What is a portlet?

Portlets placement at the edge of a web pagePortlets are defined boxes of content (text, links, images, etc) that appear down the left and right hand sides of a plone site. Your navigation is a portlet for example. There are portlets at the edges of these pages - see the image on the right. 

You have the facility to add portlets to individual pages but you can also add them to whole sites - meaning that they run through your site appearing on every page. For example, if you added a portlet to the top level folder in your site then it would cascade down to every page in your site unless you told it not to. Portlets are flexible and easy to create and can add a great deal to the usability of any site you are building.

Adding a portlet

To add a portlet you need first to think about where you want your portlet to be seen. Is the portlet you have in mind for your entire site or is it specific to a particular page or subsection?

  • If it's for your entire site then your starting point needs to be your top level site folder.
  • If you're putting it somewhere more specific then you need to start at that page or folder.

Manage portletsOnce you've decided where you want your portlet then you need to navigate to that area and look for the 'manage portlets' button - which you should find at the bottom of your left or right hand column or both (if you have both) - see the image on the right.

Plone portlets menu expandedWhen you click the Manage Portlets button you will be taken to the Portlet Management Interface which presents you with two identical interfaces, one on the left and one on the right. You can get back to your main page view at any time by pressing the return button.

The menu on the left controls portlets on the left hand side of your page and vice versa. The interface has the following options (see image to the right):

Add portlet...

The Add portlet... down box allows you to choose a portlet type. Choosing a portlet will immediately take you to a configuration interface for the particular portlet you have chosen to allow you to configure it. The configuration inteface will vary depending on the portlet you have chosen. See below for a description of the various portlet types and for a short explanation of how to configure them.

Portlets assigned here

This area will show any portlets that are already configured for this part of your site. You can click on any one of them to edit them. You can also reorder and delete them should you want to using the red cross and up/down arrow buttons.

Block/unblock portlets

This menu allows you to block or unblock the inheritance of portlets from higher up in your site or the University site (Plone refers to these portlets as Parent portlets). This can be useful when you want a portlet to run through most of your site but not a specific area.

At time of writing we would ask you NOT to use the Group portlets or Content type portlets drop down menus as we are not supporting their use.

Save settings

The portlet maintenance interface ends with a save settings button - you need to use this to save any changes you've made to portlet order or deletions otherwise they will not save.

See also: Portlet Types and Managing portlets assigned to a homepage (or default view)

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