Spidean News

Documentation: Autoblocks Unleashed!  
Posted by: lobos on Sunday, June 26, 2005 - 05:14 PM
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Greetings all,


I have noted that of late many of the themes released have been conforming to the orthodox 3-column layout that has become synonymous to nuke type websites. While this is all well and good for portal type sites, sometimes one could use the flexibility of a CMS backend for personal or business websites also. This can be quite difficult if you only have 3 block positions/groups to choose from as your options can be quite limited in regards to designing innovative layout GUI's.

Enter Autotheme and Autoblocks.
The commercial version of Autotheme has had the feature of unlimited block positions (autoblocks) since early version releases, but since version 0.7 (I think) AT-Lite (the free GPL autotheme version) has also boasted this feature - earlier versions integrated with the Nuclei block enhancement and boasted 9 extra block positions which was still a great advantage over the stock standard 3 positions available to the Postnuke CMS.

Tied in with another of autotheme features that is custom module templates / options, Autoblocks becomes an extremely powerful tool in customising the design layout of your Postnuked website.You can set up block positions on the homepage to only show up on the homepage or define special block groups / positions to only show only for certain modules.

I will now run through the procedure of setting up additional block positions using autotheme.

Step 1 Define a new Autoblock

This is easily done by accessing the autoblocks area of the Autotheme administration console. You can name the autoblock anything you want although it is best to give a good descriptive title to aid in recognition due to the fact that this name will be associated with the block group in the CMS blocks administration area. eg home_top_left



Step 2 Assign a Block Template to the Autoblock Postion

You can use an existing block template or create a new one if you wish. Note that here I am defining this block template to only show on the homepage, I can also define it in the "general" area to show for all modules or even of an individual custom module (I could assign a completely different block temlpate for these if I wish).



Step 3 Add the block tag to your page template

Here we insert the block tag to your page template - I have a custom homepage template and I will be adding it to this. NOte the naming convention:

<!-- [rss_bottom_left-blocks] -->

It is the same name that we defined when setting up the autoblock in Step 1 with "-blocks" ammended to the end of it.




Step 4 Choose the Positon in the Blocks Admin Console

Pretty straight forward!



Some examples





Conclusion

With the advent of Autotheme and Autoblocks the Postnuke CMS can now enjoy a wider audience than those only concerned with portal type websites. Autotheme is truely a revolution in CMS themeing and we all owe much to it's creater - Shawn Mckenzie of http://spidean.mckenzies.net/ - he has truely acheived a "Pinnacle of Excellence" with Autotheme!

You can find our more about Autotheme at http://spidean.mckenzies.net/ and obtain quality Autothemes at www.webvida.com

About the Author

Adam Docherty aka Lobos has been involved in Postnuke theming activities for quite sometime now and takes special pride in providing the community with free and low cost support for Postnuke theme and module related requirements.

Adam would like to extend an invitation for all to browse his quality themes at www.webvida.com

Copyright 2005 Adam Docherty and Webvida ThemeWorks
All Rights Reserved

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