This is a Major Appliance OS release. It contains a number of key features for BLOX Total CMS users. It also marks a departure point for several legacy workflows.

Included Software Packages:

  • BLOX CMS version 1.37.6
  • Page Tracker version 1.4.0
  • Associated Press version 4.13.0
  • Syndication Tool version 1.11.4
  • BLOX Total CMS Client version 5.19.40


As announced about 18 months ago, this version of the Appliance OS is the point where two legacy workflows will be terminated:

1) No longer will you be able to communicate with the Appliances using http:// All communication must be via https://

• This is primarily only an issue legacy MacOS sites using old MacOS versions that are incompatible with the https:// communication library we use. A way to verify that you are OK, check a user's MacOS log once you are running Appliance OS 2.17.0 or 2.17.1. You should see log entries listing:

C https://

If you have that code, you are fine. If not, contact TownNews's Customer Suppport at https://crm.tn-cloud.net/contactlogin/

• This will also be an issue with sites Porting their appliances through the local firewall. Previously it was port :80 that was used, but with https:// it will be port :443

Since this is a local configuration, this is not something TownNews can do for you. The https:// works today, so you do NOT, should NOT, wait until 2.18.0. Make the change today.

2) Sites using the legacy Appliance-based  AP Webfeed Manager for access to Associated Press or Wire content will need to switch to the syndication tool. We have been warning sites of this change for about 18 months and notices were sent to the possibly-affected BLOX Total CMS site's contact on 1/22/2018.

We have training videos and setup documentation available. If you need multiple feeds you may continue to run the AP Webfeed Manager on a dedicated windows based computer, but all instances will be removed from the appliance with Appliance OS 2.18.

This gets sites some great features such as automatic high resolution image download and asset update feature with the feeds send updates or write-troughs. It also improves the overall performance of the appliances. 

BLOX CMS New Features

The browser interface now has an automatic Recovery Save. This is a fabulous feature to prevent you from loosing work when you forget to save edits to an asset. 


The browser interface will now show with content has been placed in Adobe InDesign documents. 

The browser interface will display a special icon when the Adobe InDesign placement has been merged instead of placed as a standalone asset

The browser interface will display a special icon when the asset has been made into an Adobe InCopy assignment. 


We are adding a new inline presentation mode for all asset types, called Short Summary. This new display is great for related stories that you want to be noticeable, but not quite as prominent as a full Summary display. (TNCMS-5794)


There is a new Vertical Gallery presentation mode for collections. This new mode is designed to be mobile-first and optimized for touch scrolling on a smartphone or other device. Each collection item is displayed in a card (similar to how items are displayed in the Paging Gallery) but instead of paging side to side, they are aligned vertically. This new mode uses the gallery ad insert in order to create a new lazy-loaded ad position every X number of items (where X is a setting defined by the site).


The browser interface has a new feature called Cover Art that is specifically designed to add more engagement and storytelling opportunities to article assets. With Cover Art, a newsroom editor can upload an image to the article which will be used as a splash page for that article. In addition to the image, there are also Covert Art design settings, which enable additional design—such as a Ken Burns effect, a parallax scroll, or a sepia tone.


A new "photo sales" option is now available on image assets. By default, it is set to "automatic" mode, which uses a custom algorithm to make a guess as to whether or not this photo should be purchasable. For example, an image asset flagged "AP" would not be available for photo sales. Editors and reporters can also override the automatic setting by explicitly either setting "enabled" or "disabled." 


In the Editorial "Related" panel, assets that are in a no publish state, and which have been added as child, sibling or parent assets, will now show a red box in the related assets list. This will help web editors determine that a related item is not yet ready for the web.

dnp for children.png

The "alert" and "special section" flags are now available on link assets.

The Tagline field/tab is now a fully HTML editable field in the Account interface. This allows taglines to have links and special formatting. It also allows for easy cleanup when rogue users paste text from online into the BLOX Total CMS user account's tagline. 


In addition, the content in the Tagline field is indexed and can be searched in all forms of BLOX Total CMS.

Page Tracker 1.4.0

A change in the web-service used by BLOX Total CMS for Adobe InDesign support advances the workflow of checked-out  on-page assets  to the final workflow stage.

When used properly, this can be a big performance boost. Many sites are configured to Check Out All assets when they open pages so that when they output pages, the output process will check the assets in and advance the workflow.

While that works, both the check out and check in process are slow. Adding a new <forceFinalProcess>true</forceFinalProcess> tag to the output preferences allows Page Tracker to advance the workflow of all assets that are NOT checked-out in Adobe InDesign.

Thus, you can use both the legacy behavior to check in and advance workflows along with this new behavior to catch any that are checked in on final output.

Output preferences

output prefs

The Browser Interface for Page Creation Settings now has a Volume and Issue values for every publication. In addition, there is now a publication schedule for every publication code. Eventually, these values will be used to create automatic volume and issue Text Variables for every pub that has settings. Those will be handled by the BLOX Total CMS client for Adobe InDesign soon. Keep watching for client updates. 


Page Tracker can now do workflow tracking of page progress. There will be a webinar on how to use these features after more of it is added. 

Bug Fixes

Sites using Live e-Editions had an occasional issue where a page from the wrong edition would end up in their Live e-Editions. What happened if pages from two publications were being sent to Page Tracker from Adobe InDesign and nearly the same, Page Tracker internally would name a temporary file and then send that temporary file. Unfortunately, the temporary file had the same name for every page and the naming collision caused the wrong pages to get sent to the wrong e-Edition. This has been fixed.

Associated Press 4.13.0

Several minor changes were made internally to increase the performance of accessing Associated Press Channels. No user facing changes were made.

Syndication Tool version 1.11.4

A bug was fixed in the Syndication Tool that was preventing it from properly applying the workflows specified by the importers. This has been fixed. 

BLOX Total CMS Client version 5.19.40

As with the last major appliance update, we are including a fully QA tested and approved version of the BLOX Total CMS client for Adobe InDesign and InCopy. If sites want to handle their client updates automatically and simultaneously, it is easy to do. 

To use this, have your users' MacOS alias or Windows shortcut point to:

\\ vip \ tcms_indesign_client \ ActiveVersion

Note: the tcms_indesign_client is a hidden directory. You can navigate to it, but you won't see it when looking at your virtual IP address or the dns name for it.

Then as the appliance code gets updated, the Adobe InDesign and Adobe InCopy users will automatically get updated client software. The advantage is completely automatic client updates. For sites that have a hard time keeping the client code updated, this is an ideal solution. In addition, the version sent with the appliance updates will be completely QA tested.

If you want cutting edge features or fast bug fixes, the existing path to the beta (not fully QA tested) versions is how you should continue to go. The BLOX Total CMS team tests these beta versions before they are available on our FTP site. They tend to get updated quickly and you can view the available updates on the BLOX Total CMS News & Updates screen...

News & Update's Client Release Notes

The yellow highlighted area shows the position of the client release notes. These are updated from several times a month to several times a day.

Appliance Specific Changes

In addition to the switch to full-time https:// and the discontinuation of the AP Web-feed agent running on the appliance itself, there are a few other changes in the Appliance version of BLOX Total CMS.

Some sites had issues sending e-mail from the appliance. This has been rectified with a bug fix to the saving of the SMTP settings.

Some of the SAMBA settings were changed from the Appliance 2.17.1 release to allow users of legacy Adobe Photoshop to be able to consistently edit files stored on the appliance. Creative Suite users were not affected by this issue.