We just released Managing News Beta 9. This version includes a lot of improvements and three new features that we’re really excited about: a drag and drop dashboard, widgets that can be embedded in other sites, and an option to hide unwanted news items in the trash. The new package and its release notes are ready to download — just in time for DrupalCon San Francisco.
This screencast shows the highlights of the Beta 9 release, including how the dashboards, widgets, and trash bin work.
You can now easily customize the homepage of Managing News by positioning blocks on the page where you want them using a drag and drop interface. If you’re familiar with Open Atrium, you may recognize this feature. We added it to Open Atrium Beta 4 and since it worked well we decided to add it to Managing News too. Now on the homepage you can construct custom blocks that pull items from a particular feed, search query, or channel and those blocks can display these items either as a listing, a map, or a graph.
Managing News Beta 9 also provides HTML code snippets for embeddable widgets. With this new feature, users can copy the code and post it on any website to embed a view of the latest news begin tracked by the Managing News site. These widgets are very similar to the dashboard blocks in that they can display items from a particular channel, a saved search, or the general site-wide news feed, and the widgets can display information as either a map or a basic listing.
To set up a widget just click the embed button on the palette — this will reveal a block that contains an embed code and a preview of the widget. A widget’s content depends on the page you are on. If you’re on a channel page, the widget will display stories from that channel, and if you’re on a search result page, the widget will display the results for those search terms, so you have a lot of control and options of what you can display with the widgets.
The last new feature I want to discuss is the trash bin, which allows site admins to hide irrelevant or undesired feed items from the main displays on the site. There’s a trash icon next to each new feed item, and site admins can simply click on it to move an unwanted item to the trash. Once an item is in the trash bin, it won’t display in listing or in maps, but it’s not gone forever. Admins can restore items from the trash.
Managing News Beta 9 can be downloaded at www.managingnews.com. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
A big thank you goes out to Teachers Without Borders for supporting much of the work that went into this release, and for using Managing News in some fun and amazing ways (including a Chinese localized version that’s being used to help teachers in China stay up to date on important news).