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The release of Sitefinity 7.0 brought with it a ton of improvements and new functionality. That means awesome new features for your sites! After some feedback from you and a bit of brainstorming on our end, we’ve managed to come up with a pretty impressive list of practical uses for some of those new features. Let’s take a look.
Custom fields enable Sitefinity users to expand the out-of-the-box data types and further control how content is rendered on our sites. Now that pages are included under the “expandable data type” umbrella, we can add custom fields to them; allowing us to add custom meta data and create relationships between them and our site content.
If that sounds a bit too generic, here are some examples.
Images and text attached to pages via custom fields can be used in widget templates…including the ones that control how navigation controls are rendered.
Just like images and text, videos can also be attached to pages. This lets you use those assets to liven up an already great design, plus you can let your users add things like "Hot Deals" directly to the navigation.
Schemas help search engines and other automated systems to better understand content by defining the context of information. With custom fields you can indicate (with specific attributes) if a page will host blog posts, store locations, ecommerce products, recipes, etc. Combined with adding meta properties to the actual content types, this provides a way for search engines to semantically display your content in specialized layouts proven to drastically increase click through rates. In this day and age, who wouldn’t appreciate a quick SEO click-through boost?
Again, custom fields can be accessed through the underlying code driving your website. Imagine what you can accomplish by sorting and filtering pages just as you can news, events, and blog posts. The end result is almost always “WOW”ing users with relevant and contextual information.
When folks share your pages on Facebook, algorithms try to figure out a good image and description for your link. You can take charge and provide a unique, compelling description and associated image for each page of your website using custom fields.
Sitefinity now supports commenting on pages but back-end users have to remember to enable that functionality each time a “comment ready” widget is dropped on a page. Using a “Choice” custom field, they can simply toggle a checkbox to set whether commenting should be “on” or “off” as part of the page definition.
You can allow for end users to add optimizely experiment IDs directly when editing the page properties.
Using custom fields for pages, you can achieve practically any type of integration that relies on declaring page-level information...seriously. :).
Information like copyright and attribution links (that are normally added via content blocks in templates) can be set at the page level and set on a page-by-page basis if necessary.
Imagine a setup where you can pick and chose social sharing options for pages…and the buttons/links just show up without the customer having to drag and drop extra widgets!
Google Authorship allows you to claim your content and make it more recognizable to users. Custom fields can be used to implement the required attributes painlessly.
Responsive also embodies decisions about content hierarchy - which stuff are important enough to take on some of the 640px allocated. Using custom fields for pages will be a perfect way to give end-users a UI to make decisions on content hierarchy for mobile. Then we just add some kind of a data-display property to the navigation template and the magic happens.
In the next post, we’ll look at custom media fields for built-in modules, related content and the HTML5 video player.
Have you done something awesome with Sitefinity 7.0? Let us know in the comments below. If you haven’t already checked out the new release, what are you waiting for? Try it out for free and let us know about your experience.
View all posts from Tim Williamson on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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