Widgets will no longer have local settings per layout. This may impact your site.

(UPDATE: This upgrade has been performed at 29th march 2011 04:00am GMT.)

For the first time ever, we are going to remove a feature from ProsePoint Express, and it may impact your site. Please read this.

We will soon be implementing a change to ProsePoint Express which will remove local, per-layout, settings from channel widgets. (Actually, we are removing local settings from all widgets, but channel widgets are the only ones affected in a major way).

After this change, channel widgets will be configured on a global basis (rather than per-layout as previously) ie. a channel widget will display the same content (from the same channel) across a site and across all layouts.

There is a small chance that the sites of some users may be slightly affected due to having incorrect configuration resulting from this change. Hopefully it will be very minimal. We will be hand patching active sites to ensure a seamless transition. (Any existing channel widgets with different local settings per layout will be split up into one or more newer channel widgets.) However, some trial or disabled sites may slip through the cracks.

After this change has been implemented, users may want to review their site and layouts to fix any discrepancies. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

This is the first time ever that we are removing a feature from ProsePoint Express. Usually we add new features or expand upon existing features. However, in this case, we are removing a little-used feature that is causing confusion amongst users. As a result of this, we hope to make widgets in ProsePoint Express simpler to understand and easier to configure.

Background information

Here's some more background information for those who want the details.

We've decided that having two levels of configuration, ie. global settings and local per-layout settings, for widgets is confusing and counter-productive. Hence we are going to remove local widget settings, and simply have a single set of configuration for each widget. Widget settings will then apply globally for the widget, across all layouts.

The idea of local widget settings was initially conceived for the purpose of making channel widgets very very flexible. By having different settings depending on the layout, a single channel widget could be used differently in each layout to display a wide permutation of stories from many channels.

However, a review of how users were setting up their sites indicated this was not a widely used feature. Users were creating a new channel widget each time instead of reusing existing widgets of each layout. Hence, there was very little usage and benefit from having this feature, but there was a very real cost incurred of extra complexity and mental processing involved. In hindsight, the benefits just weren't worth the costs.

So, we've decided to remove this feature, and have only a single set of (global) configuration settings for each widget.

This will cause us all some short term pain whilst some sites need to be reconfigured, but we hope that it will simplify the usage of widgets in ProsePoint Express and make them easier to understand - resulting in a better long term experience for you all, our users.

Thank you for reading.