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BLOX CMS utilizes two front-end template systems, "Zen" and "Flex". A BLOX site's templates are what makes up the front-end user experience. This article will help you understand the differences between the template systems. 

What's the difference between the two template systems?

Zen Templates

The initial front-end templates, which were available when BLOX CMS launched, were the non-responsive templates titled "Zen" templates.

These front-end templates offered the end user the desktop viewport experience on all devices. If a customer desired a different user experience for tablet or mobile devices, an additional/separate set of templates would be required; a product setup called "Touch 5". 

INFO: According to data released by StatCounter ...

San Francisco, CA and Dublin, Ireland; 1st November, 2016: Internet usage by mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October according to independent web analytics company StatCounter

Its research arm, StatCounter Global Stats finds that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3% of internet usage worldwide in October compared to 48.7% by desktop.

“This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter.

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.” He pointed out that Google recently launched a tool where businesses can test their website mobile performance.

internet stats realized the growth of consuming content via smartphones was inevitable, and in 2015, released it's "Flex" templates. 


Flex Templates's responsive design templates were named "Flex", due to the templates' ability to respond, or "flex", to provide the best possible experience across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). Utilizing Flex templates also offers additional customization options, which make controlling aspects of page design and user experiences easier.

For more information on Flex templates, see: Flex Overview

responsive design

Illustration showing how Flex's responsive design grids automatically adjust to fit the device. 

How to identify what template system your site is using started building all new sites on Flex templates as of 2016, so if your site was built in 2016 or later, you're using Flex.

If your site was built earlier than 2016, or you simply want to know how to identify what template system your site is using, you can take the following steps:

  1. Within the BLOX admin, navigate to "Settings > URLs"
  2. Identify the settings after the URL map name
    You'll notice in screenshot A below, that the name of the URL map (which contains your site's URLs/pages) is named "default". After the name default is a grouping of settings.
    <template library> :: <application intended for this URL> :: <URL skin>
    ex. Site templates :: Editorial :: Base

  3. Determining the templates based on the settings
    If the URL map has "Site templates :: Editorial :: Base", the site is using Zen templates. 
    If the URL map has "Site templates :: Editorial :: Flex", the site is using Flex "site" templates. 
    If the URL map has "Flex :: Editorial :: Flex", the site is using Flex "system" templates.


Screenshot A (example of Zen templates)

zen url

Screenshot B (example of Flex site templates)

flex site templates

In this example, you'll notice that a previous Zen site was replaced by the new Flex site. The active URL map is always at the top and bold. When building sites using Flex "site" templates, the URL map name was most often titled "flex".  

Screenshot C (example of Flex system templates)

flex system template

In this example, you'll notice that a previous Flex site using site templates was replaced by the new Flex site using system templates. The active URL map is always at the top and bold. When building sites using Flex "system" templates, the URL map name was most often titled "flexsystem".  


Flex "site" templates versus Flex "system" templates

Flex system templates were released in late 2015 to help the overall efficiency and speed of our partners' websites. System templates benefit our partner sites in several ways: 

  • Front-end template releases can be deployed in near real-time to add new features, fix bugs or address emergency issues.
  • Template files are now stored in a way to improve local file cache, which may improve performance in some cases.
  • Files will no longer need to be transferred from site to site, improving disk space on servers and reducing server workload.
  • The new deployment system makes it possible to build tools that will help decrease page load time in the future.

Most sites using Flex site templates have already been contacted and migrated over to Flex system templates. Contact Customer Support if you're interested in finding out more about Flex system templates.

Referencing the correct Help site articles

Within the Help site, especially when searching for articles, you'll find that the titles of articles may include (Flex only) or (Zen only), as shown in the screenshot below. This is to help you reference the correct article for your site's templates. 

Articles which do not have these distinctions in the title are written for both template systems, meaning they are either based on software instead of templates, or the article may include information about both Zen and Flex templates in a single article.

Search zen or flex

Searching only for Help articles specific to your templates

If you want to filter your search results to only Zen or only Flex templates, click on Advanced Search within the search bar... 

advanced search

And select your templates within the Templates dropdown menu. 

advanced search

How to upgrade from Zen templates to Flex templates

If your site is currently using Zen templates, upgrading from Zen to Flex requires a complete rebuilding of your URLs and all the elements (blocks, customizations, etc.) on each page. 

Contact your sales representative today to ask about a Flex redesign.