition that any content was saved to will be selected.

Save to edition remembers your last choice

Slot validation improvements

Slot validation information is now displayed when a slot is added to an edition, indicating to planners which fields are required and which contain valid information.

In the example below, the "Banner slot with picture field" is set up to require a valid URL and no valid URL has been entered. If a valid value is not supplied for this field, then the slot is not valid. The edition cannot be scheduled until valid information is entered in this slot. Previously you would only be warned when attempting to schedule the edition.

A slot does not meet validation criteria

Slots will also be validated when the fields within them are updated.

Multiple users working on the same edition- improvements

We've made it easier to deal with the situation where multiple users are working on the same edition at the same time. When a user opens an edition to schedule it or resolve conflicts, that user is made aware of any changes made concurrently by another user. Modified date and modified by fields have also been added to the edition window, to help identify which user made the change to an edition and when they made it.

The example below shows this in more detail. One user is preparing to schedule an edition that contains two slots

Opening an edition to schedule it

At the same time, another user has edited this edition, adding a slot to it, so it now contains 3 slots.

Another user adds a slot to the edition

The first user now attempts to schedule the edition and presses the OK button to confirm.

The first user is asked to confirm scheduling

The user is warned that the edition has been updated since they opened the edition for editing. The edition cannot be scheduled until the user checks the edition and chooses whether to schedule it again.

The user can check the modification date and modified by field to check who made the change and when.

The edition has been updated and cannot be scheduled

The edition window is refreshed. If the user is happy with the changes made by their colleague, then they can click Schedule button to schedule the edition.

The edition window is updated with the new slot

Other changes

In the editions window, we've made it easier to tell when an empty slot requires content. As shown in the image below, if a slot is empty and does not require content, then it will be marked with a tick, but if you need to add content to a slot to make it valid then a "requires content" label will be shown in the slot. The edition cannot be scheduled until all the slots are valid.

An empty slot requiring content

We've also made a change so that it's no longer possible to browse to a deleted event or edition. So if you have an edition or event bookmarked that is then deleted, browsing to that event or edition will now cause a "this event or edition has been deleted" message to be displayed.

Publishing and copying content items

There are two new features accessible from a content item's contextual menu: publishing and copying.

You can choose to publish a content item in two ways, by choosing 'Publish' from the contextual menu in the content library, or from the 'Save' menu in the content editing window. When a content item is published, the publish status is shown on the item's card, with a green tick indicating that the latest version is published.

Choosing a content item to publish

To make a copy of a piece of content, choose "Copy" from the item's contextual menu in the content library. You'll be asked to give the copy a name and a new copy of the selected content will be added to the content library with the name you've chosen.

For a detailed walk through of the new publishing features and to learn more about copying content go to the publishing and copying content items page or expand the section below.

Publishing and copying content items

In this release we've added two new features accessible from a content item's contextual menu: publishing and copying.

You can now choose to publish individual content items immediately without scheduling that content for publication using an edition. This feature is particularly useful when:

  • Your workflow does not take advantage of scheduling content using editions
  • You want to quickly update one or more pieces of content that have previously been published to a slot within an edition and you don't want to create a new edition just for the updated items

Publishing content items

There are two ways of publishing a content item, by choosing 'Publish' from the contextual menu in the content library or from the 'Save' menu in the content editing window. When a content item is published, the publish status is shown on the item's card, with a green tick indicating that the latest version is published.

In the example below, we want to publish the Summer sunglasses content item, so we choose "Publish" from the item's contextual menu.

Choosing an item to publish

A dialog is displayed asking to confirm the publish operation. When an item is published, any assets contained within it and each linked content item is published at the same time. This includes media such as images or video included within the content and other content items that this item contains. For example, if you have a carousel that contains individual carousel slides, each stored as separate content items, each of these slides will be published with the carousel.

If more than one content item is published as a result of publishing the 'parent' item, then you will need to refresh the content library window for the publishing status of the linked items to be updated.

Confirming publish

On clicking the Publish button, the publishing operation starts. A progress indicator is displayed in the top left of the item being published.

Publish in progress

When the item is published the publish status icon is updated to a green tick. The latest version of the content item is now published to our Content Delivery Network (CDN) and available to consume in a website or from an app or e-commerce system. This will replace any previous published version of the content.

The latest version is published

Updating content published to slots

In some cases you might have populated an edition with content and scheduled it to go live. Once the content is published you decide that one piece of content needs to be updated. Perhaps you need to use a new image for a banner, or update the text in a blog post. You might choose to create a new edition and include just those slots containing the content that needs to be updated, or you can just publish a new version of those content items.

In the example below an edition has been scheduled and content has been published to its slots on the edition start date. One of the content items is a banner, as shown in the image.

Content published to a slot

When viewed in the content library, the publish status icon is a green tick, indicating that the latest version of this content is published. To update this content double-click to open the content editing window.

The latest version of the content is published

A new image has been chosen and the content saved. Notice that the publishing status icon is now a green cloud, because we have updated the content and the published content is no longer the latest version.

The content is updated

To publish the latest version of the content, choose "Publish" from the "Save" menu. Note that if the content had not been saved then this item would be named "Save and Publish".

Publishing the updated content

The content is now published and the publish status icon changes to a green tick.

This is now the latest published version

The updated banner is now available and can be consumed from our website, replacing the version published when the edition went live.

Consuming the updated content

Copying content items

To make a copy of a piece of content, choose "Copy" from the item's contextual menu in the content library. You'll be asked to give the copy a name and a new copy of the selected content will be added to the content library with the name you've chosen. Note that you currently need to refresh the window for the copied item to be displayed.

The new copy will include references to the same content items as the original, so if you make a copy of a carousel and then make a change to one of the carousel slides it contains, then both the original content and the copy will be updated.

In the example below we want to copy a banner item, so choose "Copy" from the item's menu.

Choosing an item to copy

We give the new content a name and click OK to create the copy.

Entering a name for the new item

After refreshing the window the new content item is shown in the content library.

The new item in the content library

Registering and updating content types

In this release we've added a new section to the Dynamic Content masthead: development. From the development tab you'll be able to access features intended for developers, starting in this release with registering and updating content types.

There's a new a user interface to make it easier to register and configure content types, including providing support for out of the box icons and content library cards.

For much more detail about registering content types and using the out of the box cards go to the adding content types page or expand the section below.

Out of the box cards

Registering and updating content types

In this release we've added a new section to the Dynamic Content masthead: development. As its name suggests, from the development tab you'll be able to access features intended for developers, starting in this release with registering and updating content types.

As explained on the integration section, content types are the templates for content items, defining the type of content to be created, including its structure and validation rules. Content types are stored externally to Dynamic Content, on web based services such as AWS, and must be registered with a hub before they can be used to create content. In this release we've introduced a user interface to make it easier to register and configure content types, including providing support for out of the box icons and content library cards.

Registering a content type

In this section we'll walk you through registering a content type using the UI.

Select the development tab at the top of the Dynamic Content window. A list of content types registered to this hub will be displayed, with their label and their URL. To register a new content type click the "Register content type button".

The content types list

The register content type window is displayed. In this example we're adding a home page banner content type.

Enter the URL where the content type is stored and provide a label- this is used in the content type window in the production view.

Specifying the content type URL

Adding a content type icon

You can add an icon to a content type by providing the URL to a 256x256 pixel image or choosing one of the standard icons. In this case we'll choose a simple picture icon.

Choosing an icon

Once you choose an icon, you'll be returned to the register content type window.

Next we'll add a content card. As explained in content library cards, a card provides a graphical representation of a piece of content, making it easier to identify in the content library.

Adding a card

Mapping content type properties to a card

You can provide the URL to your own custom card or choose from one of our out of the box cards, each providing a different way of representing your content. For this example we'll use the summary photo card. This will display an image with some text underneath.

Each card includes a number of configurable fields that determine how the card content should be displayed. You will map the chosen properties in your content type to the fields displayed on the content card.

For example, the banner type includes properties named "headline" and "background". We want the value of the headline property to be displayed on the card, so we enter "/headline" in the headline field and "/background" for the image.

When content of this type is shown in the content library, the background image will be displayed with the headline text underneath.

Adding the mapping for the card

When your chosen card is configured, click the "Choose content type card" button to return to the main screen.

Icon and card added

Adding a visualization

If you want to provide a visualization for the content type, click the "Add a visualization button" and enter the templated visualization URI in the field provided. Note that you must provide the complete URI, including all the templated variables. Give the visualization a label.

If you want to add an additional visualization, click the "Add a visualization" button again.

Adding a visualization

Click Save to register the content type with the hub.

Once registered with the hub, the content type appears in the list. In the image below, the newly added home page banner is highlighted.

The home page banner type is now registered

Enabling content types

Note that once registered on a hub, content types must be enabled on each repository in which you want to create content of that type. Your customer success manager will be able provide you with more details.

Viewing content in the content library

When the content type has been enabled on a repository, you can start using it to create content. The example below shows content created from the home page banner type, consisting of an image and some headline text: "Summer is almost here".

Creating banner content

The saved content appears in the content library. Notice that the image appears with the headline text underneath. That's how we configured the summary photo card when the content type was registered.

The card with a preview of the content item

Using cards with nested content

You can configure are out of the box cards to work with nested content, such as a carousel that contains one or more carousel slides.

You'll need to specify the mapping for each field using the JSON Pointer standard. This allows you to identify a specific value within JSON content, such as an image within an array.

In this example we're registering the carousel content type. In the carousel the "slides" property contains an array of carousel slides and each slide contains an "image" property. The gallery card can display up to 4 images in a grid, so we want to use the it to display the image of each of the slides. We specify "/slides/0/image" for image0 and so on up to image3.

Configuring the gallery card for the carousel content type

Here's an example of a carousel displayed in the content library. It contains 4 carousel slides and the image of each slide is contained in the grid shown on the card in the content library.

The card with a grid of 4 carousel slides

Updating a content type

Sometimes you'll need to make changes to a content type after it's been registered on a hub, particularly in the early stages of a project. For example, you may have changed property labels, validation rules or added items. Because the content type is not stored within Dynamic Content, if you make a change, you'll need to update the content type in the hub.

To update a content type, select the development tab, choose the content type from the list and select "Update content type" from the contextual menu on the right hand side. You'll see a message indicating that the content type is updated.

Updating a content type

In this release we've improved the way that content is displayed in the content editing window when a property type has been changed, but particular care should still be taken when updating content types, since any changes may effect the editing of existing content.

Improved folder handling

The way repositories and folders are organised in the content library has been improved. The "All content" section at the root level of each repository has been removed and clicking the repository title will now take you to the top level of that repository. If the repository contains folders, then an expand/collapse arrow can be used to display the folder structure.

You can see the new repository layout highlighted in the image below.

Updated repository layout

Folder handling has also been enhanced when saving content. In the example below "Save as" has been chosen from the "Save" menu in the content editing window. The user can choose the folder in which to save the content by clicking the down arrow and navigating the folder structure. The save location defaults to the current folder.

Choosing a folder to save to

Other user interface changes

At the top of the Dynamic Content window, the settings menu is now represented by an icon, as shown in the image below.

Settings menu icon

Apart from the user interface change, an option has been added to the Date & time settings dialog to allow you to choose between a 12 or 24 hour clock.

There's also a new help icon, so you can open this documentation site directly from the app.

The content rendering service

The content rendering service reduces the number of steps it takes to retrieve slots and content items from Dynamic Content and convert them into HTML. The service provides an API that takes a content or slot ID and a handlebars template as parameters and returns HTML in the response. This HTML can then be combined with CSS styling to display on your website or app, or served from an e-commerce system.

The content rendering service includes a number of handlebars helpers to make it easier for developers to develop their templates, and supports partials, a feature that allows templates to be structured more efficiently.

For more information about the service, including an API reference, details about the supported handlebars helpers and examples, see the content rendering service reference page.

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