Blocks

Blocks are pieces of content that can be reused and shared between websites, while being maintained in one place only. Typical types of content blocks are campaign teasers and banners, videos, news feeds and contact forms. Just like for pages, you can have different block types, such as an editorial block, or a form or page listing block.

Blocks are managed from the Blocks tab under the assets pane in Episerver CMS, where you can create new blocks and organize them in folders. You can then utilize blocks by dragging them into the content areaWhere you can drag-and-drop pages and blocks, and create a block. (A link collection has a similar area for creating links.) of Episerver CMS pages. You can manage block versions like other types of content, and blocks can also be personalized to be displayed for selected visitor groupSite visitors with something in common, such as age, geographic location, and so on. Used in the personalization feature of Episerver CMS. (See Personalizing Content.).

Image: Assets pane, Blocks tab

Use the search field at the top of the pane to enter search criteria and retrieve blocks. Clicking a search result will expand the folder where the block is located. To browse for blocks, click a folder to expand the folders and content beneath it.

Creating a block

Note:  To create blocks, editors must have Create access rights on the root directory of the website.

Creating a block from the Blocks tab in the assets pane

When using this option, the block is saved in the block folder structure, and it is available for other pages on the website.

  1. Select the folder in the structure under which you want create a block, and select New Block in the context menu, or click the Add button.
  2. Select the block type among those that are available, and provide a name for the block.
  3. Depending on the type of block, add content as appropriate.
  4. Publish the block immediately or schedule for publishing later. Unpublished blocks are not visible to visitors, and appear dimmed out in edit view when added to a content area.

    Image: Unpublished block

Creating a block directly from a content area

When using this option, the block is saved in the For this page folder for the selected page, which means that it is not available on any other pages on the website.

Image: Create block from content area

  1. Click Create a new block in the content area, from the On-page or the All properties editing view.
  2. Select the block type among those that are available, and then name the block.
  3. Depending on the type of block, add content as appropriate.
  4. Publish the block immediately or schedule for later publishing.

When creating a block, clicking Back takes you back to the page or block you were previously working on.

Image: Back link in the user interface

Finding the block location

If you have an already inserted a block in the rich-text editor and you want to find out where it is stored, select the block in the editor and a Go to Block button is displayed. Click this button to open the block or hover over it to see where the block is stored.

Image: Go to Block button

Editing a block

Note:  Changes made to a block that is being used in content on the website affect all instances where the block is used.

You can edit blocks directly from the content area where it is being used, or from the Blocks tab in the assets pane.

  1. Select the desired block to edit, and select Edit in the context menu.
  2. Depending on the type of block, change the content as appropriate.

    If you want to rename the block, use the All Properties editing view.

  3. Publish the block immediately or schedule for the changes to be published later.

Using blocks in content

Blocks can only be added to content areas that support blocks. In edit view, select the desired block in the assets pane, and drag it into a content area of a page. A green frame indicates where it is possible to add blocks on the page.

Image: Block in content

You can add several blocks to the same area. Drag the block above or beneath an existing block, and drop it when the separator appears. The blocks can be rearranged later. It is also possible to add blocks to a content area from the All Properties editing view.

Image: Rearrange block order in edit view

Note:  Like blocks, pages from the page tree can also be dropped into a content area. Depending on how the page template is built, the content of the selected page is rendered in the content area.

Blocks can also be added to a rich-text editor area through drag and drop.

Image: Block, drag and drop

To remove a block from a content area, select Remove from the context menu.

Tip:  You can personalize blocks to display targeted information to selected visitor groups, see Personalizing content. Personalized blocks are not displayed in the edit view. Select a content area to display personalized blocks.

Note:  You cannot link to blocks since they do not have a web address (URL). However, you can create links to other pages and media files if the block contains the rich-text editor (XHTML string property).

Arranging blocks in a content area

You can change the display order of blocks by rearranging them in the content area, through drag-and-drop, or by selecting Move up or Move down in the context menu.

Image: Rearranging blocks in content area

Displaying blocks in different styles

You can select display options for blocks on a page in different sizes and styles. The rendering of blocks needs to have built-in support for managing different widths, in order for the content to be properly displayed.

The following options are available:

  • Automatic. Select this option to display the block using an appropriate built-in style option selected by the system.
  • Manually. Select this option to display the block using the specific style option, such as Full, Wide, or Small presets for the specific context where the block is used.

Image: Block, display options

Moving, copying and removing blocks in folders

Moving, copying and removing a block works in a similar way as for pages by using the context menu. Since blocks and media files share the same folders, removing a folder from the tree structure affects all content within the folder. If any block or media within a folder is used on the website, you are notified about the usage before the content is moved to trash.

Note:  A block is no longer available on the website once it is moved to trash. You can see removed blocks by selecting View Trash from the context menu of the block gadget.

Versions, content languages and access rights for blocks

  • Versions for blocks are managed in the same way as for other types of content. When you update the properties for a block, a new version will be created, which will be listed in the versions gadget. See Publishing and managing versions.
  • Content languages for blocks are managed in the same way as for other types of content, see Translating content.
  • Access rights can be defined for creating and viewing blocks. This is done directly for a specific block in the All Properties editing view, or for an entire block structure from the admin view. From code it is also possible to restrict the block types that can be added to a content area. See Setting access rights from edit viewand Access rights.

See also Self-optimizing block.