Perch Blog 5.0: Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards and multiple Blogs

We’ve shipped a major update to our Perch Blog App taking it to version 5.0. This update includes an integrated solution for managing the Facebook Open Graph data and Twitter Cards, along with multiple Blogs for Perch Runway.

The Perch Blog App is our most popular Add-on to Perch. It started life as a simple blogging tool but is now a fully featured application in itself. The flexibility of Perch is reflected in Blog. It’s all custom fields, and in terms of how you structure your blog that really is up to you. We ship some example files however advanced users will quickly find the App a toolkit for creating Blog and News-like material, with few limits on how you might want to present it.

Integrating Open Graph data

Something that people want to do with blog posts is to integrate Facebook Open Graph data and Twitter Cards in order that when sharing posts on social media nice images and descriptions show up. This has always been possible with the Perch Blog however many users struggled to get it to work, as it required more code than just getting blog up and running.

We are always on the lookout in our support forums for things that trip people up, as that usually indicates something we could do better in Perch Core or an add-on. This seemed like one of those things, and given the Blog App is a tool for blogging, and modern blogging involves social sharing it made sense to provide out of the box functionality.

In Blog 5.0 you’ll find a that the Smart Bar now appears when you are editing a post. It contains a new tab “Meta and Social”. By default this includes Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Card data along with other post meta data. That template is editable, so you can add other fields you would like authors to complete.

New Blog Post bar

Also on the Smart Bar is a link to View Draft or View Post, a small enhancement but one that many of you had asked for.

Perch Runway Multiple Blogs

The ability to create multiple, distinct blogs had been requested by some of you with larger sites. We’ve added this functionality for Perch Runway sites. You can now create multiple Blogs with one installation of the App. The Page Functions are able to display content from across all blogs or filter on a single blog, making this a very flexible way of creating a multiple Blog site.

If you are using Perch Runway you will find a new option on your Blog navigation bar – Blogs. This will by default list your single blog, however you can add a new blog here. If you only have one blog then you don’t need to change anything as everything defaults to that single blog.

Updating to Blog 5.0

You need to first make sure you are running the latest version of Perch or Perch Runway (at the time of writing 2.8.15). Updating blog should just be a case of downloading the App and replacing the perch_blog folder, then visiting Blog in your Control Panel. Your posts will then be updated automatically to take advantage of the new functionality – in my blog of over 500 posts this took just over a minute. Your blog will then function just as before and you can visit the documentation to see the few steps to take to implement the Open Graph data or multiple Blog functionality should you wish to use it.