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Funnelback-powered widgets: how they work

CMS, Squiz Matrix , , .

On www.city.ac.uk many pages have a sidebar which can be populated with various “widgets” in the editing environment. Here’s how they work

Editors can add widgets from a list of options:

  • News
  • Events
  • Testimonials
  • Map
  • Free text
  • Free text (2)
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Call to action
  • Courses
  • RSS
  • Contact

The widgets are built behind the scenes in different ways, the ones in italics above are all similar in that they use Funnelback (our search engine) queries to generate the list of items (news, events, courses, etc.)

Configuration

When you add one of these widgets to a page you will have options to determine which items should be included in the widget.

A screenshot of the edit interface options for the News widget

Options available for the News widget

The news and events widgets share the same search criteria options, while the course widget is slightly different. The options available in the first group are:

  • School
  • Department
  • Related Courses
  • Keywords
  • This Course

All the criteria are in respect to the current pages’ metadata, so choosing school will search for (for example) news items which have the same school metadata value as the current page. A page which is given the value School of Arts in it’s school metadata field with an events widget set up to match on school will bring back any events which also have a value of School of Arts in their metadata.

The same direct matching of metadata applies to the other options, apart from This Course, which only makes sense on a course page. When this is used for a widget on a course page it will bring back any (again, for example) news items which have been setup with the course page as a related course.

a pictrure showing the options available when configuring the course widget

Options available for the course widget

The course widget has fewer options, but they work in exactly the same way as above. The courses explicitly related option will only bring back the courses that have been chosen as the related courses of the page on which the widget is being added.

Combining options

It gets a bit more complicated when you choose more than one search criteria. And again the course widget works slightly differently in this regard.

When you choose more than one option for the news or events widget any of the chosen criteria is used to match an item (logical OR for the geeks). This means if you choose school and related courses together then any (e.g.) news items which have the same school will be returned along with any that have any the related courses in their list of related courses regardless of the school metadata.

With the course widget the options can’t be combined, the widget will only allow one criteria choice.

2 Responses to Funnelback-powered widgets: how they work

  1. Pingback: Funnelback-powered widgets: how they workSquiz Matrix CMS User Guide | Squiz Matrix CMS User Guide

  2. Liam Geoghegan says:

    This is interesting, because I’ve always told editors to only select one of the criteria, as choosing more than one would cause a conflict.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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