KB Version:

Page Navigation

Related Links

Learning Levels

Most Read

Block

Digest

block A Block is a 'pluggable'  piece of content that can be easily substituted (with or without styling) into any page region. Therefore, whenever there is content that is common to many pages or regions, i.e. an “About the Company” section that appears after every press release and newsletter, that content should be put into a block. Doing so allows the appropriate content to appear in many pages while always being updated from one place, making it easy to maintain consistency in that text/markup across many pages. Cascade users can reuse a single block on an unlimited amount of page regions.

The text or markup contained by a block can be plugged into a page region at three different levels:  the template level, the page configuration level, or the page level. When a block is plugged into a page region at the template level, the block content will appear in any pages using that template. Any blocks assigned at the page configuration level will appear in any pages using that configuration.

There are five types of Blocks in Cascade Server:

1.       Index Block - used to dynamically generate system assets as XML

2.       Text Block - static text content

3.       XML Block- static XML content

4.       XHTML Block - static XHTML content

5.       XML Feed Block - dynamic XML from a third-party server (e.g. RSS feed)

               (For more information on each type of block, please see each block’s individual page)

Concept

Types of Blocks

Index Block

block An Index Block is a special type of block asset that returns a listing of assets from the CMS directory structure in the form of XML data. Assets such as pages, files, folders, external links, and even other blocks can be returned as XML content that describe them. An index block can even return the data content of multiple pages within a directory for use on other pages within the system.

In Cascade Server, Index Blocks are typically used for creating dynamic navigation menus, site maps, indices, etc.

Because Index Blocks can be configured to index an entire site or a specific folder, the way you configure Index Blocks in your system will vary depending on your needs and specifications.  You can choose to create Index Blocks that are limited by either the number of assets in a given folder, or by the number/depth of folders to index. To ensure dynamic and consistent content across your site, any time content relevant to that Index Block in the system changes (a page is added, deleted, renamed, moved, etc.), the index block automatically updates, and all pages using the index block are also updated.

Any time the data content in the system changes (a page is added, deleted, renamed, moved, etc.), the index block automatically updates, and all pages using the index block are also updated.

An XSLT stylesheet can be applied to the XML data of an index block, which allows for HTML elements such as dynamic navigation toolbars or page listings to be created on pages throughout an entire site automatically. Examples of dynamic navigation include main menus, sub menus, breadcrumbs, previous/next links, site maps, and site indices. The powerful combination of the automatically populated XML data inside of index blocks and XSLT stylesheets provides unparalleled ease of use with managing large sites.

Text Block

block Text blocks are basic blocks of content that can be reused throughout a site much like an XHTML block. Text blocks are not as widely used as their XHTML counterpart is, because text blocks lack the standard WYSIWYG editor contained inside of XHTML blocks that allow for the creation of rich content with images, links, and standard text formatting options.

More often, an XHTML block will be the desired solution; however, there are appropriate times to make use of a text block instead of an XHTML block. These less likely circumstances involve blocks of content where an administrator desires the user to enter plain text only, without any formatting or images. In this case, a text block is the appropriate solution for the content region. The administrator can then style the text block with an XSLT stylesheet. Like all blocks, a text block may be attached to a template, configuration set, or page, and may be reused across multiple pages. A single change to the text block will be present across all pages of the site that make use of the block.

XML Block

block An XML block is a reusable piece of content stored as well-formed XML. XML blocks are particularly useful when there is a large amount of XML that must be styled and included on one or more pages of a site. Once the block is created, it can be assigned to a page region in a template, configuration set, or page, and, if desired, styled with an XSL Stylesheet. A single change to one of these blocks will be present across all pages of the site that make use of the block.

XHTML Block

block An XHTML block is a reusable block of content that provides a rich WYSIWYG interface for editing content. Unlike the text block counterpart, an XHTML block allows for a wide range of HTML elements to be created inside of its editing environment extending to items such as images, links, tables, and bullet points in addition to other standard text formatting.

XHTML blocks are particularly useful for fixed regions of content such as headers and footers that need to stay constant among all pages within the site. A single change to one of these blocks will be present across all pages of the site that make use of the block. The basic level of modularity improves the scalability of the website in addition to allowing for easier "quick edits" that cannot be easily performed if the content were to remain in the body of the overall template.

XML Feed Block

block An XML Feed Block is a block whose XML content is pulled from a web location. This can be useful when aggregating outside RSS links, or receiving output from dynamic scripts or web applications that produce XML. This is the main method by which Cascade allows external content to come into the system and be used dynamically within system pages.

This block has one parameter, the feed URL, which is the location that will respond with an XML document. Cascade Server will then take that XML content and populate the block with it. The block can then be styled using an XSL stylesheet and included in a page region just like any other block in the system.

Technical

Creating New Default Blocks


To create a new default block in Cascade, navigate to New -> Default -> Block and select the type of block you’d like to create.

newdefaultmenubl

Creating Index Blocks

In Cascade Server, Index Blocks are typically used for creating dynamic navigation menus, site maps, indices, etc.

Index blocks may be configured to index an entire site or a specific folder. An Index Block can be limited by the number of assets to index or by the depth folders that must be indexed. They can also be configured to index parent and/or child folders relative to a specific location. Thus, as an Administrator or Manager, the way you set up Index Blocks in your Cascade system will vary depending on what methods best suit your organization's needs.

Any time the data content in the system changes (a page is added, deleted, renamed, moved, etc.), the index block automatically updates, and all pages using the index block are also updated.

To create an index block:

  1. In the Home area, select New -> Default -> Block.

newindexbl

  1. Select the type of block you are creating. In this case, it will be an Index Block.
  2. On the Content pane:
  3. Index Folder - Select the folder you wish to index. If you want the block to index nested folders, simply select the highest folder.
  4. Depth of Index - If you only want one folder indexed, type in 1. If there are nested (or child) folders that you wish to include, type in the number of levels you want. If you are indexing all levels, but aren't sure how many there are, it is ok to overshoot (i.e. type in 100).
  5. Max Rendered Assets - Determine how many assets you wish to be rendered. Limiting this number is useful when you want to return only the most recent pages, for example.
  6. Indexed Asset Types - This allows you to limit the types of assets. For most navigation features, only pages and links need to be indexed.
  7. Rendering Behavior - This field has a great deal of impact on the structure of the rendered XML. It is important to choose a type of rendering behavior that is best suited to the purpose of a particular index block.
    - Render normally, starting at the indexed folder - This is the most common option and allows one to preview the rendered block XML in most cases when viewing the index block itself. This option renders data starting at the "Index Folder", and renders its children forward at a depth specified in the "Depth of Index" field. Subfolders will be included in the render, along with their children, to the extent to which the depth of index will allow.
    - Start at the current page and include its folder hierarchy - One may think of this as a backwards render. This rendering option depends on a current page context. That is, that this option requires that the index block be rendered in a region of a page (it is for this reason that you may not see XML in the "view" of an index block asset in Cascade Server). The rendering will start at the current page, render it, and then proceed to render each parent folder until the base folder is rendered. These index blocks tend to be rather small, and are well-suited for breadcrumb navigation generation.
    - Start at the current page with folder hierarchy, and also include siblings - This option is like the "Start at the current page and include its folder hierarchy" option, except that for each parent folder asset rendered, it will also render that folder's children as well. For example, when rendering with his option, the renderer will start at the current page and render all of the siblings of that page, including the page itself. It will then render the parent
    folder and all of its siblings, repeating until the base folder is rendered. Note that this option will not continue to render sibling folders as the parent folder hierarchy is traversed.
    - Start at the current page with folder hierarchy, siblings, and also render forward - This option expands on the "Start at the current page with folder hierarchy, and also include siblings" rendering option, but also includes rendering the siblings of the current page, exactly the same way that the normal rendering option would render the current page's parent folder. This option is in effect, a combination of the "Render normally, starting at the indexed folder" and the "Start at the current page with folder hierarchy, and also include siblings" options.
  8. Page XML - This field controls how page XML is rendered inline during an index block render. The options are explained below:
    - Do not render page XML inline - This option will not include any XHTML or structured data content for any page that is included in the index block render.
    - Render page XML inline - Default page region content will be included for any page that is included in the index block render. For XHTML pages, it will be the XHTML / WYSIWYG content that one typically edits in the page. For structured data pages, it will be the rendered structured data XML. Note that for structured data pages, this XML will not have any XSLT applied to it.
    - Render page XML inline only for current page - This is exactly like the "Render page XML inline" option, but only the current page is rendered in this manner. All other pages that are included in the index block render will not have the default page content included for those pages in the resulting document.
    - In general, rendering inline page content will increase the size of the index block and will increase the amount of time needed to render the index block.It's recommended that this option only be used if necessary.
    - Note that the "Regular Content" checkbox must be checked in order to render page XML.
  9. Block XML - This field controls how block XML is rendered inline during an index block render. The options are explained below:
    - Do not render block XML inline - This is the default and does not render any block content inline.
    - Render XHTML, XML, and text block XML inline - This option will render inline the contents of any XHTML, XML, or text blocks in the overall document.
    - Note that the "Regular Content" checkbox must be checked in order to render block XML.
  10. Indexed Asset Content - This allows you to determine what information is included in results. These results may be styled or filtered via the XSL stylesheet.
  11. Other Indexed Information - These options are useful for internal reports.
  12. Sort Method - This determines the order in which assets are rendered.
  13. On the Metadata pane:
    Enter the desired metadata values.
  14. On the System pane:
    Name - It's most useful to name index blocks according to their purpose (the folder they index) and where they will be used (page region).
    Parent Folder - This is where your index block will be stored. It's most useful to store index blocks in a central or common location.

  15. Click Submit to save your new index block.

Index blocks may be edited or deleted by selecting the block and choosing the appropriate tab. If you have a large index block that doesn't change very often, we recommend copying the XML output of the Index Block into a standard XML Block for performance purposes.

Creating Text Blocks

Text Blocks are used when there is a need to reuse plain text content. Because Text blocks lack the WYSIWYG capabilities of XHTML blocks, they can be formatted in a number of ways by adding different XSL stylesheets.

To create a text block:

  1. In the Home area, select New -> Default -> Block.
  2. Select the Text Block radio button from the list available and click Submit.
  3. On the Content pane:

Enter any plain text desired.

  1. On the Metadata pane:

Enter any Metadata desired.

  1. On the System pane:
    Name - Type in the name of your new block.
    Parent Folder - This is where the block will be stored. It's most useful to store blocks in a central or common location.
  2. Click Submit to save your block.

newtextblock

Creating XML Blocks

An XML block is a reusable piece of content stored as well-formed XML. XML blocks are particularly useful when there is a large amount of XML that must be styled and included on one or more pages of a site.

To create an XML block:

  1. In the Home area, select New ->Default -> Block.

  2. Select the type of block you are creating. In this case, it will be XML Block.
  3. On the Content pane:
    Enter any XML desired.
  1. On the Metadata pane:
    Enter any Metadata desired.
  2. On the System pane:
    Name - Type in the name of your new block.

Parent Folder - This is where the block will be stored. It's most useful to store blocks in a central or common location.

  1. Click Submit to save your block.

newxmlbl

XML blocks may be edited or deleted by selecting the block and choosing the appropriate tab.

Creating XHTML Blocks

An XHTML Block is a great way to reuse content across multiple pages.

To create an XHTML Block:

  1. In the Home Area, select New -> Default -> Block.

  2. Select the type of block you wish to create. In this case, it will be XHTML Block.
  3. On the Content pane:
    Enter your content in the WYSIWYG editor just as you would on a page.
  4. On the Metadata pane:
    Enter any Metadata desired.
  5. On the System pane:
    Name - Type in the name of your new block.
    Parent Folder - This is where the block will be stored. It's most useful to store blocks in a central or common location.
  6. Click Submit to save your block.

newxhtmlbl

XHTML blocks may be edited or deleted by selecting the block and choosing the appropriate tab.

Creating XML Feed Blocks

An XML Feed Block is a block whose XML content is pulled from a web location. This can be useful when aggregating outside RSS links or receiving output from dynamic scripts or web applications that produce XML.

To create an XML Feed block:

  1. In the Home area, select New -> Default -> Block.

  2. Select the type of block you are creating. In this case, it will be Feed Block.

  3. On the Content pane:
    Type the URL of the feed you wish to use.
  1. On the Metadata pane:
    Enter any Metadata desired.
  2. On the System pane:
    Name - Type in the name of your new block.
    Parent Folder - This is where the block will be stored. It's most useful to store blocks in a central or common location.
  3. Click Submit to save your block.

newfeedbl

XML feed blocks may be edited or deleted by selecting the block and choosing the appropriate tab.

Cross-Site Relationships

For information on Cross-Site relationships for Blocks, check out our Cross-Site relationship rules page.

FAQs

  • Can I call a <system-region> from a block/stylesheet?

Related Links

Related Videos