Getting Started with Posts 1: Understanding Posts Terminology

Posts is a platform that allows you to push continuously updated content to your audience, much like a blog or even Pinterest. One of the best advantages of Posts is its flexibility. There are almost limitless ways you can mix and match Posts features to bring all kinds of dynamic content to your audience. All this flexibility, however, makes it hard to navigate Posts when you’re just getting started. This article covers some of the basic terminology in Posts that will help you understand its moving parts.

Posts module

The Posts module is where all the content is created and configured. It may be helpful to think of it as Posts Manager, just like Calendar Manager or Constituent Manager. Content is housed here, and that content can be displayed on the front end of the website in several ways. Instead of calendar events or user information, though, the content in this case is a blog, an external link, or some other kind of content. Each of these bits of content is called a “post.”

A post has, at a minimum, a title and body. The Body Content of a post is a full text editor, so a post body can include formatted text, images, videos, embeds, and anything else you might display in a Content element in Composer. Alternatively, a post could use the External Redirect URL option to link a post title directly to another web page. (It is still useful to think of this external link as the post body, although you won’t be able to see it in a Composer Post element. More on that later.) A post has a single author, and it must be housed on a “board.”

Posts are contained within boards. Every post that’s created is created within a Board (although they can be moved later). Boards frequently have a common topic or theme, and all of the posts within them relate to it. You can display an entire Board on the website, showing all of the posts that belong to it, as well as the Board’s title, description, and thumbnail.

Like a board is a collection of posts, a folder is a collection of boards (similar to how a “Group” in Calendar Manager is just a collection of calendars.) Folders can be used to organize boards however you see fit, but a board must be in a folder. Folder organization is only a back-end tool - site users will  never see the folder itself, its name or description, on the front end of the site. You can have as many folders as you’d like, with one or more boards within it.

In summary, a post is contained within a board, which is contained within a folder. To help visualize this, refer to the following diagram.

Posts_diagram.png

Posts will most often be displayed as part of their board, but you may want to display posts from a bunch of different boards in a specific order. For this, you can use a “Collection.”  You can create a Collection at any time to  group together specific posts taken from any number of boards. Within the Collection these posts  can be reordered as desired. Posts from boards are always displayed in chronological or reverse-chronological order.

Two other terms it’s useful to know are "tags" and "categories." Both can add context to link multiple related posts to one another, but they have slightly different uses. Tags organize posts across boards. You can add one or more tags to a post, and then use those tags to control what appears on a given site page - a Composer Posts element on a site page (see below) can be configured to only show posts that have a tag you specify, for example. You can also use tags as user-controlled filters, where a given page displays every post by default, but users can hide all of the posts that do not contain a given tag.  

Categories are similar to tags, but they are specific to a single board and have more limited filtering capability. For more information about categories and tags, refer to Categories and tags explained.

Composer Posts elements

Now that we’ve got everything straight on the back end, what happens when you want to display posts to the public? For that, we make a Composer page (in fact, you’ll probably want to make a few!).

Posts pages use elements as building blocks, just like a Calendar element or a Constituent element. For this, our primary elements will be the “Board element” and the “Post element.”

The Board element can be used to display the posts from one or more boards. A Board element in the “Single” format will show the posts from a specific board, while a Board element in “List” or “Grid” format will show all the posts from boards saved in a single folder.

For each board displayed in the element, you can display the title, description, and thumbnail of the board, as well as the date and/or time it was last updated. You can dynamically link the board title to the posts for that board. For more details about the Board element, see Board element.

The Post element, by contrast, shows posts rather than entire boards. As with the Boards element, a Posts element can display a single post, or a list, grid, or slideshow of posts. These posts may come from one board, multiple boards, or a collection.

If your school makes use of tags, you can configure a Posts element to only show posts - from one Board, or a group of Boards - that have certain tags on them. You have full control over what parts of the post to show, meaning that if you want to only display the thumbnail and description components of a post, you can. Multiple Post elements can work together this way on the same page, each element displaying different components. You can link one Post element to another Post element to allow users to click on a thumbnail or short description to show additional details of the post. For the full options of this element, see Post element.

Post_element_diagram.png

The Post Tools element, finally, works with another Post element on the same page to add more functionality and interactivity.

You can use a “Category Filter”-format Post Tools element to show the categories that are used in each board displayed in an element - this lets users to see only posts from a specific category. The “Navigation” format pairs with a Post “Single”-format element, adding “Previous” and “Next” buttons to give users another navigation option. The “Search” format allows users to search the posts shown on the page by keyword or date range. Learn more about this element in Post Tools element.

Next steps

With the building blocks of Posts established and defined, now it’s time to get your Posts module up and running. You’ll start by creating a folder, then a board, and then a post in the Posts module, so that you have some content to work with. We’ll walk through these steps in Get started with Posts and then Make a new post. Then, we’ll walk through creating Posts pages in Composer in Build a Posts page so that you can display Posts content on your website.

Getting Started with Posts 2: Creating Folders and Boards

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