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Issue 061 - Jul 9, 2007



1. Article Manager Subscriptions - Get your first month for only $4.95
Article Manager Subscriptions - Get your first month for only $4.95 That's right, this is not a mistake. For a very limited time you can get your first month of your Article Manager subscription for only $4.95. Buy now and save a huge $35 during your first month, a great way to minimize your up-front costs, leaving you a bigger budget for the rest of your website needs.
Also, at only $4.95 for your first month, this is the perfect opportunity if you have price sensitive clients or would like to get up-and-running on a minimum budget.

And to make it even easier for you to get started, your subscription includes a free installation, a $19.95 value.

If Article Manager's full price was holding you back from having your very own article driven site, price is no longer an excuse, you can get started today for an initial payment of only $4.95.
2. Priority Consulting - Now's the time
Priority Consulting - Now's the time A lot of people have been enjoying the summer, especially with Independence Day and Canada Day. As is normal for this time of year, this gives our consulting team a bit of a lull before it starts to pick up again to hit full-speed in August. This means it's the perfect time to get started on your project.

Priority Consulting is perfect if you're in a rush, need that expert assistance, or would rather have us take care of your current project for you. Whether you want Realty Manager or Article Manager running a new design, want to set up all of your pages to use Page Publisher, or just need a few tweaks to get things *just right*, we can help. No project is too small.

Below you'll find two recently completed projects that will give you an idea of the type of work we do. If you have a project that you would like to get started on please be sure to let us know. :)

JW Properties - Realty Manager Bundle JW Properties - Realty Manager Bundle
This was a Realty Manager bundle that Ross set up using the same template found on the Realty Manager Online Demo. You can see the colors were changed, but the overall layout is very much the same. For only $995.95 you too can have a Realty Manager Bundle which gets you your very own professionally designed site powered by Realty Manager.

"I would recommend interactive tools and their program 'Realty Manager' to anyone - the program is excellent and does everything that an estate / lettings agent could need to get there website up and running with the latest available properties, using a simple interface that works beautifully.

Having also employed interactive tools to integrate Realty Manager into my client website I can safely say that these guys know what they are doing! Communication has been excellent and the end result is something that both myself and my client can be proud of.

A big thumbs up and a thank you to interactive tools for their efforts and the quality of service me and my client have received"
-- Darren Wood, jwproperties.co.uk


Solo-E.com - Article Manager Upgrade Solo-E.com - Article Manager Upgrade
Many customers have opted for us to do their Article Manager 1 to Article Manager 2 upgrades for them. Terri from Solo-E had a highly customized Article Manager 1 design and wanted to make sure it was done just right. By contacting Priority Consulting she was able to get her site moved from Article Manager 1 to Article Manager 2 without any hiccups. If you want to take advantage of all of the powerful features of Article Manager 2 and want to make sure your transition from version 1 to 2 doesn't cause any interruptions on your site, email or give us a call and we can get you started right away.

"Interactive Tools Priority Consulting was a lifesaver! I have a large and somewhat complex site, powered by Article Manager. When it came time to upgrade to AM2, I turned to Priority Consulting for assistance with templates, etc. They gave me a quote, kept in constant communication with me, answered all my questions and made the entire upgrade experience painless. Plus -- they are just the nicest people to work with! I highly recommend their services." -- Terri Zwierzynski, http://www.Solo-E.com


Please feel free to read more about Priority Consulting and see other featured clients who have made use this service in the past. When you're ready to get started, let us know what you need for your next project (toll free: 1-800-752-0455) and we'll take care of the rest! :)
3. Coach's Corner - Featured Articles with Article Manager
Coach's Corner - Featured Articles with Article Manager Hi Everybody,

I haven't written a Coach's Corner entry in what feels like ages (though it's actually only been a couple of months) and I'm sure you've been waiting eagerly to hear from me (wishful thinking perhaps :). Either way, I'm back from my European vacation and I thought I'd take a minute or two to talk about a great feature of Article Manager that I think everyone should be making use of.

Displaying a "Featured" or "Top" story on your site's index page is something I've talked about before but I've set it up so many times through Priority Consulting I figured it deserved another mention. Setting up one "splash" article with a larger headline and image is an excellent way to highlight a special item of news or information for visitors to your site.

We can set up a Top Story for your index page for just 1 or 2 hours of Priority Consulting. Just send an email to me at consulting@interactivetools.com and we can it started for you. We can often wrap up something like this within a day or two.

If you'd rather go "under the hood", you can follow the steps in this tutorial for setting up this feature yourself.

Cheers,
Mike "Coach" Briggs
4. Article Manager: Adding fields to your database and templates - by Donna Brown
Article Manager: Adding fields to your database and templates - by
Donna BrownDatabase fields are what makes your articles happen. The default title, summary, content, author, image uploading, and everything else you see on the "Create Article" page are all database fields that have been pre-set for you, and will cover most websites. But what if you want something new? Maybe you want a field for "issue number". Or maybe you want an image that shows up in the same place every time, like a summary image. Or maybe you want a dropdown field so that you can attach a specific value to each article. The sky's the limit!

Field Types

There are effectively 6 types of fields you have to work with. They are:

  1. Text Field: This is a single line field allowing you to enter a small amount of text. A text field is what's used for the author and title fields by default. Useful for cases where you want your writers to be able to enter a short bit of freehand text.

  2. Text Box: A text box is a multi-line field, like the summary & content field. It can either be plain text, or WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) formatted.

  3. Date/Time: A field specially formatted to allow you to enter a specific date. There's already a date field by default, but say your articles are event-based. You could easily create a date field that would allow you to select the date of your event from an easy dropdown list of possible months/days/years.

  4. List: A list is a pre-defined set of values. This is really handy when you have preset options. For example, if you want your articles to list one of five cities on your articles, you could easily add those five cities to the dropdown list and allow your writers to select one (or more than one, if you want!) This is really handy when you want the output to be uniform all the way across, with spelling & format exactly the same.

  5. Checkbox: This is a simple Yes/No or True/False field. You can use this to display certain text on articles that you've checked, or use it to sort certain articles to the top or bottom of the list. The "Featured" checkbox available by default uses this feature.

  6. Upload: Upload fields allow you to upload files to your article. This is used for embedding images right into your articles, attaching documents, creating an image gallery, uploading video... whatever you set it up to do! You can pre-configure Article Manager to allow whatever types of files you want.

There's also "Custom", with a set of pre-defined types, but those are almost always used for very specific, internal uses -- so we'll skip that for this tutorial.

This tutorial is going to go over how to add specific fields. You can follow the instructions exactly to get the same results, or run with them and setup fields that work for your site. I won't be able to go over every single option available in this tutorial (you'd still be reading this by the time the next newsletter came out!) but we'll cover some of the more common uses, including what to do with them once you've got these nifty new fields and want to have them show up on your articles.

How to add the field in the Admin program

1. Add your field.
To add your new field, you'll want to log into the back end of Article Manager, then click "Admin Menu", and choose "Database Editor". From here, choose "Edit table & fields" from the table you want to modify. For this example, we'll stick with Articles, which is what you'll almost always be working with. Any changes to these fields will show up on the "Create/Edit Article" page.

Now you'll find yourself in the Table Editor, and you'll have a list of the existing fields already there. To add a new field, scroll down to the bottom and click "Add Field".

2. Set up the basic field options.
For this example, we're going to add a dropdown list of colours. This will allow your writers to select one of 5 colours from a pre-defined list.

The "Field Label" is the "user-friendly" name of this field. It'll be what shows up on your Create Article page, and is an easy descriptor of what this field actually is. I've called mine "Colour". Then, add a field name. This will be used as the placeholder -- how you'll refer to it in the templates. For this example, I'm also going to use "colour" -- but it doesn't need to be the same as the field label.

Then, on the Field Type, I'm going to choose "list", and leave the attributes alone.

3. Set up the advanced field options
First, you'll choose how the field is stored. This depends on what sort of data you're saving. If it's numerical only, you would choose integer. For a short item, you would choose string, and for everything else, you can leave it as memo.

Now, we get to select the options specific to this type of field. For a "list" field, we have a display option of "Single Choice" or "Multiple Choice". A single choice field will only allow you to select one option at a time when entering data into this field, whereas a multiple choice will give you a type of field that allows you to select more than one option.

Under "Single Choice", you then have a few more options: A pulldown menu, a listbox, or radio buttons.

Pulldown menu:

A listbox (with 4 rows):

Or radio buttons:

Blue
Green
Red
Orange
Yellow

Or, if you want multiple choices, you have two options::

A listbox:

Or checkboxes:

Blue
Green
Red
Orange
Yellow

4. Enter the List Items themselves.
Here you can enter both the "Label" and the "Value". These will generally be the same for most uses (and the "Value" will even pre-populate itself with whatever you enter in the Label). The Label is what will appear for that option in the Article Editor, while the Value is what will be stored when that option is chosen. Don't forget to hit "Add Item" for each entry. A new field will automatically be created below so that you can continue to add more. If you need to reorganize them, use the UP | DN buttons. Or if you want to get rid of one, you can remove it.

You can also choose one of your options to be the default value, the one that is chosen by default for new articles. So if most of your articles will have "Blue" selected, help out your writers by pre-selecting "Blue". They can always change it, but it saves a few seconds for those who don't need to. Or, if you want it to default to nothing, you can leave that blank.

The next option available is a little more advanced. This allows you to enter some custom HTML that will be displayed on the page. You'll probably want to avoid using this on a dropdown list, as the code can get pretty complicated. Generally, this would be used to add descriptive or instructional details, but is best used with text fields. With a text field, you can simply leave the default code, and add your own HTML around it.

Finally, you can require that there be something in this field and that users cannot leave it blank, or you can require that it be unique (not recommended for a list, as you've only got so many options!) Finally, click save, and your field now exists.

5. Re-sort the field.
When it's first created, your field will be tagged onto the very end of the list. You can move it up by changing the number in the "order" column. If you want it to show up between the Date and the Author, you might enter 195 -- or whatever corresponds to your field list. Article Manager will automatically re-order the fields when you save.

And that's it! You now have a field that appears on your Create/Edit Article page allowing you to select from a predefined list of options.

But now... you want to DO something with this data! The next step is...

Adding the output of your field to your templates

In my example, I added a list of colors, and allowed the user to select one from a regular pulldown menu. You can really display this however you want on an article -- if you just want the word(s) you selected to show up on the article page, just put the placeholder on your Article Page template (the default is the articlePages/articlePage.html template) in the spot you want it to appear. Since my field name was "colour", my placeholder will be: $article.colour$. The first part of the placeholder is pulled from which table you added this to. If you had added it to the category table, you'd need to use $category.colour$.

One fun thing you can do with a dropdown list like mine is use it in the code as well -- so the end user reading your site never knows it's there. Say I have a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) with a class entry that corresponds with each option. With this dropdown menu, I could allow my writers to choose what class to select for a certain element. Say your article template has something like this:

<div class="Blue">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.</div>

Change it to this:

<div class="$article.colour$">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.</div>

...and now, that class is set to whatever you and your writers choose when you create an article.

This placeholder will also work in category list templates, within the articleRow templatecell. So, maybe you've used this dropdown list (with the field name "source") to create a list of specific sources for your articles, and you want this to appear just before your summary. With the default templates, you'd find this bit:

<div class="content">

$article.summary$
</div>

and change it to:

<div class="content">
$article.source$ - $article.summary$
</div>

The final result would be something like this:

Associated Press - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

In conclusion...

This tutorial just goes over one possibility out of literally thousands of different configurations. There are many, many different ways you can choose to create and display information, and Article Manager is really designed to help you do it in the way that makes the most sense to you, rather than being forced to use your data in a specific format. Play around with it! Try out some new things -- add a new field, select a few options, and see what happens. Article Manager allows you to customize what comes out of it right down to the tiniest detail -- take advantage of it!

Trying to do something particularly tricky? Contact our support department -- we love stuff like that. We're happy to help you get your extra database fields tweaked exactly the way you want, in a way that's going to make your life easier. That, after all, is what content management software is for. :)
5. Developer Resources
Developer Resources Here are a couple of useful resources for web developers and designers. Send me an email with YOUR favourite resources - I might be able to feature them in a future newsletter.
30 free HTML email templates to get you started
If you're looking for a new HTML template for your email campaigns, Campaign Monitor has created a set of 30 free HTML email templates, tested to work in the most popular email clients: Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Apple Mail, and many more.

Customer Focus Calculator - We We Monitor
As proud as you may be of your company and your product or service, your focus has to be on your customer and how well you can help them meet their wants and needs. This calculator help you identify how much focus the pages on your website place on your customers.
6. Article Manager 2.15 Available Now
Article Manager 2.15 Available Now A new version of Article Manager has just been released with a setting that allows your Users to enter Server Side Includes directly into the content of your articles. This is perfect if you have specific content you want output in the center of your article that's pulled in using an SSI.

If you do decide to make use of this feature, you'll want to make sure you're familiar and trust each of your users. If you have content contributors adding content to Article Manager, but you haven't "screened" them or verified them trustworthy, they could use an SSI tag to include potentially disruptive content.

If you're the only user on your Article Manager site, or you trust all of your Users, making use of this feature won't be a problem.

To upgrade to the latest version of Article Manager please visit our upgrade page.

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