UPDATE: The features described below, in the original blog posting, have been released as a free update to all Metro Publisher users. See this blog posting and the video for updated details and to see how you can build your own layouts without having to do any programming or CSS.
We are planning a future release that will provide flexible layout options for “entry pages” which include the homepage, section pages and subsection pages, and are asking for comments from our community of users to ensure that we get your valued input.
Our proposal is based on the ideas of our team and that of the community. On the Community & Support Site we have published graphics and illustrations that will give you an idea of how we think a flexible layout system can work without requiring any kind of code to be written.
The main idea is to make it easier for editors to create variety on the homepage and section pages quickly and with less effort. With that in mind, our goals are to consolidate the homepage and section pages into one template with an assortment of configuration options, create adjustable page layouts and allow more automation.
Section Layout Grid
Metro Publisher users prefer the flexibility that “sprockets” provide. Sprockets, what we call Metro Publisher’s built-in widgets, allow content to be called by tags, automated or hand-picked, and can be easily rearranged.
How content is graphically displayed can also be defined, and there are several types of sprockets to fit various content from lists, event calendars, directory or location searches to newsletter sign-ups and tag clouds to name a few.
Currently, sprockets are reserved for the right and left rail, or columns of a homepage, and the right rail of section pages. With the new system, entry pages will be entirely sprocket-based. This will allow editors to create custom and complex layouts using only sprockets.
There are some exciting changes that will compliment the new sprocket-based editing. Of course, there will be a sandbox editor that keeps a draft version of all entry pages for changes to be made before making them live. Scheduling will be available to conveniently set a date and time for the changes to be automatically published.
Section Layout Tool
Sprockets can easily and quickly be distributed throughout the website by allowing sections and subsections to “inherit” sprockets from their parents. Sprocketscan also be simply moved around by dragging and dropping.
Additionally, we will release new sprockets designed to make editing entry pages easier. For example, a new carousel sprocket will be introduced that will adapt to a variety of widths and positions within the page.
For Metro Publisher Users
This update is, like all other updates, free to all Metro Publisher clients. You will have the option to upgrade to the new entry page manager at your leisure and on a per section basis. Please join in on the discussion on the Metro Publisher Community & Support Site and learn more about the coming upgrade. Your valuable feedback is greatly appreciated!