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Feature Request: Save button in the Expanded Editor view of article assets

Kevin M. Cox 2 years ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated 2 months ago 5

A lot of our staff like using the Expanded Editor view when working in article assets so they can focus on just the body of their story. They are requesting that a Save button be added into this view so they can save (without closing) directly without having to first return to the standard asset view.

Probably the easier thing would be to simply add another bar at the bottom of the window, below the Stats bar, that contains the Save button on the right side. Alternatively adding it into the toolbar at the top of the screen would work just as well.

Please let me know what y'all think.




Subscription Coupon Code

Kevin M. Cox 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Mary Shepard 2 months ago 15
We would like to request the option of having a "Coupon Code" function available for new subscriptions on the website.

We envision being able to link specific codes to specific subscription services (e.g. a code would allow a discount on a 7 day print subscription but not on a weekend only).

To be fully functional, the code should include options to select either: $ off, % off or length of free trial.

This would be a huge tool for our circulation/promotions department and we imagine would be a welcome addition for other newspapers as well.

--> Why we're asking:

To give a little more background I thought it might be helpful to give a specific use case. While we see tons of potential for this feature, there is a specific promotion we're trying to develop in the next month and are having trouble seeing a way to do it with the current system.

We're planning on a new subscription marketing push for our newspaper. We'd like to offer potential subscribers a free trial subscription (either print and/or online) to the paper.

In order to make things as easy as possible we'd like them to be able to sign-up online (create a new BLOX user account) and instantly begin their online trial (get behind the paywall) without having to enter a credit card. At the end of their trial period of course we'll offer to make them a subscriber and collect their payment information.

A "coupon code" function seems like the best way to make this happen but of course we are open to suggestions if we can already pull off something similar with existing tools. For example: Is there a way to link directly to a hidden subscription service?

Please let me know what y'all think.


Upgrade needed in system

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 3

Please add the capability of embedding from DocumentCloud.org. They have developed powerful journalism tools that go beyond the usual PDF. Thank you. 


Does anyone have experience with VisionData for online subscriptions?

Nick 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We currently use VisionData for our home delivery circulation management. The intent was to switch online subscriptions over to VisionData too. I'm hesitant to make this switch because it will undoubtedly cause a massive drop-off when everyone who was once on auto-renew has to set up a new subscription in a different system. Their support has also never been stellar. Does anyone here have experience using VisionData for managing online subscriptions?


Feature request: URL/titles for SEO

Kyle Whitfield 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 19

Instead of URLs picking up an asset's title then generating new URLs when titles are changed, could we consider an SEO title field where an editor could manually define a phrase that would appear in a URL? And the URL wouldn't change as the asset's headline changes?

Example: Story about mass shooting in Baton Rouge

SEO/URL title: Baton Rouge mall shooting
Article asset title: 5 dead in Baton Rouge mall shooting

URL (that wouldn't change): theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/baton_rouge_mall_shooting/XYZABC123.html

Right now we shy away from opting for titles in URLs b/c of the mess it creates with multiple URLs per asset.

This would be used very often by us.


Hi guys!

We had a release yesterday which added part of this feature, but it doesn't do everything that is discussed here in this first version.

But, for now, we see two use cases:

==> 1. Publisher has a bad or short title on their article, but they want to be able to expand it in the URL.

So maybe, for some cutesy reason the title of the story is "M13," so your URL would look like this:


Note that we automatically remove numbers, because they are more likely to change, so you end up with a stupid-looking URL basically, with just "m" there!

In these cases, you may want to be able to change the title or change the URL so that you can create something that is more SEO-friendly, and also user friendly (if you share the "m" URL above, it doesn't have any good keywords or let you know anything about it).

Buy with this URL title feature, you can go in there and type something that can be used instead. So you end up with this:


Note that it allows the number to be in there, so that makes things more clear in some cases (like m13 where you need that for SEO, really).

Note that, in theory, it could go the other way as well. You might have a page that has a long page title, but you wanted it to be shorter or more precise (again, for SEO and for usability), you could do that also.

==> 2. Publisher would like their URLs to remain static so it doesn't mess up statistics or other external services such as Facebook comments.

In this situation, it's more that you want the URL to remain the same for statistics, rather than that you want to "fix" it from some unattractive state. The new feature is meant to address the situation above, but it is not likely to fix the statistics issue.

A few thoughts there:

Firstly, software like Chartbeat and Parsley can be updated to key off of the article UUID instead of the URL. 

This will mean that they will all be tracked together regardless of section or title change.

Secondly, we are looking at doing some kind of permanent URL that would remain frozen, but we haven't agreed yet what that would look like. 

Wordpress has a little Edit button that allows this (like Kevin's example). Basically, after the title is written, a few seconds later it populates the "permalink" slug area. If you edit it after it is published, it creates a 404 (that you can fix if you create a 301 redirect manually, it sounds like).

So, in our situation, we could possibly do something like that...

The problem is that BLOX is a little different because many users will actually write content in BLOX that may span many days. It is common that you see an asset in the system that has a start date of 2037 and the title is "Second story about the mayor TK" or whatever. So, in those cases, you'd theoretically end up with that in your URL, even if you change your title later.

It is possible we could tie the URL creation to a workflow status... i.e. it doesn't auto-fill the URL until it its a publish state, and then it freezes.

I have also seen some CMSes where they will have a "generate URL" button that, when pressed, will generate the URL and freeze it.

Interested to hear your thoughts...


Webinar | Introducing BLOX Now, a better mobile app for local media

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Nick 2 months ago 3

Webinar recording now available.

Taking cues from social media, the BLOX Now mobile app eschews conventional news app design in favor of a single, continuously-scrolling stream of community news and events that keeps users engaged. At our June customer webinar, Susan Bell, BLOX Now senior product manager, and Christine Masters, director of product management, introduced the BLOX Now mobile app.

Topics included:

  • Increasing user engagement with a hybrid news and information app.

  • Feature highlights, including: in-stream video playback, push notifications, and convenient fly-out menus.

  • Monetizing your app with Google DFP integration.

  • Managing your app, website, and mobile site in one easy workflow.

  • . . . and much more.

Are you ready to get started . . . now? Webinar recording now available.

Under review

Scheduling blocks

eeckert 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Paul Crawford 3 months ago 7

I think a nice feature would be a custom option within a block to schedule it for certain times.

We currently have a few blocks that I only have show up on a single day of the week so I manually disable it when we don't need it.  Having something with the block options itself where I could schedule it to enable and disable itself would be great.


Ability to customize email receipts for marketing.

Mary Shepard 3 years ago • updated 3 months ago 8
Email receipts receive on average a 70.90% open rate compared to the 17.19% average of regular email marketing.
It's important to remember that a customers trust is at it's highest right after they complete a transaction with a company.
Email receipts are the easiest way into an inbox, yet they’re the most underutilized form of email marketing, especially when working with Town News.

Having the ability to further communicate with our already engaged customers opens up opportunities to cross sell, upsell, offer discount codes on future transactions, promote social media accounts, set up a feedback loop to better understand the process/customer experience and offer logical next steps to customers who have completed a transaction, submitted content or posted a review.

Today's companies want to reach and engage more customers with every contact and e-receipts are an easy way to do so.


More robust BLOX Go

Brad Boner 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by anonymous 3 months ago 7

The BLOX Go feature is descent, but it is really lacking in functionality. There are several things we'd like to see that would improve this feature:

• Would like to be able to fill out more of an asset's fields. As it stands we can only fill out the Title and Caption fields for an image or video asset, and Title and Content for an article asset. Would like to have, at the very least, the Byline and Slug fields available for all assets in Blox Go, and be able to select Flags for images and videos.

• Ability to modify other assets besides articles. Seriously, this is a major flaw in the system. We can upload images and videos, but once we've done so we can't edit them. This means that if we upload an image from the field and there's a misspelling in the caption, we can't edit it unless we do so through the regular CMS site (not BLOX Go), which is absurdly clunky use if you're trying to do so on your phone.

• I know I'm asking a lot here, but it would be awesome if article or photo assets created with BLOX Go (or in CMS in general) could somehow "write back" to TCMS. Say I upload a photo from a house fire from my phone in CMS. It would be nice if that also created an asset in TCMS that could be used in our print workflow. As it stands we need to create a separate asset in TCMS if we want to use that image in print.

If any of these features are already available, please do let me know.




Hey Brad!

I wanted to let you know that BLOX Go is a major initiative for us this year. In fact, we're totally re-doing it!

Coming soon, it will be re-released with an entirely new UI that is a lot more flexible.

In this first version, we are focusing on changing the UI elements and not adding a ton of new functionality. For our first version we're striving for feature parity with the existing interface. But in subsequent versions, we will add much more functionality, including having access to more fields, more asset types and eventually, more BLOX CMS applications.


Feature Request: Auto-populating Collections

Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated by anonymous 3 months ago 3

Here is what I want and why I want it:

I'd love the ability to create a Collection asset and then define a slug template that would automatically assign any specified asset type matching that pattern to the Collection as a child.

For example: 

Create a Collection, set the Start Time, Sections, Workflow, etc. Then define the following for matching:
Type: Image
Slug: 180518-new-shooting*
(The asterisk being a wildcard just like in slug search.)

The system would run a search on the slug either constantly or every five minutes or something and then automatically add the matches into the collection.


Or maybe even options for keywords instead of slugs:
Type: Image
Keyword: #sfhsshooting

Two scenarios where this would save a ton of time:

1. We had a mass shooting today and it would have been a huge help for photographers to FTP their images into TotalCMS and not even need to open the browser and login to BLOX. Just upload the photos and know they'll be added into the existing live photo gallery within a few minutes. (Transmitting images via FTP directly from Photo Mechanic is hands-down the fastest way to get photos into TCMS.)

2. It would save a bunch of time when covering sports to setup the Collection ahead of time and then let it auto-populate as photos are sent during the game. During the World Series last year I was able to send photos during the games but usually didn't have time to get into BLOX until afterwards. So while my photos where in TCMS, they weren't online for any readers to see.

A feature like this would help level the playing field for small publications that don't have dedicated web staff sitting in the office to build galleries.


Limiting subscriptions by zip code

Rob Weir 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 3 months ago 1

Hi all, 

We currently sell print and digital subscriptions online, and are considering doing print only, but there doesn't seem to be a way inside the Blox circulation system to limit print subscription offers by zip code (like most papers, we only deliver to a certain amount of zip codes and have mail subscriptions outside our circulation area). Our older online circulation system limited the print offer by zip code. 

Has anyone run into this, and if so, is there a solution for it? 

thanks, Rob 


Hi Rob,

We have a feature request in to add this to our paywall software. I don't have a timeline for it as of yet, but there is a workaround in the interim. Please start a ticket with our customer support folks and they will be able to help you.


Guidance on Facebook API review

Elizabeth Stephens 3 months ago • updated by Rob Weir 3 months ago 4

We use Facebook comments, and we have received the request from Facebook to submit for approval. Has anyone started this process? Or is there any guidance available? It shows that we use user_friends, but I can't seem to find a way to show how this is actually used.

Under review

Photo Mechanic and photo author/byline

Erica Smith 8 months ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated 3 months ago 4

Is anyone who's using Photo Mechanic having luck getting the photo author field to populate? We have it working with bylines ... but there are other advantages to adding the name as an author (and I'm tired of doing it manually on all of our staff photos).


Save search result format

Erica Smith 3 years ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 3

In the editorial section of Blox or TCMS, I can add columns, shuffle them around and just generally set things up in a way that's efficient for me. (Sort by start date, for example, or mark which stories have a site tag or which stories are marked "do not publish.") The next time I log in, the page will be set up the same way. That's great.

But when I'm in an asset and want to add child or sibling assets, the search results don't have the same functionality — I can show or hide columns that are or aren't relevant, move columns around to find what I want, but the next time I go to add a child or sibling asset, I have to do to the same thing again. It's time-consuming and, well, annoying. Any chance of being able to save those search result formats on a user basis?

Under review

Feature request: Add sibling or child assets from multiple search pages

Erica Smith 2 years ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 7

If a user searches for assets to be used as sibling or child assets and the desired assets are on multiple pages, there's no easy way to add them to the story. You have to add the assets you want from Page 1. Then open the search again, search for the assets you want, go to Page 2, add the assets you want from that page. Want more? Repeat that process for every page of search results.

This is time consuming (and annoying). To change it, I've submitted a feature request. Help me make it a reality.