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

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Allow users to register while creating a new subscription

Rob Weir 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 4 months ago 8

Hi there -- our newsroom has been frustrated for awhile with the logic in the subscription module that requires users to register for the newspaper's website before buying a subscription. It's creating a bit of friction when e.g. we want to give out a complimentary subscription to an advertiser or other user, and is also a difficult workflow for some of our users if they don't get a confirmation email for registration. 

I understand the logic of registration being different from subscription status; and I also understand the internal logic of someone needing a registration before they buy a subscription. However, I'm wondering if the subscription page could be streamlined, either to allow people to register while buying a subscription or to create a user registration record as part of a new subscription (that is, prompt for a username when purchasing a subscription). 

Thoughts on that? 


Feature Request: Magazine style e-Editions

Kevin M. Cox 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Armstrong 4 months ago 1

We'd like to submit a request for magazine style "flip book" e-Editions, similar to Issuu with double-truck views:


Right now we are having to host these off-site to have this magazine view that readers like.

1) What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea implemented? Provide as many problems or use cases as possible.

It allows for magazines and other special sections that aren't newspapers to be hosted in the native BLOX e-Edition.

2) How often would you use this feature?

At least monthly.

3) How many people in your organization would use this feature?

Everyone, including all readers.


Option for a native PDF reader?

Robert Armstrong 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 2

How PDF documents are displayed is a bit underwhelming.

Are there any plans to have a PDF reader added to BLOX so that we can display a PDF in the browser, rather than making the user download it just to view?

Adding in something native in like https://pdfobject.com/ would be simple, but I would love something more robust like https://issuu.com/ or https://www.scribd.com


Templates and GIT

Alex Golovin 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by David Dierker 4 months ago 3

It would be great to use GIT version control system to be able to get updates from TownNews base skins to be able to keep our modified (or branded) skins up to date. This would be easier to maintain up to date and helpful with trouble-shooting as tools such as diff could be used to see what has been changed.

Pulling updates, merging and pushing to git repositories or remote points, that would be then used by blox as source for the templates/skins would be amazing!


Infinity Scroll Limintation

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

After a lot of back and forth with support we finally figured out why Infinity Scroll was not working on our main section pages:

"Blocks with infinity scroll enabled won't work with a dynamic setting (section tags set to 'Matches current URL or descendant'). There will need to be a hook set (setting a section, keyword, flag, etc.)."

This limitation does not appear to be documented anywhere at the present time.

This means Infinity Scroll will not work at all on the default Town News blocks that get assigned to every top level URL and all sub-sections (through inheritance) in the system. I assume most customers are using these across most areas of their sites.

Having to work around this will greatly increase the number of blocks needed for a site if they want to use Infinity Scroll on every section front. It could easily scale into the hundreds of blocks needed for a site. Then every time a style change is desired, such as showing the comment count in the summary block, it'll require editing each of those hundreds of blocks instead of the standard dynamic one.

Every single sub-section URL will need it's own block created instead of being able to inherit the blocks from the parent URL.

With this limitation Infinity Scroll is basically dead in the water for large scale deployment.

I really hope Town News is working to fix this but I wanted to post it here for wider awareness because before the answer came back the template developers I was told that there were other sites having the same trouble I was.


Auto-save feature overwriting assets

Robert Armstrong 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 3

One of my colleagues brought this to my attention. I have played around with it, and it seems like a proper bug with the auto-save feature.

User 1: Makes edits to asset, window closes without proper save/close (due to needing to leave/shutdown, crash or whatever.) User 1 doesn't return to asset.

User 2: Makes further edits to asset, even publishes.

User 1: Returns to asset manager. Auto-save restore dialogue pops up. User 1 restores asset. Asset now reverts back to User 1 edits, overwriting everything User 2 did. Text and edits revert, flags and other settings are also reverted, such as the do not publish flag being set again. Even if User 1 selects "cancel," the asset is overwritten.

Has anyone else encountered this? What do you do to get around it? I don't see an option to turn off auto-save (for a short-term fix.) Maybe there should be a warning that there is a newer version available? Options could be:

There is a new version available!

  • Discard
  • Restore (Overwrite)
  • Restore (New Asset)

Photo versus video as lede image

Erica Smith 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Bob Rose 4 months ago 7

If a couple of photos are added to a story, the photos are displayed under the headline; hooray! If a YouTube video is added to a story, the video is displayed under the headline; hooray!

But if there are both photo and video child assets, the visual under the headline defaults to photos, and pushes the video to the bottom of the story on mobile or a sidebar on desktop (unless the video is dragged into the body of the story). That's much less exciting.

If an article has both photos and videos, we'd like to have the flexibility to choose which is dominant. The easiest way: The asset listed first should win. (If it's not the easiest way, it's still what we'd like to happen.) Is that possible?


On both platforms (Zen and Flex), we think inline assets are the best way to go. That is our recommended way to do "positioning" within an article.

I believe that if you have 1 video and 3 photos, for example, you can pull the photos inline and then the video will be used for the "main display" area. Again, that functionality is for Flex.



Feature request: Add credit card swipe option to subscription portal

Allison Richmond 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We would like to sign up new subscribers at events and festivals, etc. We have Paypal portable credit card swipers similar to Square and would like a way to connect this to the Blox subscription portal.


Expanding calendar email notification link

Rachel Minske 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 5 months ago 2


We would like to expand the 48 hour window for email links for user-submitted calendar events. Currently, our calendar admin receives an email notification to approve or deny an event (something that we'd like to maintain control of, as we get a lot of submissions that don't fit for the calendar). The link expires after 48 hours and our calendar admin must make a point to approve events over the weekend or on holidays. We would like to expand that 48-hour window, to 120 hours, or 5 days. We would prefer expanding the 48-hour window time instead of having our calendar admin login to CMS to approve events as we feel it will simply help streamline the process and provide faster updates for our audiences. 


Creating an iCal Feed for our website's calendar

AnnnahRenee 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 5 months ago 1


Our staff is currently working on developing an app for our website. However, our app developers would like us to provide an iCal feed for the website's calendar feature, instead of an RSS feed. Does anyone have experience creating iCal feeds for a TownNews calendar? If so, could you please assist me with the steps?

For reference, here is the link to our calendar: http://www.theeastcarolinian.com/calendar/

Thanks in advance!




Hello! This is actually an easy answer... essentially, we have built-in support for iCal as part of our search capability. So, just generate a search for your calendar, including any search options you would like to include (I do this usually by just going to the search page and doing a search), such as:


This is just a general search, but I added fl=free which will only include items that are flagged as free.

Other search parameters can be found here:


Then, after you get the search you want, change the format to ical. The format is shown in the URL as f=html, so just change that to f=ical and it will download an ics file.

Under review

Documentation for flex templates

Aidian 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by George DuMontier 5 months ago 9

Is there any documentation dealing with templates/components/skins/etc for flex sites? Beyond the bare UTL api docs all I've seen are a series of videos at http://help.bloxcms.com/knowledge-base/developers_corner/. Those videos are focused entirely on Zen sites and are no help for someone working on Flex. Am I missing something?


Increase font size in vertical galleries

Andrew 5 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We have had great luck building vertical galleries of images, HTML assets, articles, etc. But the font size is more formatted for a cutline-size block of text than a more robust report. 

Consider this vertical gallery: https://madison.com/news/national/life-or-death-warning-major-study-says-world-has-just/collection_6e57491c-80d0-5b19-9983-1320aee9f99b.html

This proved to be a very popular article, but the text is cutline sized, so it's hard to read.

Another example: https://madison.com/now/today/your-daily-capital-gazette-publishes-as-suspect-charged-with-murder/collection_8dd73a20-ec6d-5e71-9c16-dc5bded6ffb0.html#1

And another: https://madison.com/news/data/the-most-dangerous-states-for-drinking-and-driving/collection_6e736b8a-782c-563b-830c-49ae16cb13da.html

Standard article sized type would be a perfect alternative: https://madison.com/news/nation/government-and-politics/nikki-haley-resigning-as-ambassador-to-united-nations/article_177ce5fb-915e-5819-b7cd-d0b570ad27ed.html#tncms-source

The rules could be: Direct children of the collection get larger size font. Children of children, such as a photo embedded in an article, get the regular smaller-size cutline text.

I think this would improve time on site because people would read more from those collections, as well as improving the reader experience.


Under review

How to change newsletter "From" email?

Robert Armstrong 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 5 months ago 4

I'm trying to figure out how to change what email address our newsletter is sent from. I've verified and set the preferred address in Constant Contact, but newsletters sent from within BLOX don't use it. Is there a way to overwrite or change what email is used for newsletters?

Under review

Stop auto-update of syndication story

Elizabeth Stephens 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 5 months ago 4

Question I'm hoping for a quick answer to. We have posted an AP story about the Nobel Prize winner in our town. We are working on our own reporting. We have an importer on for AP content that auto-updates stories. I'm wondering if there is a way to break the link to the syndication importer just on this story. We've shared it on social, and it's gaining traction. I'm hesitant to start over on a new file at this point since the url making the rounds is the AP version. Anyone dealt with this?

Under review

Customizable Menu on AMP Template

Robert Dundon 12 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Dundon 5 months ago 2
What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea implemented? Provide as many problems or use cases as possible.

Several site editors have expressed a need to have some level of control over the menu being used. Currently, the AMP template always pulls the navigation from the nav region "mobile-nav-left," no matter what. There are no overrides or changes available to this, as it's hard-coded[1].

How often would you use this feature?

As often as site editors want to change/adjust the navigation.

How many people in your organization would use this feature?

At least 3-5 site editors (one at each of our sites)

[1]: The code is on line 8 or module.amp.nav.utl in the Core TN AMP component in Flex.