Recently the members of the DotNetNuke blog team released a new version of the module, version 03.03.01. This article will walk you through this module and how to successfully configure it on a page within your DNN portal. This article assumes that you have downloaded and installed this version of the module in your website. This article also discusses creating a blog that is to be used only by the individual configuring the blog, so you will want to login as the blog owner before continuing with this tutorial. For this example we will be creating a blog for use by the “Admin” of the site.
Creating the Blog!
To get started we will add a new page and call it “Blog”, you complete this step by clicking the icon in the control panel. Input the following information for the blog page, or feel free to input your own specific information.
This creates a page that is visible to all users that will contain our blog. Now, we will want to add an instance of the blog to this newly created page. Select “Blog” from the list of available modules in the control panel and then select “Add”
Now right away you will notice that the blog module has now added a total of 5 new module displays to your page; most recent blog entries, blog list, new blog, search blog and blog archive. We will work with each of the controls individually to properly configure the blog for display.
Lets start with the “New Blog” module, this is an administrative module that is used to manage the blogs that are part of the module so we will first want to change the display properties of this module to disable viewing by all users. Hover over the action menu and select “Settings” to enter the module settings. In the permissions section, uncheck the “Inherit View Permissions from Page” and ensure that no values are selected, then click “Update”. The module should now show that it is only available for administrators.
This view control is the one that you will use to create and manage the properties for your blog and sub-blogs. Once you have the view listed above click on “Create My Blog” to start the configuration of the blog module. You will be presented with a “Create new Blog” page that will prompt you for various bits of information; each of these will be discussed below.
Title – This is the display title for your blog, it is displayed at the top of the entry listing and in the blog directory. For this example we will call our blog “Test Blog”
Description – This is a short description to the purposes of the blog. This content is displayed on RSS feeds and as general blog information.. For this example we will use the text “Demonstration blog description text”.
Blog Options – This section is a collection of checkboxes and looks like this, each setting will be discussed below.
Make this blog public – This option is used to make the blog visible to the public
Allow users to post comments – This allows registered users to post comments to your blog
Approval for user comments required – This option is only enabled for selection if user comments are allowed. If enabled this option will prevent any comments from displaying publicly until they are approved
Allow anonymous users to post comments – this allows anonymous users to post comments to your blog
Approval for anonymous comments required – Just like the rule for user comments this adds an approval processes to the anonymous comments.
Allow Trackback Comments – This option allows users of other blogs to link back to your blog inputting a comment automatically
Approval for trackback comments – Just like the other items this will enable an approval process flow
Trackback auto discovery – This is a mode that will allow trackbacks to be discovered automatically
Send mail notifications… - This option will send an e-mail notification to the blog owner after each blog comment and/or trackback
Use CAPTCHA for comments – This option will require the completion of a visual CAPTCHA before a comment can be submitted.
The final option in this section is the “When displaying your identity use” option. This allows you to use either your username or full name as the identifying name for blog postings.
Typically when configuring modules we would enable comments for registered users without approval and for anonymous users with approval. These will be the options that are selected for this tutorial.
Syndication Options – This collection of settings relates to RSS feeds and if/how they will be created. Each option will be described below.
Syndicate this blog – If this is enabled the content for this blog will be introduced into an RSS feed
Syndicate independently – If this is enabled the blog will be syndicated as its own separate RSS feed. You can use this with child blogs to prevent them from all being listed in 1 feed.
Managing Editor - This textbox is where you can put an e-mail address that should be listed as the managing editor for the RSS feed. This is something that should be populated with a valid e-mail address as it provides a method for feedback and questions from consumers of the RSS feed.
Date and Time Options – These options are used to control how the dates and times are displayed in the blog. This is where you select the time zone for your postings as well as your desired date format. Below is an example of the default setting for US Central time.
Once you have gone through these settings you can skip past the “Child Blogs” section as this section is outside the scope of this article. After clicking on “Update” your blog will be created.
Configuring your page layout (What modules are what?)
Now that we have created a blog it is a bit easier to see what each of these individual modules on our page are used for. Lets take a bit of time to organize and discuss each of these modules. The following steps will take you through a process to provide you meaningful information for each control as well as will give you instructions on how to rename the components to be more descriptive.
This control is the first control that we worked with an serves as an administration module, initially used to create the blog and eventually used to modify blog settings and to add new blog entries. Typically renaming this module to “Administration” is helpful as it makes it easy to remember what its purpose is. You can click in the module title to use the inline editor to change the name of the module.
It is also very common to move this module to the left pane to condense it’s display. The module display provides you with three options.
Clicking on this link will return you to the blog settings page that we used above to create your blog; you can use this to administer the various configuration elements of your blog.
Clicking on this link is the same as clicking your specific blog form the “Blog_List” module; it simply updates the “Most recent blog entries” window to show your blog listing.
This is where you can make a new post to your blog. You will be presented with an input screen that will provide you with fields for entry date, blog, title, summary, and blog. Each of these fields are fairly self explanatory you can use these fields to control the CONTENT of your blog post. You additionally have an “Entry Options” section where you can set options for your blog. These items exist to allow you to “publish” a blog, to allow comments, and/or to display a copyright notice at the bottom of your blog posting. Below is an example of these settings under their defaults
After you populate all values for the fields you may press “update” to actually make your new blog post! It is that easy!
This module is a simple calendar that shows days that have blog posts and allow users to navigate the blog based on a date range. Typically this module is renamed to “Archive” or something of that nature. This is another control that for both space and usability is typically moved to the “RightPane” to allow it to display alongside the blog postings. An example of the interface after modifying this control and the previous control is below.
As you can see we are starting to create something that looks more like a blog that you might expect to see.
This module is a control that allows users to select the various views from your blog. They are presented options for “View All Recent Entries” which will display recent entries from any and all blogs and child blogs. They are also given the ability to click on each individual blog and they will be displayed that information. This is another control that condenses display very nicely and is deserving of a new name and location. Typically this is found on the “LeftPane” of a site and is called “Navigation” or “Blogs” something a bit more descriptive to your users.
The action menu for this module provides you access to the “Blog Settings” page and “Add New Blog” pages. This makes the “Administration” module unneeded for administration purposes now that you have created your blog. Some individuals remove the module entirely but most just leave it for administration display.
This module is the search feature for the blog module itself allowing users to search for desired content, again this is a module that can condense to display in smaller areas and is typically located near the “Archive “ control as they are similar in function. For this example we will rename it to “Search” and place it directly below the “Archive” module.
This module has no configuration options and provides users basic searching of blog content.
This module is the actual display control for the module that will show your blog posts to your users and allow them to view/leave comments. The view of this specific module changes depending on how the other modules are configured. You can view summary information for you blog postings and then drill down into the full detail display.
This module does have a configuration element that is accessible via the action menu by selecting “Module Options”. These options apply to the blog module as a whole and will be discussed in two separate sections.
These settings are basic settings that control the display of the blog and the input of content for the module. Below are the default settings for this module. They are all fairly self explanatory and are used to mostly limit the content to ensure that you have a proper display on your site for content length, search results length, and RSS feed length.
These settings are more advanced topics and relate to integration and other elements of the blog module. Each of these values will be discussed below.
Allow Upload Options – Can blog posters upload items to their posting?
Show Blog Summary – Is the summary displayed when viewing the single blog detail? Typically this is disabled as your summary is the first portion of your full blog post and it wouldn’t make sense to display it before the blog content.
Show unique title – If enabled this module will use a blog specific title to describe the content of the page. For SEO this is a very good practice!
Personal Blog Page – If you want to display 1 and ONLY 1 blog on the page you can select the blog that is associated with the module here. This essentially disables the function of the “Navigation”/”Blog_List” module discussed earlier and selects the given blog directly.
Enable DNN Search – This option is disabled by default. If selected the module will use the ISearchable interface to provide the core DNN search engine with information about your blog postings.
After walking through this example you should now have a blog page that looks something like the following.
This should give you a good overview of the core DNN blog module. The module is a very robust item and can be intimidating at first due to the overall complexity with 5 view controls and the dynamic configuration.