In this major Flex Templates software release, we are adding several new features that will benefit local media organizations. We're adding new map functionality for sites wanting to use a different mapping platform, a new block that helps create interactive promotional buttons, more "speakable" schema data to article assets, and much more!

NEW FEATURES

  • The BLOX Now App will now use user agent headers in order to identify "Now App mode" in article pages. This means the URL for BLOX Now App pages will change and no longer have ?mode=nowapp at the end. Web pages viewed in the BLOX Now App webkit mode can be tracked in Google Analytics by searching for browser=Townnews Now. (FLEXBLOX-6343)
  • We have now added official support for Parse.ly analytics. Go to Block Editor -> Page Properties -> Third Party Integrations and add your Parse.ly ID. Note that any other Parse.ly code you have on the page should be removed or you may generate errors or duplicate stats. (FLEXBLOX-6460)
  • To further improve Google Ad Manager ad viewability, the "interval ad refresh" which is based on user interaction should only be allowed to trigger a refresh once that slot has been determined to be viewable. This should improve ad viewability when a site has implemented refreshing ads. (FLEXBLOX-6526)
  • Today we are introducing a new alternative to Google Maps, from a company called Here. The Here platform does not require a credit card to create an account, and has an API limit of 250k transactions per month. To get started, create an API key here, then enter it in the API Keys page properties in the Block Editor. All maps, in all pages affected by the page property, will now transform into Here maps. Note: If you have an API key set for Google and Here, Here is prioritized over Google (FLEXBLOX-6755)
  • We are adding a new option to the Email Reach page properties called "Disable tracking" which turns off the process where we replace links on the page with tracking links. These tracking links allow us to capture data about how many users click on what links, but it makes it impossible for sites to send dynamic data through the site URL. (FLEXBLOX-6814)
  • We are adding "speakable" schema data to our article pages. This schema markup helps Google Assistant and other smart devices identify which text on a specific article page can be read as part of a request for information about a particular news topic. When the Google Assistant reads a news article as an answer to a question, it will read the headline and first paragraph, then it will attribute the source and send the full article URL to the user's mobile device through the Google Assistant app. (FLEXBLOX-6823)
  • Support for Open Ad Stream (OAS) ad serving has been removed. It is no longer in use by any media organization on our platform, according to our records. (FLEXBLOX-6835)
  • Text descriptions of Google's ad serving platform has been changed from "Google DFP" to "Google Ad Manager" to reflect Google's branding change. (FLEXBLOX-6837)
  • This week we are adding a new block called the "Utility: Promo Button" block. Much like the "Utility: Promo Designer" block, the Promo Button block allows site designers to create useful buttons and text links that can perform a number of important functions. The button can be set to respond dynamically to audiences in the iQ Engage program, implement UTM tracking to gauge effectiveness, and show fun icons to attract attention. (FLEXBLOX-6841)
  • Field59 videos will now display as native videos within the BLOX Now App. (FLEXBLOX-6858)

CHANGES

  • Clicking on the business address in the BLOX Business directory will now open a map with directions to that location. (FLEXBLOX-5793)
  • File assets will now show in the same place as the "subtype" it replaces. For example, a zip file will go at the bottom of the article. (FLEXBLOX-6632)
  • In some edge cases, duplicate lines of text were being displayed in the weather alerts throughout the site. This has now been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6762)
  • In order to reduce automated attacks on the Subscription purchase pages, we are now adding a reCAPTCHA form to these pages. (FLEXBLOX-6776)
  • We have added audience targeting to the "Utility: Site logo" block, so that the logo can be altered depending on site audience. (FLEXBLOX-6817)
  • A map showing multiple locations will no longer receive query limit errors. (FLEXBLOX-6854)
  • The "experimental" flag is being removed from the "Utility: Notifications controls" block. (FLEXBLOX-6857)
  • Some updates are being made to the "Utility: Image"/"Utility: Logo" blocks in order to fix edge cases where they were being sized incorrectly. (FLEXBLOX-6859)

BUG FIXES

  • The last metering message in Subscription is showing the article count down, even if it is not enabled. This has been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-5973)
  • On some mobile devices the "log out" button which appears at the bottom of BLOX Now App articles could not be seen. This has now been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6730)
  • The BLOX Notifier block, when in "stuck on bottom" mode, will no longer drop back behind other page elements. (FLEXBLOX-6791)
  • The site author area will no longer conflict with Cover Art. (FLEXBLOX-6793)
  • The RSS item macro is hitting 'a' tags with the html filter twice. This has now been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6807)
  • In some cases, assets with lots of flags don't wrap to the next line. This has now been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6822)
  • The exit intent behavior of the "Utility: Promo Designer" block will now work better in Firefox and Safari. (FLEXBLOX-6831)
  • In some edge cases, the icons on e-Editions were pushed out of view. This has been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6872)
  • If a site does not have the "frontend" privilege for BLOX Business Directory, it breaks the JavaScript on the calendar event submission page. This has been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6892)
  • In some edge cases, when a user logged in to a site using IE11, the article text was not correctly displayed. This has been fixed. (FLEXBLOX-6893)
  • We are fixing an issue with submitting Calendar events on IE11. This should now work properly. (FLEXBLOX-6897)