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Getting Started with Widgets

Last Updated: Jul 17, 2019 01:36PM PDT

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Widgets are where the rubber meets the road— or, rather, where dynamic Web content meets static Web pages.

Widgets are, in a nutshell, instructions to the CMS to show some dynamic content.  A widget might say something like this:

“Show me up to three news items tagged “important” from the Biology, Chemistry and Physics groups; display them in random order; and if any of them are starred, give them a yellow background.” 

Creative widget usage is key to making great LiveWhale-powered websites.  

Group-aware widgets: a dorky name for a really great CMS feature

Simply put, group-aware widgets are shared widgets made by a LiveWhale Admin, typically a widget titled “My Events” for instance.

What makes them special is that when you insert them into your page, LiveWhale automatically uses  content from the group “owns” the page. In other words— if it’s your page, it’s your content, automatically.

LiveWhale users can produce various kinds of dynamic content, including:

  • news
  • events
  • galleries
  • and other types of content.

This content is typically stored in a database and shared among users in the same group who prepare them for display on the public web site.


What are widgets?

Widgets are the means by which these items are published on the public web site. Specifically, they are objects that can be inserted into a web page which tell the page which news stories, events, etc. to display. Widgets are in fact small bits of XML.

Each widget is composed of a simple set of rules that determine what to show. For example, “show all news items tagged with ‘Academics’”, or “show all PDF files”, or even “show recently added items to these 3 RSS feeds”.

Using a widget is as simple as placing it in a region of your page while editing it. Also, if you provide your widget with a header, visitors to your web page will automatically be able to subscribe to the widgets on your page so they can keep track of any updates via RSS.


How do I create a widget?

You can easily create widgets using the widget editor. You don’t have to know how to write a widget, nor do you have to remember the different possible options each widget has. A simple to use interface will help you through the process of creating a widget, and optionally giving it a name so you can re-use it easily another time you need it.  


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