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Previewing content

Content previews allow you to view your website or app exactly as it will appear at a chosen point in time. The preview app can be as complex as you'd like, simulating your entire app or just particular pages on your website, for example. In many cases the preview will be linked to your ecommerce system.

The content preview will display whatever content is either live or scheduled to go live at the selected time. You can think of this feature like a content "time machine" and your developers could include a date control to make it easier for users to quickly cycle through the contents at different dates.

The content preview will show content from editions that are scheduled to go live on the specified date and time, or published content, but you can also preview an edition without first having to schedule it. See the preview edition page for more details.

Preview settings
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To view content previews you must have a content preview app set up and specified in the "preview settings" dialog. A virtual staging environment is also required to show content previews.

An example content preview settings dialog is shown below. In this case we have one preview app set up called "website", but you might have several preview apps set up and choose between them.

The preview settings dialog

Viewing a content preview
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You can launch a preview in several ways:

  • Right click at the top of any date in the calendar and choose "Preview".
  • Choose the "Preview" button at the top right of the calendar or timeline window.
  • Click on any date at the top of the timeline view.
  • Right click on any item in the timeline view.
  • Preview an edition. This is explained in more detail on the preview edition page.

The Preview content item will not be available for dates earlier than the current date.

In the example shown below we've right clicked on a date in the calendar view.

The preview content menu

The Preview content dialog is displayed. Choose the date and time from which to show the preview. Click the "Launch preview" button and the preview will be launched. If you have multiple preview apps set up, you can choose which one to open.

Choosing a date for content preview

Take a look at the content preview example to see the content preview in action.

Sharing a preview
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You can share a preview, to send to other team members to review, for example. In the preview dialog, there is a "Get link" section which includes the preview URL. Click the copy icon to the right of the URL to copy it to the clipboard.

Copying the preview link

The URL can then be pasted into a browser to launch the preview app and display a preview at the chosen date and time.

The link can be pasted into a browser to launch the preview app

Previewing example
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In this example our content preview just displays one feature page containing a banner. There will be a different banner on this page for a teaser for an upcoming promotion and when a banner advertising free shipping when the promotion starts. The content preview can be used to check that the content is displayed as expected on each date.

We have created an event called "Summer sales Campaign" to manage content for the upcoming promotion. There is one edition to manage content for a teaser for the promotion and content to be displayed when the promotion starts.

The summer sales event

Both editions are scheduled to publish content to the same slot- the banner slot on the feature page. Here's the banner for the teaser:

The promotion teaser edition

The banner for the main promotion is then scheduled to go live three days later.

The main promotion edition

When each edition is scheduled we can then use the content preview to see what the feature page looks like on each date during the promotion. The teaser edition goes live on the June 1st so we check to see how the page appears on the 1st.

Choosing a date to preview content

The teaser banner is displayed.

The teaser banner

Now we'll choose to preview the feature page on June 4th when the free shipping banner is scheduled to be live on that page.

Choosing another date within the event

The feature page will contain the banner for the free shipping promotion.

The main promotion banner

Previewing editions
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The edition preview feature lets you preview your work in progress without having to schedule the edition. You can preview an edition in two ways:

  • A quick preview that shows how the slots in the edition will be rendered on your website or app and displays this edition alongside currently published content. Quick preview is designed to make it easy to preview work in progress, even if you haven't finished populating all the edition's slots.

  • The edition can also be 'promoted' to a preview environment and displayed alongside other scheduled or promoted content, so you know exactly what your chosen channel will look like on a chosen date and time. This works in the same way as the standard preview feature, except that the edition does not need to be scheduled.

When you promote an edition to the preview environment, you are making its content available for other users to view, whereas a quick preview is transitory and can only be viewed by the user working on the edition.

We'll use a simple example to explain preview edition in more detail.

Preview edition example
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Here's the content currently published to a home page. It just consists of two banners promoting a Spring collection.

Published home page content

We have created an event for a Spring sale, containing two editions: one called "Spring sale now on" and a summer collection edition that will contain a single slot with a banner advertising the summer collection.

The spring sale edition is scheduled, while the summer collection edition is a work in progress and is still in draft mode.

The Spring sale event

The scheduled edition contains a spring sale now on banner, targeting the home page. We're happy with this banner, so we've scheduled it and if we to choose the content preview after this edition's start date, then the content from this edition would be included.

The Spring sale now on edition is scheduled

The summer collection banner edition has a start date of 3 days later and is intended to publish a banner underneath the sale banner on the home screen with "get ready for summer" text.

The summer collection edition in draft mode

Quick preview
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We want to preview this edition as a work in progress and see how it will appear on the home page. However we don't want to schedule it yet, so we use the new quick preview feature.

Click the Preview button at the top right of the edition window and choose the app you want to use for the preview. In this example we're using an app that previews a website, but it works equally well when previewing the edition in a mobile app for example.

Notice that the date/time preview is not available. Quick preview is designed just to focus on the contents of this edition.

Launching the quick preview

The preview app is opened and renders the content of the the slots in this edition. In this case we have just one slot containing the "get ready for summer" banner. This is a quick preview, with the edition displayed alongside the published content currently on the website. The content from the "spring sale now on" edition is not included in the preview since the edition has been scheduled, but is not yet published.

The edition content is rendered alongside published content

Promote to preview
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If we want to preview the edition alongside the other scheduled content, we can "promote" the edition to the preview environment.

From the schedule menu choose "Promote to preview".

Promoting the edition to the preview environment

Now when we click the "Preview" button, the Date/Time preview is available. This is the usual preview feature allowing us to choose a date and time and an app to preview the content.

Choosing the date and time at which to preview

The content from our edition is now displayed alongside the scheduled content from the spring sale now on edition, without us needing to schedule it.

The edition is rendered alongside the scheduled Spring sale edition

Updating the preview
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If we make a change to the edition, such as adding or deleting slots or the content within them, then if choose Preview again, a message will be displayed telling you that the version of the edition that you promoted to the preview environment is out of date.

Preview out of date warning

To update it, choose "Update preview" from the Schedule menu. Now when you preview the content, the updated edition will be previewed.

You may also choose to remove the edition from the preview environment, so it will no longer be displayed alongside other editions that have been promoted to the preview environment, scheduled or gone live.

Updating the preview

In this example we just showed an edition containing a single slot, but in most cases your editions will contain several slots containing many items of content.

The preview will be displayed for every valid slot within the edition, even if a slot is empty. If a slot is not valid, for example it must contain content of a certain type and cannot be empty, then a message will be displayed in the preview dialog warning you that only 3 out of 4 slots, for example, can be previewed. The contents of the invalid slot will be ignored.

Previewing 3 slots including one that's empty

Expired content
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The content within a slot in an edition can be set to expire when the edition does, that is after the edition end date. At this point the content will not be unpublished, but the information that the edition, and the content within it, has expired will be available to your website or app.

You might choose to continue to display the expired content until it is updated or display some "evergreen" content from another slot in its place. How you instruct your developers to handle expired content is up to you.

Developers can find more information on the Active end dates page.

Developing content preview apps