Build Widgets and Migrate to Mobile Using Percussion CMS Version 3.3

Tue Oct 29, 2013

Making a website responsive and finding ways to better configure out-of-the-box features are the most intimidating projects and highly requested capabilities among our customers. Percussion’s goal is to take content management out of the realm of development and to put it squarely in the hands of marketing, the group that is responsible for content. We take complex technical problems and offer solutions that can be implemented by non-technical users. Version 3.3 finally introduces ways to tackle mobile optimization and widget creation with minimal technical skills.

Migrate to Mobile

Creating a great user experience for mobile visitors is no longer optional or an afterthought for websites that support your business goals. It’s absolutely critical. In a recent webinar with Yottaa, we explored the implications of poor optimization for overall SEO and sales outcomes.

Built-in Templates to Save You Time and Code

Building a dedicated mobile website or creating a responsive site has typically been a costly, time-consuming, and frankly, overwhelming project for most website managers. Our built-in responsive templates now allow Percussion CMS users to dramatically reduce both migration and development times. In this release Percussion delivers a number of base responsive templates. Built using the Zurb Foundation framework, these templates can be used to serve as the foundation of a mobile friendly website. The templates use a 12-column flexible grid that can scale to any size. Templates come with appropriate CSS so no additional effort is needed to support various device browser sizes.

Integrated Mobile Preview

When previewing pages, users will have the ability to preview the page as it would be displayed on desktop, tablet, or phone. Preview contains a toolbar that allows you to select which device and which orientation (portrait vs. landscape) to view the page and see how your changes impact the design on the fly.

Speeding Up Your Mobile Migration

The most exciting feature of version 3.3 is how the new responsive templates work with our patent-pending LiveFirst technology to accelerate the migration of your existing site to a responsive design. Most of our built in widgets are also responsive, so they will fit seamlessly into your newly optimized pages.

Migrating the pages to a new responsive template does not guarantee that the pages will now be fully responsive. If content within the main body of the page was styled with fixed widths (such as a table), those areas will still need attention to be made responsive, but with so much of the foundational work out of the way, you will be able to focus on refining and improving your design instead of starting from scratch.
I will cover how this migration works in more detail in my next post.

Custom Widget Builder

Widgets are critical to making Percussion easy-to-use and fully featured out of the box. Having pre-determined widget types has allowed users to customize and configure their templates and layouts in any way they suits them while being able to count on compatibility and reliability. But as I mentioned in a blog post last month, some users were asking for a little more.

To support a greater range of widgets without the need to customize the application, Percussion has developed a Widget Builder that will allow users with HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills to create their own custom widgets. Allowing them to build on our existing framework ensures the widgets are compatible with future releases of the Percussion CMS.

Widget Builder serves two main purposes:

  1. It allows designers to build custom widgets such as panel sliders or tabbed displays, that will allow content contributors to easily add content. 
  2. It supports the ability to create structured content comprised of multiple fields, similar to a blog post. For example, an article widget could contain an author field, a title, a release date, a summary and the main body post.

This feature was released as beta in September and is now GA after two months of customer testing. We were amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of our beta testers and the various configurations they came up with. We are now even more excited to open up this feature to more of our customers.

Widget Builder will not be enabled by default, so once you have updated to version 3.3, contact our customer success team to have it activated for your site. We can’t wait to see what you will build.

Dan Flanigan
Vice President of Products | Percussion Software

Dan is a product management specialist with over 15 years of experience building new enterprise products and launching them successfully to market. He has extensive customer and sales facing experience, outlining product solutions that have been successful for customers from 300 to 300,000 employees. Well over 3 million users are using products he has launched. In his spare time, Dan spends his disposable income on Apple products and dreams of seeing his name in TechCrunch.

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