Understanding what you can't see

I was recently asked about the fact that BLOX Total CMS doesn't allow a local preview of the live hosted BLOX CMS website from within BLOX Total CMS. There are many reasons for this, but it is by design.

One issue is that the hosted BLOX CMS website is driven by templates that live in hosted BLOX CMS (located at TownNews' data centers). There is no mechanism available to sync templates from your website to your BLOX Total CMS appliance.

But the templates themselves are only a small part of the equation. There are many settings such as query rules, blocks, custom behaviors, etc., that make the website function and look like your website. Thus, within BLOX Total CMS you can't locally preview what an asset would look like in your hosted BLOX CMS site without the asset actually being there.

The primary complication with previewing web pages in BLOX Total CMS has to do with its mission to allow you to "produce once, publish everywhere." BLOX Total CMS has the power to syndicate content to an unlimited number of hosted BLOX CMS sites. This adds complexity to a preview in BLOX Total CMS which doesn't exist within hosted BLOX CMS. In hosted BLOX CMS, you are only logged into one site at a time. In BLOX Total CMS there may be unlimited choices and some of our sites do, indeed, use one set of appliances to produce many publications and websites.

How to view a live asset

However, there is a way to preview / view the asset on your BLOX CMS site and a built-in shortcut in BLOX Total CMS to show it to you.

How? Simply apply a site tag to the asset in BLOX Total CMS and give it a bit of time to syndicate to your website. Once syndicated, you can view it in BLOX CMS.

Site tags allow content to be syndicated from a BLOX Total CMS appliance to one or more hosted BLOX CMS sites. They are typically added automatically by the workflows that BLOX Total CMS sites use to track the progress of content, but they can also be added manually.

The applied site tags can be viewed, manually added or removed within the Asset Editor in the Tags / Sites pane:

Site tag-based preview

Conveniently, you can also preview assets from the Tags / Sites pane by following these steps:

  1. Click on the hosted BLOX CMS site that you want to preview

  2. Click the "View at site" button.

If the asset has been syndicated, then you will see the asset as it actually appears on the live hosted BLOX CMS website. Technically, this isn't a preview, but a live view of your asset.

To learn more about using previews and syndicating assets in BLOX Total CMS, please visit our documentation.

Jon Winters is the product architect for BLOX Total CMS.