I'm sure we can all remember our favorite movie growing up and recall some of the more famous lines from them. My favorite type of movies growing up (ok, I confess... and still today) were musicals! I'd watch them over and over again. I couldn't get enough of Oklahoma!, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Calamity Jane, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, Hello Dolly!, Mary Poppins...you name it... I love them all!
So, naturally, when "Posts" became the official name of our newest module, my mind immediately turned to the Mary Poppins' quote, "Posts everyone!..." But, when I hollered "Posts, everyone!" in one of our many development meetings, I was left alone to feel the effects of my childhood, especially that of not watching more Sci-Fi movies.
But, I've digressed a little from the topic I wish to discuss: Finalsite Posts!
In just a few more days, you will see our new Posts module under your list of modules in your Composer site. Finalsite Posts is our first "Composer Only" module, meaning that it is not available to schools on our other platforms, like Page Manager, SchoolSuite, or School Website.
Wait, NO! I Love News Manager!
Posts is a wonderful module in which we anticipate schools using it as a way of posting school news, dynamic content, or even constituent blogs. You might be saying to yourself, "I already use News Manager for that." Great! We love that! And don't worry...Finaliste will not be forcing you to use Posts when it is first released.
News Manager isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but we encourage you to get your feet wet, and use Posts for a simple "Head of School Blog" or "Alumni News," for example.
I know change is hard...but I believe that as you start to use Posts, you'll also fall in love with the module's ease of use and its flexible page display options like I have.
With Posts, you'll have...
This new module has a few extra organizational features to it as well. If we take it to it's very core, we have the ability to create a "post". This is just that. A simple posting of content that includes a title and publish date. You can also beef it up a little more and add a thumbnail image, summary, feature the post until a specific date and time, etc.
This post would then live inside a "board". A board is just a grouping of posts. You might have a board titled "Head of School Blog" or perhaps "Alumni Notes & Networking" or even better "A Day in the Life of Janey Richardson, Class of 2017".
Now, as you continue to write more and more posts for your board you're going to want to be able to organize those posts into larger topics, or "categories". Categories are meant for the broad grouping of posts. If you relate your board to a book, the categories would the board's "Table of Contents". It's important to note that categories are board specific, so each board gets their own set of categories.
But, let's take this organization a little further by adding "tags" to the mix. A tag allows your to organize your posts like you would the keywords of a book in an "Index". Tags are meant to describe the specific details of your posts. Tags differ from categories as well since they are not board specific, but instead can be used on any board on your site.
Finalsite Posts Webinar Download
SMARTER DYNAMIC CONTENT
Like most of Finalsite modules, the content is entered in the module—devoid of any site design constraints--and then, pulled into the site's pages via elements. With the release of Posts, you will see three new elements in the Element Library: Boards, Posts, and Post Tools.
The Boards element will allow you to show a group of boards, including the name, thumbnail, board description, and/or the last date and time the board has a post added to it.
The Post element gives the Site Admin leverage over how the actual posts of a board will display on the page. Will it be in a list or grid? Perhaps there should be a thumbnail showing on the page? The settings you are used to seeing and setting up with the News element will be available for you in the Post element.
The Post Tools element, when added to a page, gives the site visitor the ability to filter posts based on the categories or tags being displayed.
The introduction of the "External Redirect URL" field in Finalsite Posts helps it to differentiate itself even more from News Manager, and it has been a well requested feature by our schools! By populating this field in the post, the title of the post (when displaying on a site page) will redirect site visitors to the URL that was entered.
For example, let's say that your basketball team just won the state championship game, and the local news station was there covering it. Instead of creating a post where the only thing in the body is a link over to the local news station's article, now grab that article's URL and enter it in the "External Redirect URL" field. Users will see and click on your "Basketball Wins State Championship" post title, and then be taken to the local news station's article. It's that simple.
My second top favorite feature that Finalsite Posts has to offer: permissions. When we look at the Site Admin permissions, there's only one checkbox. This Site Admin checkbox is an "all or nothing" type of permissions level. If you have an admin account, and your Site Admin User group has been given rights to "Posts", then you'll have access to all boards, all posts, all categories, etc.!
But, what about limiting rights? It's got that too! (Three more right levels to be exact.) Site Admins can grant board specific permissions to portal users! That's right! They don't need an admin account to the backend of your website to add posts to a board...they only need a portal account!
What are the additional right levels? "Board Admin"; "View, Edit, Publish and Delete"; and "View, Edit, and Delete". While the last two are pretty self-explanatory, the first one (Board Admin) allows the portal user to have 100% control over that specific board.
All this talk about permissions leads me to my #1 favorite thing about Finalsite Posts: Community driven content! Everyone in your community can participate in maintaining your website's content.
Want student ambassadors to blog for the admissions office? Great! Set each student up with their own board, give them "View, Edit, and Delete" rights to it, and let them go to town adding posts! The posts then have to be approved for publishing by a Board Admin or Site Admin.
Your Head of School wants his/her own blog? No problem! Set up a board for him/her, give him/her "Board Admin" rights, and he/she can create and publish whenever they want! (Plus, he/she only needs to remember their portal login!)
Is your Head of School too busy to post? We get it! Set up a board and give the Head of School's secretary permission to post to it. The author name on the post can easily be changed to make it look like it came from the Head of School.
Do you have teachers who want simple, custom Teacher pages? They can do so — easily! And all within the constraints of your design and brand.
Does the Librarian want to have a featured book of the month on the website? Sweet! Set up a board for the librarian and allow them to publish. You get to decide how it looks on the Library page, so no worries!
Can you see why this is my favorite feature? The possibilities are endless!
Let's Go Fly a Kite
When Posts gets released in a few days, that's not the end of the story. We already have so much more in store for it. Some of the features we are working on after its release are email alerts for when a new post is published, the ability to custom order a collection of posts by drag and dropping them, and the ability to have a recurring "publication" date for a grouping of posts on page.
So, "let's go fly a kite and send it soaring" with Finalsite Posts!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daisey first worked with Finalsite as a client for more than a decade before joining the team in 2007. As Product Manager, Daisey is a pro in all things Finalsite-related. She currently resides in Utah, loves helping clients, and serving as our popular FinalsiteU MC.