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How To Create Shortcuts

Radio is a tool for creating weblogs. Duh. But do you know that Radio also delivers a complete content management system? In its current version, Radio partly hides that power 'under the hood' of the processing engine - not to keep the power from us but so we don't feel we have to become an expert mechanic when we would rather just turn the ignition and drive.

The Shortcuts feature (accessible from the Radio Command Menu at the top of any local weblog page) allows you to create names or labels that are associated with longer names, texts, links, images (or just about anything you want). Then, when you enter the label into a weblog or a story, Radio will automatically substitute the associated content for the label.

To Create A Shortcut

1. Go to the Shortcuts page by clicking on the Shortcuts selection from your Radio Command Menu.

2. Enter a Name and a Value for something that you would like to use as a shortcut.


In the screen above, I have entered the name 'Back Up' and a phrase that I want to associate with that name. Notice that Radio gives us the same text entry area that we use to create weblog posts or stories. You could - if you wish - embed an entire post or story as a shortcut.

I have created a link here that will take my readers to a topic on backing up Radio files. (My reason is that I periodically suggest a backup, so why not save myself some keystrokes as well as having to construct a link over and over again to the same topic?)

3. When you are satisfied with your shortcut, select the 'New Shortcut' button under the text entry area. That's it. Done.

Browsing, Editing and Deleting Current Shortcuts

You can inspect and manage your shortcuts on the same page in Radio. The screen below shows my current shortcuts immediately after I entered the 'Back Up' shortcut.

To delete a Shortcut, click on one or more of the checkboxes to the left of a shortcut. Then, select 'Delete'. You won't be asked to confirm your choice so make sure you want to delete a Shortcut before you do so.

To edit a Shortcut, just click the edit button to the right of the Shortcut of interest. This will reload the Shortcut into the text entry area just as it was when you first created it. Just repeat the steps I gave you above for creating a Shortcut and reselect 'New Shortcut' when you are done editing.

Setting Shortcut Preferences

Did you notice that my current Shortcut list displays several titles of stories that I have written and then a link to that story? Take a look at 'How To Buy Radio' and its link to the right.

By default when you first install the product, Radio will create Shortcuts automatically for every story and every weblog post that contains a title.

You can specify your own preferences for managing Shortcuts:

1. Select the Preferences link from your Radio Command Menu. Then click the 'Shortcuts' option within the Weblog section of the Preferences page.


2. At first install, Radio checks all three of the boxes shown below:


Since I am not using an earlier version of shortcuts, I unchecked the third box as per Userland's recommendation. You will probably want to do the same. Userland provided this feature as a default courtesy to earlier customers to ensure backward compatability for their work.

Shortcuts Within Radio's Core Application

Radio manages your shortcuts internally within its core desktop application.

Whether or not you feel capable (maybe better: interested) in inspecting, managing or editing them there rather than in your browser interface, you will find it instructive to understand the relationship between the browser interface and the desktop application. Not least, you can inspect more than 600 other shortcuts already provided to you by Userland itself.

 To inspect your Shortcuts in this way:

1. Open Radio within the desktop application.

2. Open the weblogData.root database from the Window menu.

3. Click on (open and expand) the 'weblogData' and 'shortcuts' items to reveal the content of your shortcuts.

You can see here the same shortcuts displayed earlier in this topic from my browser interface.

Do you notice the 'userland' item with 616 items? This contains shortcuts already provided to you by Userland itself. Go ahead and expand that portion of the outline to inspect the items. These can be placed in your weblog exactly the same way as your own shortcuts.

Userland also maintains a public web page listing all global shortcuts here.

Micro-Tip: When You Don't Want Your Shortcut to .... Shortcut

Remember the way that you call for the subsitution of a Shortcut in your application by enclosing it in double quotes like so?

(Before you experiment in this way with Radio, I suggest you backup your content.)

Whoa! Wait a minute! When I enclosed the word 'Back Up' in double quotes (not single quotes as here), Radio saw that as a signal to substitute the associated text I had assigned to that shortcut. But what if I want to display the shortcut text just as text, not for substitution?

The way to do this is to enclose the Shortcut as follows: \"Back Up\" 

So, by entering the word 'Back Up' with the slash-quotes, the final result is ...

"Back Up"

(Alternatively, just enclose a Shortcut in single quotes or no quotes at all .... so, 'Back Up'.

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Copyright 2002 © Russ Lipton.
Last update: 4/10/02; 7:56:19 AM.
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