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IP.Content 2.1 Dev Update: Easier Administration

While we continue to work on polishing IP.Content 2.1 to make it easier to access and easier to use, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the changes we have already made which we believe will allow you to better make use of all that IP.Content 2.1 has to offer. One major goal we are continuing to work towards with IP.Content 2.1 is to make it easier for everyone to use, and we believe these two changes will do just that (even if our work is not yet done).

Textual Keys in Templates
Databases and articles map to pre-defined templates in the ACP. You can modify these templates, and even create new ones, as needed for your site. You can use one database template for all of your databases, or you can make one template for each database you create in order to give each database it's own unique look and feel. There are many ways to configure your templates so that you get the most out of IP.Content.

One limiting factor in IP.Content 2.0 (and previous versions), however, is that within the templates you refer to the fields by the field ID. For instance, if you want to show the "content" for a database record, you may have to use a variable like so: $record[ $database['database_field_content'] . '_value' ]. In and of itself, this isn't a "problem", however when you are working with the template it's not immediately clear what variable you are referencing, and you will probably find that you need to look up what variables are available in the templates quite frequently. We have implemented a way to make this easier in IP.Content 2.1.

When you add or edit fields you can now define textual keys, and then utilize these keys in your templates. For instance, the article title field has a text key of "article_title". Now, in your templates, you can refer to this value simply as: $record['article_title']. Clearly, this is easier to use, easier to remember, and easier to understand when you come back to this template at a later point to make changes.

The upgrade routine will NOT update your existing templates. You are not forced to use the textual keys, and in fact you will need to add text keys to any fields you already have if you do wish to use them. However, moving forward we believe this will make it much easier for everyone working with templates to adapt the template to their needs.

Overhauled Wizard Process
IP.Content features a wizard process for block and page additions and edits. This wizard process is both necessary (some options can change based on previously selected options) and helpful for new users. While we are happy with how the wizard process works, we felt there were some obvious improvements that we could make, and we are happy to announce that they will be available beginning with IP.Content 2.1.

Firstly, after a page or block is created, more often than not when you go edit either a page or block you are wanting to edit the content or template. We accounted for this in earlier versions of IP.Content by building a special secondary form that is loaded, and if you wanted to change anything else you needed to relaunch the wizard. In IP.Content 2.1 this is not the case - when you go to edit a page or block you are taken into the wizard process, defaulting to the page where you edit the page content or block template. This allows us to consolidate the process, giving you a more consistent user experience and reducing the total amount of code needed to deliver the same functionality.

Secondly, you can now jump back and forth to any step in the wizard process at will (after the page or block is created, when editing the saved content). This means when you click on the page you will be taken to the step in the wizard where you edit the content, however if you just want to enable caching you can click on the "Caching" step, supply the values you wish to use, and hit "Save" without having to walk all the way through the wizard again. You can use a "Save and Reload" button on the wizard as well, if you wish to apply your changes, but leave the form still open.

Additionally, when you are creating a new block or page for the first time, while you cannot jump ahead in the wizard, you CAN jump backwards to any previous step if needed.

You can view a quick video here:


We hope that these improvements make it easier for you to create your blocks, templates and pages, and allow you to better control and manage these resources once created. Please let us know if you have any feedback!

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