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What is the url for a specific asset in our Blox (Flex) CMS?

Ashley 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patsy J. Moore 2 months ago 5

Hello, I'm new to TownNews and Blox so forgive the simple question, but how can I get/find a direct url to an individual asset thats hosted in our Blox (Flex) CMS? For example, if I batch import a bunch of pdfs and then search for them in the CMS, I'd like to be able to add a text link to one of them in another CMS for those viewers but I am unclear what the url is for that specific asset. Thanks for your help!


Hi there!

I think the easiest way is to go to the asset, then click on "live view" (under the "preview") button. It will open the live page and you can get the URL from there.

As soon as the asset is saved and publishable, you can get the URL from the live view link. Even before it shows up on the front page or on other pages. So, this is actually a good way to get a URL in order to send it to an email or other places quickly, because it is immediately available.

However, this is how you would link to the PDF page. We would highly caution against linking directly to any binary element, whether it is a photo or a PDF or a video, because sometimes those storage URLs change and will cause broken links. It is pretty rare, but the URL of the files themselves (not the asset URL, but the binary file) may change.


Improvements to Blox commenting system

Michael Becker 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patsy J. Moore 2 months ago 1

I would be very interested to hear from other users about improvements they'd like to see to Blox-native commenting. Here are my suggestions so far.

(And to head off the inevitable: I am not switching to Disqus or FB just to get features. This is about improving the Blox system.)

  • The ability to moderate comments from the article page, rather than having to go into the Blox back-end.
  • "Trusted" commenters or some other sort of ranking system. Trusted commenters would be able to post links without review and their comments would be filtered nearer to the top of a comment list with a "Best Comments" sort order.
  • A "Best Comments" sort order, which would be decided by the upvote/downvote system.
  • See above: An upvote/downvote system for comments.
  • Ability to have clickable links
  • See above: Ability to hold comments for moderation if they contain links
  • Ability for users to edit their own posts.
  • Ability for users to upload images.
  • Ability for newsrooms to specify a period after which comments on an article close automatically.
  • Ability to show comments already posted AFTER commenting has been disabled, rather than having them all disappear.
  • Pipe dream: Real time comments.
  • Others?

Make child/parent asset position default to END of article, not in a new column

Lake Looker 3 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

It's so frustrating how a parent or child asset becomes an automatic sidebar in our layout. So you can lay out an article beautifully. But if, a year later, you add that original article as a child asset to a new article, then it ruins the layout on the original article -- putting this "sidebar space" on the left column with one article in it, and shifting the layout of the whole article to the right. So then every time I add an old article as a child asset to a new article, I have to go back to the old article and fix the layout, so that its new "parent" is inserted at the end, rather than default being moved to the left side and ruining the layout.


Fixing the size of type on the NOW App

Nic Stevens 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 months ago 4
I didn't know if this was in the works or not but we've been getting a lot of comments on the size of the font on the NOW app. Do we know if we'll be able to choose a different font size in the near future?
Yes, we are working on font size! Currently slated for the next version, due out early next year.
Under review

Blox Commenting system

Thomas Martinez 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 5

I know this has been asked in a similar post a couple of years ago, but ....

We just switched to Blox commenting from Facebook. A lot of commenters immediately complained they didn't have the ability to edit their own comments. Most other major commenting platforms have the ability for users to edit their own comments.

Do you all think this would a useful change for TownNews to make?




NOW App Select a home page

Nic Stevens 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 1

In the new BLOX NOW app, we'd like to be able to select a landing page when you open the app. This way people can select if they want local news, business, homepage or what when the app opens. We had this in our old app and I think people really liked it.

Under review

Custom "Read More" Text for Block Template "Email card: Summary horizontal"

Robert Dundon 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Troy Sporcic 3 months ago 3

I came across the block template "Email card: Summary horizontal" (among

a few other Core email block templates) that don't support custom "Read

More" text.

I needed this feature for moving an obits newsletter from Zen to Flex, the text for the custom block template on Zen was " View Obituary / Sign Guestbook," which is more sensitive and empathetic than "Read More" I would imagine there are other use cases for this as well.

However, I did notice that the Core block template uses the macro email_assetLead in the Core Flex Email component.

Blocks using that macro can use "read_more_text" as a custom property to

support custom text.

I made a custom copy of the Core block template "Email card: Summary

horizontal" for now, but of course it'd be nice to have this in Core.

Under review

Tracking widget traffic

Tom Jones 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 3

Our sites use some variation of a block that updates with trending article links - they may be autopopulated based on defined rules or editor selected or some combination of both. We're trying to track the traffic that jump from these links into our articles.

Currently, the only solution available is entering UTM code data in via the block settings. This appears to be part of TN settings to only offer it this way.

However, as UTM codes are only designed to work with referral traffic and not from the same domain/GA property as the destination, there's a known issue where it can essentially 'break' the current user session. 

What will happen is that when a user clicks on a same-domain/GA property UTM coded link their current session will end and a new session will begin on the new page. This creates a data accuracy issue that can't easily be fixed without abandoning the UTM tracking effort.

There are 2 other known solutions to track this traffic - hashtag anchor fragment usage or TN events.

Preferably would like to use TN events as long as it's clear which widget the action occurred on and where the user went. Would think this could be accomplished by labeling the Category as 'Widget Tracking' (or something else that makes it obvious), the Action as the name of the widget as it appears on the site, and Label is the Page Title for where the user jumped to. 

Alternatively, appending a url with #widgetname instead of UTM coding would be searchable in GA's All Pages report but requires making some GTM updates https://www.simoahava.com/gtm-tips/track-url-fragments-as-pageviews/ - this could be a messy process if it interferes with other GA manipulations. 

Either would have to be developed. 


Webinar | Video 101: Producing live events for local media

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 2

Webinar recording now available.

When local events happen—from public forums to sporting events to live music—your community looks to you for quality coverage. At our October customer webinar, Derek Gebler, vice president of broadcast and video, will show how easy it can be to produce live video coverage of local events, and distribute your video content to the world with TownNews.com’s integrated digital solutions.

Topics will include:

  • The benefits of producing live video during local events.

  • A pre-flight plan, including a gear checklist, equipment testing, and working with the venue.

  • Camera placement, sound recording, and off-site monitoring.

  • Using VideoLink to live stream to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and your own website.

  • Post-event editing, distribution, and analytics.

  • . . . and much more!

Ready to get started? Watch it today.


We are looking at integration options for audience tools like OptinMonster.

Jay Allred 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0


Any experience, success stories, killer integrations with tools like these?

Expanding the class CSS to individual links on menus

W. Rags. 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 4

Allowing for a simple class='' option on each menu link.  Once that option is available, then it will be up to the end-user (us) to define the class within your system, and chose to use it on the link.  Updating would be as simple as changing the class name on the link in the editor.

You already do this for each 'block'.  It just needs extending to the links within the menu blocks.  Fairly simple feature, and one that wouldn't impact much on your system, but it would bring a lot of flexibility to the entire system, especially if you extended it to other items as well.  Each 'item' (html entity) then has a class='' field that contains a user managed variable that could be controlled in your editor.  I can imagine some very fancy work done, using this alone, and without you having to do anything extra after implementation.

Under review

Anyone else getting spam redirects on mobile devices?

Nick 12 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by W. Rags. 4 months ago 19

We've had several people call about spam redirects on our website in the past couple of weeks. And we've already had three in the past hour. I submitted a ticket to TownNews and they said it isn't coming from our website. They said it comes from insecure websites and apps.

I think it's coming from Outbrain. When I load a story page with Outbrain enabled the page doesn't load securely on my phone and I get redirects. I disabled Outbrain and the pages then load securely. I also stopped getting the spam redirects.

So I decided to turn Outbrain back on. The page stopped loading securely and I started getting the redirects. Turned it off again, no redirects.

If this isn't originating from our website why does disabling Outbrain stop the redirects? And if this isn't originating from our website why do we have a noticeable influx of complaints?


Twitter Timeline Ads Program

Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We got an invite to this new program, anyone else currently participating or have thoughts to share?



A new view option for our uploaded publications.

randy 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 1

We need the ability for optimal, simple navigation of our archived pdf publication by being able to

1: view either one or both pages full-screen without cutting the pages off. They need to fit the screen, and

2: then the ability to zoom in or out as one pleases.

3: This ability exists within an Adobe pdf, of which our publications can be downloaded, but some of our readers are not interested in downloading instructions or aren't fluent at downloading files so we need them to be able to easily read the publication online as if they were in an Adobe pdf, so that it takes as little thought as possible.

4: Also, to retain the option to view in the current format. The current format which doesn't allow zooming is still a good format, it just lacks the option to zoom in or out, or to view the spreads on screen.

5: The default format should be the one we are requesting, the "Adobe Reader pdf" format with spread viewing and zooming capability.