Stacked Content

a first impression

rebecca_king.png
Story by Rebecca King, Published 15 Feb, 2018
3 minutes to read

In the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to work on a project using Nested Content’s “big brother”, Stacked Content. 

At first, it seemed a little confusing, mainly because there isn’t much documentation out yet, and also because the project had some unique requirements that meant it wasn’t just a standard plug and play situation. 

Let’s first build the picture for you. At the end of last year I worked on a different project that required extensive use of grid blocks with the help of LeBlender, styling both front and back end and trying to make them as easy to use whilst also trying to make them flexible. I was trying to give the user a real sense of what the front end would look like as they were creating the pages in the Backoffice. 

The end result?? A huge number of very rigidly styled grid blocks that worked, but posed a number of issues.

  1. Development time was huge.
  2. Small changes meant a lot of work in a number of places.
  3. Writing different grid renderers for different blocks to meet styling requirements.
  4. The backoffice did not provide an accurate representation of the front end look and feel.
  5. It felt like all that hard work wasn’t reusable, like a poorly written class.

 

Now before you begin to think, “Hang on, Grid Blocks are great and very flexible and useful.”, I agree with you. I’m not complaining about Grid Blocks as they work extremely well in the right circumstances and have their place. That project, was not their place. 

Here’s the very brief summation of Stacked Content if you’ve not checked it out yet. It is like Nested Content that uses Nested Content to provide super flexible blocks to use on document types. They can be displayed in the Backoffice with or without a preview. 

Ok, now that you have a full and deep understanding of Stacked Content, let me tell you what was great about it.

  1. Fast development time.
  2. The backoffice rendered the content blocks accurately.
  3. Modifying the display of the blocks was fast. And any changes were quickly made.
  4. No use of the grid renderers. Each view is self contained so the layout and style was extremely easy to get just right.
  5. Reusability of the blocks for other projects.
  6. In the backoffice, you can add the block exactly where you need it to be rather than adding it at the end of the previous blocks and then having to reorder them.
  7. There is no need to add styling to the blocks and the rows that can be time consuming and confusing for the user. Any styling that is added via templates or property editors is visually displayed.

 

To make it even easier to use the Stacked Content, one of our other extremely clever Dev’s created an ingenious way to use a list of templates for the user to select for each Block, making it so flexible for both the developer and the user. Then, between us, we created some additional property editors that allowed for customisation of background images, colours and text colour, to set the padding for each block and to set the block as fixed or full width. 

The result of the Stacked Content project??? Very successful! Since completing that project, I have had to work on a job that used Grid Blocks and the whole time I felt myself pining for Stacked Content. 

If you haven’t tried it, check it out https://goo.gl/1NnqMk

If you would like to hear more about how I used the Stacked Content, let me know.

Tags: Stacked Content, Nested Content, Umbraco CMS,