Using Nickel: Content Management

This guide will help familiarize you with Nickel's tagging, article management, markup language and controls, and the comment system. You'll also get tips on how to use the uploader and restore data from backups.


Tags provide a way to organize your content into sensible chunks. To edit the master list of tags, sign in as an administrator and click on the "Tags" link from the account module. Following the instructions, enter your first tag or two into the text area. Separate tags with a comma. Extra space as it will be removed. Click "Update tags" then follow the link in the confirmation message (or just refresh the page).

All tags appear in a list in the template where the string "###tags###" occurs. If you haven't modified the template, you'll notice that the tags module has appeared. If you click on a link, you'll get "No results found" because you have tags but no articles. If you were to add an article right now, you'd be able to select from existing tags. You can also add tags while creating a new article. Since we don't have an article for these tags yet, let's delete them. Go bag to the tag form, clear the text, and submit. The tags are now removed.

There are three primary tag schemas for Nickel. Choose the one that's best for you.

Tags as navigation

The most common way to take advantage of tags is to use them as a navigation system. If you're only using maybe 3 - 6 tags, the tag module will behave more like a traditional web site navigation.

Tags as keyword links

If you want to use a lot of tags to file each of your articles into a lot of categories, go for it! This will generate a larger list in the right column. You can move the "###tags###" string further down in the template to get it out of the way, or just delete it entirely and rely on article links for browsing.

No tags

If your blog focuses on a single subject, you have the option to omit tags entirely. They are not required to write articles. If you don't have any tags then the tags module will not appear. You can delete "###tags###" from the template, as well.


To create an article, click on "New article" from the account links while signed in as an administrator. To update an article, click on its "Edit" link (only visible when signed in as an administrator). The form is identical to the one you use to create a new article. To delete an article, click the "Delete" link. You will need to confirm the delete to prevent accidental deleting of data.

Here's a quick guide to the article form.


Saving your article with this box checked will publish it. If this is not checked, the article will only be available to administrators. This is helpful if you want to save progress or preview your article without making it public.

Comments enabled

Saving the article with this box checked will allow all registered users to leave comments on it.


The article's main title title. This appears in links to the article, on the article itself, and in the page title. It's best to keep your title short and simple. 256 character maximum. Required.


This is the subtitle or tag line for your article. This appears just below the main title in a slightly smaller font. This is useful for providing a more descriptive title. 256 character maximum. Required.


The article description is the text that appears with an article when it's in a list. When viewing the article, the text appears in the meta data. 512 character maximum. Required.


Enter keywords to help search engines find this article more easily. Separate keywords with commas. Keywords only appear in meta data. 256 character maximum. Required.


Check the boxes of tags under which you'd like to categorize this article. You won't see this line unless you have already added tags to the site. Not required.

Add new tags

If there is a tag you'd like to use for this article that is not yet available, enter it here. Separate multiple tags with commas. 256 character maximum. Not required.


This is your article text. The text area is re-sizable in most browsers and supports Nickel's markup language.


Nickel uses a simple markup language not unlike that which you may have used to post messages on a bulletin board. It comes complete with a toolbar and does not support HTML, so there's no need to remember any code or worry about client-side hacking. To wrap text in a tag, select it and then click the button of the tag you'd like to apply. If you're adding a link or embedding a file, the cursor will jump to the URL attribute's value. It makes for a pretty fast workflow. To learn more about Nickel's markup language, please read Using Nickel: Markup.


Nickel's uploader works a bit differently than what you may have used in the past. When you upload a file, it is placed into the "uploads" folder and a link to the file appears below the markup bar. This allows you to right click and copy the link, then paste it into the article. If you need to overwrite a file, just upload it again. If you ever need to delete a file, you'll need to do so via FTP.

If you upload an image that is taller or wider than the size you've specified in "Settings.cs", a smaller copy will automatically be generated, adding "_sm" to the name. When the upload is complete, you'll receive links to both files.

To get a feel for how best to use this feature, try the following exercise:
  • In the article form, clear the "Body" text.
  • Upload a large photo (larger than what you have specified in "Settings.cs").
  • Upon completion, you should see two links. Right click and copy the URL to the one that ends in "_sm.jpg".
  • Click the "File" button in the markup bar. Notice that the cursor is now position at the value of the URL attribute.
  • Hit Ctrl + V (Command +V on Mac) to paste the URL to the small file.
  • Right click and the copy the URL of the original file.
  • Focus (click) the body text and hit Ctrl + A (Command +A on Mac) to select all the text.
  • Click the "Link" button to wrap the text in a "link" tag.
  • Hit Ctrl + V (Command + V on Mac) to paste the URL to the original file.
Fill out the other required fields and save the article. When you view the result, you should see the small file embedded in the article. Clicking the file will open the original image in a new tab or window. It shouldn't take much to get used to this system, making for hassle free media embedding.

Comments and Subscriptions

Nickel's comment system is not unlike others. If an article has comments enabled, signed in authors may leave a comment. They may also update or delete their own comments. Updated comments do not preserve backups, but they do add a note to the comment that it has been changed. Administrators may update or delete any user's comment.

Comments use the same markup as articles. They even have their own markup bar. However, media embedding is not allowed in comments. The comment form does not provide tools for uploading or adding file tags like the article form does. "File" tags are ignored in comments.

For articles that have comments enabled, registered users may subscribe to their threads. To subscribe to an article, simply click the "Subscribe" link. If you are subscribed to an article, you'll notice that the link reads "Unsubscribe" instead. Clicking this will remove your subscription. When a user is subscribed to an article, they will receive an e-mail notifying them when replies are added to the thread, along with a link to the article and unsubscribe instructions. The subscribe link does not appear for articles that do not have comments enabled.

Data Backup

If you have backups enabled in "Settings.cs" (recommended), then a date and time stamped backup of your data is made every time a change is made. This includes article edits, adding comments, user profile updates, etc. If anything ever goes wrong and your data somehow gets corrupted, all you have to do is this:
  • Find the most recent, good data file in "App_Data/backup".
  • Copy the file to "App_Data".
  • Delete "Data.json" from the "App_Data" folder.
  • Rename the backup file to "Data.json" to take place of the original.

It's that easy, but hopefully you'll never have to do it.

Last edited Nov 11, 2010 at 10:49 PM by BanTheRewind, version 21


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