Welcome to the TownNews customer community! Connect with other TownNews customers and with us to suggest features, share best practices and ask questions.

Though TownNews representatives often participate in discussions, this is not a customer service site. For immediate help, call 800-293-9576 or submit a support request via our online ticketing system.


Add Survey Form to New Asset types

Christopher Aune 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 4
I'd like to have an Input Form available thru BLOX CMS New Asset types so that community youth sports coaches can send in their box scores and provide a brief comment to a few simple questions. Questions would vary according to season/sport. About half of coaches feel comfortable sending me an email, but the other half need prodding to get a comment out of them -- an essential for a story. I don't have time to chase them all down each week. Here's an example that I helped set up with one local sports team:http://www.seiunitedsoccer.org/Default.aspx?tabid=846271. When they complete the form and hit the Submit button, the info should come to me in an email. This should actually be easier than the Poll asset that's already available, but the answers would vary instead of multiple choice. Can we do this? Thanks.
Hi Christopher!

Looking at your example, this looks very much like something you should be able to build with BLOX Forms. You can set up a new questionnaire, set yourself as the recipient, e-mail the link to the coaches. The submissions would then be e-mailed to you, as well as be available in the Form Submissions panel for review (in case you are on vacation and someone has to fill in, etc.)

Here are our docs:


Hope this helps! =)



Geolocations and Blocks

Craig V 8 years ago in BLOX CMS 0
What is the best way to query a block based off of someone's currently location. So if I am in Doylestown PA then the block would only bring in news tagged for Doylestown.
Under review

Google Surveys + paywall integration

Christian Ramirez 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 8 years ago 3
I would like to see the ability to integrate both Google Consumer Surveys with a paywall. Offering a fallback to customers who would like to opt out of surveys for a subscription fee.

Fixed Navigation of E-edition Viewer

Alessia Alaimo 8 years ago in BLOX CMS 0
When viewing e-editions on all types of media, is there a way we can make navigation fixed? that way the viewer doesn't have to scroll to the top of page to go to next page?

Avoid outages: Update your Google, Facebook and Twitter APIs today!

anonymous 8 years ago updated 8 years ago 0

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It's spring, and new APIs are in the air. Google, Facebook and Twitter are updating their authentication procedures, and you may need to take action to ensure that these services continue to work properly with BLOX CMS.We've created a set of handy docs to guide you through the process of updating your authentication settings:

• Our broadcast settings document gives step-by-step instructions for configuring Facebook and Twitter social media broadcasting to use the new APIs.

• Our user authentication doc will guide you through the process of switching to new federated login APIs for Google and Facebook.

Google and Facebook have both set late April deadlines, after which services like federated login and social media broadcasting may fail. Twitter hasn't announced a deadline yet, but why wait? Spring clean your APIs today to sidestep future problems.

In most cases the changes should be painless, but if you have any questions please call TownNews.com customer support at 800-293-9576.


Election Stats: Bug fixes and feature requests

Josh Renaud 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Tim D'Avis 8 years ago 1
I've been trying for over a year in various forums to get TownNews to fix some problems with Blox Election Stats, including a customer service ticket (#567614), but I have received no feedback. Here again are some of the bug fixes and improvements we would like to see:

1. Need a way to specify section tags, or to specify party

I find it strange that candidate assets don't have a discrete field for party. Instead, the Election Stats way is to assign a party is to give the candidate a section tag (ie /elections/party/republican).

But neither the Candidate CSV nor the Race CSV have a field for section tags. So there is no way to specify to which party a candidate belongs when we upload the CSV.

The end result is that we have to go through hundreds of candidates and manually select add party tags, when it could be done all up front in the CSV.

2. Need to fix creation of child candidates from CSV

Say I create a bunch of races and candidates; then I put all their respective UUIDs into a properly-formatted Race CSV; then I upload that CSV to Blox. The race_child candidates SHOULD become associated with the race that I specified. Jason Dean from Madison told me that this used to be the case. But for more than a year, it has ceased working.

The end result is that we have to go through hundreds of races and manually attach all the candidates as children. This takes hours, when it could all be done up front instantly.

3. Broken search

Many aspects of Election Stats search are broken.

For example, if you add a column (ie Right-click a column header, then select "Columns" > "Delete Time"), that column will immediately disappear when you refresh the search.

When you sort by a column other than "title," results on different results pages overlap (ie: Sort by "city" and Page 2 contains multiple results which were already listed on Page 1). I believe that sometimes results are *missing* in this circumstance, as well.

Further, search seems to be limited to only the title/name fields.

Say you wanted to search for all the races which have "St. Louis County" in the "District" field so that you could batch-add the elections/st-louis-county section tag. We can't do it by searching for "St. Louis County." Search doesn't turn up results for things in "District," "Description" or even the "Notes" field, for example.

The only workaround we have found is to concatenate information into the name fields. So, the "Affton Fire Protection District Director" race becomes "Affton Fire Protection District Director+=St. Louis County"

Now we can type "St. Louis County" into "Search text" and find the right races.

4. Not enough batch tools

Okay, after concatenating and uploading a CSV as explained above, we can search for "St. Louis County." But yikes, there's hundreds of races -- and we can only batch-edit one results screen at a time.

Same problem if we want to batch-delete assets. Say you wanted to purge all the races from 2013 out of the system. Yes, you can search by "Election Year," but I would have to delete the 597 races one screen at a time. That means hitting the select-all check box and clicking "Delete" 24 times, instead of just once.

It would save time if the Batch Edit, Unlock, and Delete buttons had submenus similar to Export, with which you could apply those functions to "Selected Assets Only" or "Search Results Only".

Under review

Using Adobe Muse for creating HTML assets?

Jacki Gray 8 years ago updated 8 years ago 4
Anyone familiar with using Adobe Muse for creating HTML assets?

We found that designing something in Muse and then passing it through Dreamweaver and creating an HTML asset was unsuccessful. It seems like Blox does not like the code or language?

Just looking for input.

Getting HTML description of collection asset

Matt Connolly 8 years ago in BLOX CMS 0
I am creating a block template that will list mulitple collection assets to choose from.

The description field for collections in BLOX uses a WYSIWYG editor allows you to enter HTML code.

However, when i use mycollection.description or mycollection.content in my UTL code, the text I get has all HTML stripped from it.

Does anyone know how to get the HTML version of the description?
Under review

block description

Mike Stickler 8 years ago updated 8 years ago 4
would love to see all block templates have a description custom property. the description would appear on the site as a short sentence or paragraph in small text between the block title and first asset.

Start Date/Time (no older then 60 days)

Craig V 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 1
I want to set a query rule on a editorial block to only show assets that are no older then 60 days using Start date/time. Is this possible?
Hi Craig!

Yes, there are a few ways to do this.

First, you can set the archive time on those blocks for 60 days from the start time. The archive time doesn't really do anything unless you use that rule in a block, so it won't have negative impact elsewhere on your site. So if you add the archive rule to your blocks, the items that are archived will not show.

Second, and probably easier in your situation, you can add a rule of:

> Start date/time > No earlier than > 60 days ago (type that in)

That will make sure that articles with a start date earlier than 60 days ago will not show.

Let me know if this works for you! I tested it on my site and that seems to be the right configuration.

First Thursday Webinar

anonymous 8 years ago updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 2
At this month's FREE webinar, we'll discuss exciting new features, updates and revenue generating tips. Topics will include:

  • Improve your workflow with our all-new inline notes
  • Configuring broadcast settings to comply with Facebook updates
  • New run-of-site exclusions in BLOX Ad Manager
  • Tip of the month: Native advertising with BLOX CMS
Sign up today!

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asset search for invalid section tags

Mike Stickler 9 years ago updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 2
If you want to search for articles in a specific section it's fairly easy. Put a check next to the section in the drop down and hit search. In addition to this there is an "uncategorized" box that can be checked to bring up instances where there is not section tag.

However we occasionally run into human error issues where something might end up in the section tag field that is not a valid section. For example if no web category is selected in our pagination system then articles will be imported with a section_tag of none. TN gave me a shortcut to search for these (enter tag_section:(none) in the search text), however I'd like to see an "invalid" section search similar to the uncategorized one. The results from this search would return any asset with a section tag that is not currently a valid section tag for the site.
1. In BLOX itself, there isn't a way to select a section that doesn't exist, so that shouldn't be an issue for sites creating content inside the BLOX hosted system, or our front-end editorial system, BLOX Total CMS. Since they are essentially the same system, they work in unison in this way.

2. For other front-end editorial systems, you'd have to talk to that vendor about not allowing invalid sections to be chosen for an article. It sounds like the sections should be a choice out of a selection of sections rather than something the user is asked to type in, anyway.

3. As far as auto-creating sections when a new one is found, I would think that it could lead to a lot of accidental sections that are misspellings or incorrect variations of existing sections. They would then not have ads assigned or could mess up page statistics. In BLOX, we like to think of the sections as more well-defined. Keywords, on the other than, are more organic and could vary in this way.

4. As far as searching for "invalid" sections, that is very difficult for us to do. We would have to perform an inverse search on every section tag that is possible from the database, and our developers felt there was no reasonable way to do that.

Hope this helps! Thanks!

Automatic AP Video matching - HELP!

Lindy Bazner 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 3
Now that AP Video matching is working, we are in a fix...

Shouldn't AP Video matching only work with AP syndicated articles that are given an 'AP' flag? We are seeing them show up for our local stories as well.

So, that being asked; is there a way to disable 'matching' for certain stories? Can you add a Custom Property in an article asset (like video_matching=false) to disable the automatic addition of the AP video player in that article?

We encountered something yesterday that a local story is getting random videos that have NOTHING to do with the topic; plus that can get hairy if there is inappropriate video/B-roll advertising that plays before a story depending on its topic.

Under review

Content Importer set article presentation mode

Jason Schaefer 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 1
In the content importer it would be nice to have an option in the other settings menu to set the presentation mode of articles that are being imported. We have bloggers only that use the content importer and currently we go back into the articles and change the presentation mode to personality. It would be nice if we could set the mode in the importer for this person and have it assign the presentation mode on import.

Flex Templates--Will they use LESS or SASS, or both?

Robert Dundon 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of BLOX CMS) 8 years ago 2
Hi There!

I and some other colleagues noted that the Flex templates will use Bootstrap , which can use LESS or SASS http://docs.townnews.com/kbpublisher/Flex-Overview_9180.html#Bootstrap.

Has TN already chosen one or the other for use? Or will there be an option?


We aren't using SASS or LESS right now with Flex, but we do have some really interesting tricks we've employed. For one, we have some sections of CSS which are now included in page - which means that you can run UTL in that CSS.

This allows you to do things like conditionals which check the section and then implement CSS if it matches. Or, using a variable color defined in your page customization as the background for a custom block or custom design.

This should be used sparingly, of course, because you don't want 10,000 lines of CSS on your front page.

But it does allow for some programmatic changes, and it gets rid of a separate site CSS http call.