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Issue 056 - Apr 10, 2007

1. Article Manager: add "article comments" for just $50 (ends April 25th)
Want comments for your articles? Only until April 25th you can save $25 and get this Priority Consulting service for only $50.00 (regular price $75.00)! Get started now by placing an order for consulting. On the second order page in the comments field enter "Article Manager Comments". We'll adjust the price to $50 for you. Questions? Send an email or call us toll free (1-800-752-0455).

What's the buzz on Article Manager 2.1? When I was asked to submit my first newsletter article, I started thinking, what do people like? And how can we make it really easy to use? The clear answer is comments.

So how can our Article Manager users easily have one of the many comments scripts available on the internet integrated into an Article Manager powered website? I began searching the web to find the best solution. The script I had pictured would provide ease of use with solid security features. After a few not so successful attempts, I managed to find a great comments script! And what's more, with a bit of extra effort I could make it really secure (i.e. spam-resistant) as well.

So with a little work we've come up with a handy Priority Consulting add-on service that will allow your website visitors to post comments on you articles. As administrator, you'll have access to some very useful features which include:

  • A comments admin panel (external to Article Manager's admin section)
  • Comment e-mail notification
  • IP banning
  • HTML stripped commenting
  • Spam protection
  • Flood protection
  • Easy language integration
You'll need to have Article Manager configured in a couple of specific ways to use this:
  • Use of a MySQL database (if you're already using one with Article Manager the comments script can use this one).
  • Your published articles will need to use .php file extensions.
This add-on service is one of the many things that our Priority Consulting department is able to set-up for you. In fact, just until April 25th you can save $25 and get this add-on service for only $50.00 (regular price $75.00)! This means that for only $50.00 you'll have comments to create some community around your articles and draw your users back again and again.

Want comments for your articles? Place an order for consulting and on the second order page in the comments field enter "Article Manager Comments". We'll adjust the price to $50 for you. You can also Send an email or call us toll free (1-800-752-0455). :)

Chet Woodside
2. Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days is not enough
Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days is not enough Your web projects take time, and integrating your web software is just a small part of it. You have to design a top-notch template, train your client, create perfect navigation, and so much more - not to mention those dozen "one more thing" edits you have to do. So if you need that time, why are so many web software companies only giving you a 30-day money back guarantee?

If you've come across web software with a 30-day refund period, they simply aren't offering you enough (and even less if it comes with special restrictions). I can't help but feel that they're thinking that the sooner it expires, the better, to lure you with the security of a guarantee. Since you don't have enough time to really evaluate the product, by the time you have, you're way out of the refund period.

Let's be realistic, you might buy a product for your client, and after several serious design changes (you know how it goes!), well over 30 days has passed. After 30 days your client is just beginning to use the product, and seeing if it was the right fit for them. Do you want to be stuck with a product you don't need?

We don't just want you to use our software, we want you to love it. We're confident you'll find any of our products to be the perfect match...so confident that we'll give you a total of 90 days to try it risk free. That gives you plenty of time to see if Article Manager, Listings Manager, or any one of our other products really are what you (or your client) need. And even if you love the software, sometimes the project just changes gears too much (like Tamara, below). That's okay, too; we'll give you a full refund for ANY reason.

We'll help you every step of the way, making sure the software works with your site just the way you want it, and our free technical support will help you to get your project off the ground. If you find that you are one of the few who's changed their mind, then just request a full refund - No Questions Asked!

Just to show you how proud we are to stand by this guarantee, here's some feedback from some past refundees. :)

"Thank you for prompt refund, with no hassles. I will always come back in the future for further products and thank you for your assistance. I would recommend anyone to do business with your company."

Ajaz Hussain
United Kingdom

"I ordered Article Manager from Interactive Tools for use on a client's web site. The support team was very prompt about installing it, and I found the software easy to use. I was very happy! But then the project I was working on got cancelled. Even though it had been 2 months since I ordered it, Interactive Tools was wonderful about refunding me for the software. The return was just as easy and straight-forward as the ordering."

Tamara Leer

"What an amazing company! We did extensive testing and had superb support from interactive during this time. We love the software! We just found that many of our requirements were well outside the scope of solution that AM provides. I am actually amazed that a software company really does give you a hassle free refund! And when I say hassle free, I mean just that."

Chris Tschida
New Zealand

"I don't think the return could have been handled better. Your system seemed both professional and streamlined. The only reason why I returned the product was that it didn't fit our system. I wouldn't hesitate before buying products from you again..."

Erik Windahl Olsen

"... the return process was great. It was short and easy to do. I was refunded promptly and appreciated the friendliness of your phone staff. I realize that you are giving out programs and that it is probably difficult to do returns that are based on the honor system. I appreciated the low hassle way of returning the product and I appreciate that I was not forced to keep it when it genuinely did not work for our needs the way I had expected."

Sadie Welsh

"I had no problems at all with the return process... I do feel your products are very good and you are professional in the way you present and deliver your products."

Bill Daniel

Give us a call (toll free 1-800-752-0455), send us an email, check out our products, and find what's right for your next project, you won't be disappointed.
3. Ask Donna - Customizing categories in Article Manager
Ask Donna - Customizing categories in Article Manager "Hi Donna,

How do I setup Article Manager 2 to have a different look for each category?

- Templated."

Dear Templated,

There are actually three methods for doing this, depending on what you want to change, and how you want to update it! You can use a templateIf for little changes, a custom field in the category editor for uniform changes across all categories that can be dynamically updated through the admin interface, or for really big changes, you can use an entirely new template & publish rule. I'll be going over all three methods.

First Method: templateIf's
The first method we'll go over is using a templateIf statement to pull in different content for a specific category. This method is perfect if you want to have a different stylesheet (see example below) or unique introductory paragraph for one of your categories but not others.

Here's what you need to do:

<!-- templateIf: $categoryNumber$ = "1" -->
 <link rel="stylesheet" href="$settings.webfolder_url$style/stylesheet1.css" type="text/css" />
<!-- /templateIf -->

<!-- templateIf: $categoryNumber$ != "1" -->
 <link rel="stylesheet" href="$settings.webfolder_url$style/stylesheet2.css" type="text/css" />
<!-- /templateIf -->

The first statement says "if the category we're in right now is category number 1, use stylesheet1.css. The second statement says, "if the category we're in right now is NOT number 1, use stylesheet2.css."

You can do all sorts of different things with this, and designate plenty of different content on a per-category basis. However, you don't want to have too many templateIf's in one template, as it does take a little longer to publish when you add a lot of them.

Second Method: New Category Field
While the first method is perfect for having a unique opening paragraph or different stylesheet for just one category, if you wanted to have an opening paragraph or unique category image on every category, a better method would instead be to use a specific category field, then add a placeholder into the template where you want it to appear.

This brings us to method two: Adding a custom field in the category editor. To do this, follow these steps:
  • Go into the Admin section, and choose Database Editor.
  • Click "edit table & fields" for the category database.
  • Click "Add Field". Give it a label (ie, "Category Description") and a name (for this example we'll use description, which will be used for the placeholder.)
  • Choose the type of field you want to use. For the "category description" example, you'd want to choose "text box".
Set any other fields as necessary, or leave them as the defaults, then click save.

Now, when you add or edit any category, you'll see a new text box where you can enter in any text that you'd like. You can use this to write an introduction, or anything else you might want! Once you've got the field created, you'll then want to add it to your category index template. To do this, open the articleLists/categoryIndex.html template, and find the place where you want your category description to appear. Then, add in this placeholder: $category.description$

Save, republish your files, and your category description will now appear on your category indexes.

Third Method: New Template, New Publish Rule
But say you don't want a few little differences here and there. Say you want an entirely different layout, look, and feel. At this point, you'll want to pull out the big guns: An entirely new template, with an entirely new publish rule.

A good example would be if you have a Sports category that you want to look completely different from your Business News category.

To use this method you'll want to first create a new template. What I like to do is make a duplicate of the existing categoryIndex.html template, then modify it to suit my needs. This way, I know I've got all of the required Article Manager code, but I can still modify it to look however I want.

Once the template is created, you'll want to create a new publish rule. But before we can do that, we have to tell the current one to stop publishing category indexes for this category. Take these steps:
  • Go to your Admin section, then choose "Publishing".
  • Click "Modify" on the "Category Indexes" rule.
  • Scroll down to the very bottom, and in the Category Filter, select "Exclude"
  • Choose the categories that will be using the new publish rule and select them from the list.
  • In the bottom left corner, you'll see a dropdown list that says "Copy Rule (save changes)". Click "Go".
You'll now be modifying a duplicate of the existing category index.

On the duplicate, change the name & description, and select your new template from the dropdown list. Then, scroll to the very bottom and change the category filter to "Include", and make sure the specific category is still selected.

Note: It's very important that you don't have two publish rules trying to create the same file, so make sure that your category filters are set on both so that only one file is being created for each category.

You can do this as many times as you need -- if you want to have a separate publish rule for each category, go ahead! You can also change the sort order, the default publishing directory, how many results you get on each page... whatever you'd like! It's totally up to you.

Having trouble? Sometimes modifying templates can be a little confusing, so we're happy to give you a hand! Feel free to fill out a support request or have us do the work for you through priority consulting.

Until next time,

Want to Ask Donna? Email me directly at donna@interactivetools.com.
4. Ross Report - Article Manager: Fun with Images (part 2)
Ross Report - Article Manager: Fun with Images (part 2) Hi again Everyone!

What did you all think of my last report on images? Hopefully you all found it useful.

So we are going to be diving back into images again. After this Ross Report, you should all be experts on images. Now, the most important thing to keep in mind is all these new tutorials are really just the tip of the iceberg. If you are ever going through something here and you think to yourself "that was neat but I wish it could do this other thing instead". Chances are, you'll be able to tweak the tutorial to do just about anything, so feel free to drop us a line with what you are aiming for.

Now, let's get back to those images :).

Summary Images
This tutorial goes over how you can have an image show up next to your article summaries on article index pages. We'll call it "Summary Images". This is going to involve a single file upload field which is something we covered in the last report.

RSS Images
The second tutorial will go over how to get images appearing in your RSS feed properly. By default, images in your RSS feed will end up getting displayed with table tags and all that fun stuff. This usually leads to validation trouble as RSS is fairly picky about the code. The tutorial here will go over how to fix that up.

And that's going to be it for this report. Check out the new tutorials and we'll close out the chapter on images next time with a fancy image gallery tutorial. :).


5. Developer Resources
Developer Resources Here are some more useful resources for web developers and designers. Send me an email with YOUR favourite resources and perhaps I can feature them in future newsletters.
Landing Page Optimization Tool from Google
Free for AdWords advertisers, Website Optimizer helps online marketers increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction by testing different combinations of site content. For example, you can try one headline versus another and see which produces more sales.

10 Tips for Building a Better Web Site
Making web sites involves three very different kinds of skills — technical, visual, and editorial — and all three must work together, which is why it can be so difficult. These 10 tips explain how to get these three skills to work together.

Form field hints with CSS and JavaScript
A basic example of how helpful a little JavaScript and CSS can be in a form. Instead of the field hints always showing and potentially cluttering a very simple web form, you can set up your forms so only the currently selected field displays a hint.

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