January 31, 2022

Howdy Friends,

As we work towards our larger Theme Options Reboot, there are several substantial features we have already completed.

Instead of waiting until the full vision is complete, we've decided to release them just as soon as they are ready.

Last month I gave you an overview of Components, and this month I wanted to briefly touch on Parameters.

Parameters Explained

Any Element will be able to have Parameters added to it, and you can think of a Parameter as a way to represent any arbitrary value you might want to change within the context of an Element.

When a Parameter is added, a new Inspector control will appear that lets you manage the value, and each Parameter has a type (text, color, image, etc) which determines the Inspector controls you (or your client/users) sees to manage it.

A Parameter can be accessed by any child Element via Dynamic Content, and if, for example, you add a Parameter on a Section called "Call-To-Action-URL" — you could use this by entering {{dc:param:call-to-action-url}} in any link control, in any Element, somewhere in the section.

Parameters don't have to be used in conjunction with Components. They could just be added to normal Elements to create a new way of managing the data.

What's more, Parameters can define lists of data, and those lists can be passed into Looper Providers! You can even loop over the same data multiple times from different child Elements.

Ideas & Inspiration

Components and Parameters are game changing for the future of website building. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Level-Up Your Existing Designs - If you are someone who keeps a collection of custom Presets, you will love Components. Imagine a Preset, but when you change it, every instance of that Element is updated across your entire site. This has been a huge feature request!
  • Stay Focused - Locking Elements and using Parameters will let you hide hundreds of Inspector controls that are no longer needed in your design process. You can quickly put together pages with your own building blocks, all without being weighed down by having to sift through irrelevant options.
  • Stay Organized - Parameters let you setup a "home base" on any Element where you can update important values. For advanced designs it isn't uncommon to have a Section with dozens of descendant Elements inside it. Parameters let you create new Inspector controls that can reach down to the deepest parts of your Element tree and populate settings.
  • Enforce Consistency - When using a Component, one change affects every like Element on the site. This means you won't have to go to every page where you used a technique just to change a style.
  • Roll Your Own Design System - Once you've built up a small library of commonly used components on your site, you can use them to create content that follows your design rules.
  • Keep Experimenting - With Components & Parameters, small adjustments propagating to every corner of your site will let you quickly try new design ideas. Faster experimentation means faster trial and error which means faster results.
  • Design Your Client's Builder Experience - This is a big one! Parameters will let you determine what aspects of the design a client will be able to modify. Their Cornerstone experience could be limited to clicking on top level Section Elements and only seeing a few content related fields in each one. This empowers them to make changes but protects them from accidentally breaking the design of the page.

Here's an example of Parameters with the new Locking feature.

What's Going On...

  • Starting with an existing design with nested layers of Elements.
  • On the Section, Parameters are defined for two pieces of content.
  • Dynamic Content is used on the respective design Elements to connect them with the Parameters.
  • The Section is locked, meaning nothing inside can be modified.
  • Changing either Parameter will update in the design.

As you can see this is a massive step forward in how sites are built and accessed. This will be critically valuable for those building sites for clients or other users.

We're also looking forward to feedback from our intrepid beta testers, especially with Parameters, as this is definitely a more advanced feature.

Components, on the other hand, replace Global Blocks and will quickly become an indispensible part to the site building experience.

And just as a reminder, all old Global Blocks will work seamlessly with the new Component Builder!

Beta Timeline

The Component/Parameter update is just around the corner, and we expect to start beta testing by the middle of the February, possibly sooner. Stay tuned for the announcement!

Until the task is finished,