Sandvox Screencast: Getting the most out of Collections

This screencast is a general walk-through of using collections in Sandvox. We show you how collections can hold different kinds of pages — including other collections — and have different kinds of indexes, for blogs, photo albums, and so on.

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Hello and Welcome to this screencast for Sandvox.

In Sandvox, a collection is a group of pages.  A site can have many collections, but each site must have at least one collection, the Home Page.

In the “site outline” of my website, the Home page contains the pages and other collections of the site arranged in a hierarchy.  I’ll click on the disclosure triangle for the “Recipes” Weblog collection to reveal the pages.


Similar to arranging file folders on your computer in which, a main topic may include many folders and files, a collection can contain nested pages and even other collections with other nested pages.  But, unlike a folder on your hard disk, which just groups its contents together with a name and a general folder icon, a collection is visible on your site as a page, and usually that collection shows an index of what is inside the collection, in the form of summaries or thumbnail images.  

Think of a collection as a parent, and the contents of that collection as children.  Parent collections can have any number of children pages so, every child page belongs to a parent collection.  

This diagram provides an alternative view of how collections are arranged.  At the very top of the family tree is the grandparent, the Home page.  

 The dropdown menu on the toolbar displays “Collection” choices; Weblog, Download list, Photo Album, and so on.  Another way to access Collections is to go to “Site” in the menu bar . . . then “Add collection”.

You can create several different types of “Collections”.  Each collection has a purpose.  

A Weblog can be used as a Blog, offering written, podcast, or videocast content to site visitors.


 A Download List is used to present thumbnails, titles, and pages that facilitate the download of files. 


 The Photo Album provides the grid structure and mechanism for the layout of photos, and so on.


I’ll show you how this works with my website by adding another Weblog collection.  Go to the toolbar . . . click the “Collections” folder . . . then Weblog from the drop down menu.  

 The new Weblog collection is displayed in the “site outline” and the “site menu”.


 The elements for communication with your audience are all here.  The RSS feed allows you to publish the latest news, audio, and video.  As the publisher of the Weblog, you can syndicate this content to your readers.  The RSS feed gives your readers the opportunity to subscribe to the most recently posted information on the Weblog.


 I can change the name of the Weblog collection by clicking here in the Title text area.  I’ll change the name of the Weblog to “Food Deals” . . . then add a summary description by clicking the Summary text area and typing a description.  


 When adding a new Weblog collection, the first post placeholder is automatically created as an “Untitled Text” page.  


 I’ll add a couple of posts.  To create the new blog post, click on the “Untitled Text” page in the “site outline”.  I’ll change the name of my new blog post to “My first post!”  I will quickly write the new blog post.  The new entry is automatically date and time stamped.  


 My second post will be “Upcoming Sale”.  


To add a new page to my Food Deals collection, I’ll go to “Pages” on the toolbar . . . then Rich Text.  Again, I’ll change the page title . . . and add a short summary.  

 An “Index” is automatically created to help my readers link to information.  The Index is a listing of the titles of the most recent posts created for the Weblog.  In this case, “My first post” and “Upcoming Sale”.  


 The Index displays a link to each page.  The summaries I wrote are displayed as well.  This gives the reader a short introduction to the information contained in each of the posts listed in the Collection Index.


 I’ve shown you how to add pages to the collection.  Next, I will show you how to create another collection inside of an existing collection, the Photo Album I’ve already created.  Click on the collection, go to the “Collections” folder on the toolbar . . . then add Photo Album.

 The new collection is linked to the parent Photo Album.  

 I will change the name to “Fruit staples” and then, I will add photos and descriptions so that you can see how summaries are displayed on the parent page.


 For this demonstration, I will add 2 “Photo” pages to Fruit Staples.  For the first page, change the name of the Title text area to Citrus . . . then provide some description text for the photo.


 Add a photo from the media browser by clicking the “Media” icon on the toolbar . . . choose a photo . . . and then, drag and drop the image here. 


 I will use the same routine for the second page.


 When I click on the Fruit staples collection in the “site outline”, I can open the inspector with the collection selected.  Notice the index options below, with a popup menu to choose among the preset index types . . . sorting options, and more. 


 I’ll change sorting to “Reverse Alphabetical”, but the most traditional way is to list the most “recent item at the top” so I’ll change back to the original sorting preset.  


 Determine the maximum number of items to show in the Index here, usually anywhere between 10 to 15.  To change the number of text characters for summaries, use the option “Truncate text”.  Truncating summaries makes the collection page less lengthy so visitors aren’t immediately greeted with long or difficult reading.


 Let’s take a look at the way summary truncation works in the ‘Food Deals” blog.  I’ll truncate the text to 10 characters.  See the difference in the length of the summary?  The “Continue reading” dialog tells the reader there is more information available.  


 Since, it is important to capture the readers attention, you may want to create a custom summary that is independent of the page’s content.  Do this by control clicking in the summary text area.  Choose “Custom Summary for Index” from the contextual menu and write your custom summary.  To remove custom summary, control click the summary text and choose “Remove Custom Summary of Page”.


 That’s it!


 So, let’s review our site, with changes, in the site outline.  By clicking the disclosure triangle for each collection, you can see the compact layout of the site.  You can see the new collections and pages that have been added in a nested hierarchy.  You can see how collections allow you to customize and structure your site in a way that makes sense to your particular audience.


Thanks for watching!


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