Block News Listing

We’ve just added a new component to the Live Shortcodes Plugin, that lets you display posts using the Block News Listing from the Design System.

Just click the Add Shortcodes button above the editor. (If you don’t have Live Shortcodes enabled, just ask via the helpdesk.)

Select the Block News Listing module from the options.

You’ll then see a large popup with a preview of your block listing, and a range of options for filtering by keyword and category as well as adjusting some of the information displayed. Just adjust your settings until you’re happy with the result and Insert Shortcode to add it to your page.

Posts with Featured Images will display with thumbnails, and Sticky posts will use the two column Hero layout.

By default. the text displayed will be the first 300 characters of the post. You can truncate at a chosen point, by using the ‘more’ tag.

If you want more control, write a custom excerpt for your post, which will replace the automatically generated text.

Only use this shortcode in full width pages; don’t use it in posts, and don’t use it with a sidebar, it won’t display properly.

Tabbed navigation

You can now have tabbed on a page in your site, including the home page.

Tabbed navigation requires you to create at least two pages, a parent page, and one or more child pages (we don’t recommend more than three). The content you put on the parent page will be visible as the default, first tab. The content of the children will be the second and subsequent tabs with the title of each page displaying as the tab link.

To organise the pages as parent/child is quite simple.

On the Edit screen of a child page, look for the Page Attributes pane, and the Parent menu. Select the page you want to use as a parent from this list, and save.

screen shot of page attributes pane

On the Edit screen of the parent page, look for the Page Options pane, and check the box to Display child pages as horizontal tabs.

Still on the Edit screen of the parent page, in the Page Attributes pane, you’ll need to choose one of the image header options, because tabs don’t work well with the default headers. Tabs also don’t work with Sidebars, so don’t use any of those templates for the parent page.

That’s it. When you view All Pages in the dashboard you should now see your parent and child pages arranged in a hierarchy.

And on the front end, the page should now have tabs.

Once you’ve got a tabbed page working, you can use it for a home page.

Go live! Public and other permissions.

When new sites are created, they are not public. This lets you get your site just right before publishing to your audience.

Once you’re ready, visit your Dashboard, and choose Settings > Reading.

Set your Site Visibility to option that suits your needs.

  •  – Lets you set a simple password that anyone can use. Registered users of the site won’t need the password.


Site Administrators can change this setting at any time, and it applies to the whole site immediately.

Who can view your site?

WordPress offers good broad options for allowing, or restricting access to your site.

screen shot of settings menu

Look in the Settings > Reading section of your dashboard, where you’ll find a range of settings title Site Visibility to allow you to control access to your site.

Screen shot of Site Visibility options

The options really go in order from most open (public) to less open, authenticated settings below.

  1. Allow search engines – is the fully public, searchable setting that most blogs will want to use.
  2. Discourage search engines – simply uses metadata to tell search engines not to index a site. Not all search engines obey these directives, and your site is still public.
  3. Must log in – anyone can view if they’re logged in. As our wordpress service is linked to the central authentication, this effectively means all staff and students.
  4. Registered users – not only must a user log in, but they also have to be a registered user of the site. As a site admin, you can manage this yourself.
  5. Admin only – all sites start out this way. Only administrators of your site can see it. This gives you a chance to get your site started before releasing it to the public.
  6. Custom password – you can set a single, custom password for your site. Not really recommended because it can get tricky to manage.

These settings apply to a whole site, they don’t apply to individual pages or sections. Options for that finer level of protection are limited, and if this is important to your site, then we would not recommend the wordpress platform.

Adding a Twitter feed to your site sidebar

Embedding a Twitter feed into a sidebar on your site is a relatively straightforward process, but there are few steps involved.

First up, see this post for details on how to get the Twitter embed code, and how to add it as a widget to your site:

Widget screen

Next, because our theme isn’t automatically setup using a sidebar, you need to do some extra configuration. Continue reading “Adding a Twitter feed to your site sidebar”


The Appearance menu in your Dashboard.
The Appearance menu in your Dashboard.

In the Appearance menu of your Dashboard, there is a menu item to add ‘Footer Content’. If you have tried it with the Design System Theme, you’ll have been disappointed.

The Footer Content doesn’t work well with the Design System, because it gets inserted in the wrong place. It’s really a more general WordPress option for inserting special scripts in the page – not so useful for visible content. For that, you should use the Footer Sidebar, which you’ll find on the Widgets screen.

In the Widgets page, we’ve added a new sidebar area, which actually appears at the foot of the page. You can drag new widgets into this area , and they will automatically display on every page in your site.


!important: keep it simple

Content inserted in this area will be automatically wrapped in a special div which is part of the Design System, so only certain content will work in this area, so we strongly encourage you to follow a couple of guidelines.

Simple text, or short lists only

One of the simplest options for this is the Links widget. You can manage the content of the widget directly from the Dashboard. Keep it to 4 links maximum.

If you want a bit more control, use the Text widget. You provide the HTML content for this widget, so as long as you know what you’re doing, it will give you complete flexibility.

Theme update 2015-11-25

This evening (7pm.) there will be another theme release (v1.1.1) to address a few minor bugs.

  • A problem with inline images with wrap around text floating off the page.
  • Cropping while adding new header images.
  • Spacing inconsistencies between post lists in different situations.

There should be no impact on users or editors.

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