The easier way to understand this is using the desktop metaphor. Think of desktop table. We can put papers and things on the table that relates with various aspects of our work. But what happen if we want to draw on the table, but we don't want this drawing to be scripted on the table?
We can add plate of glass on the desktop and draw on it.
What we actually did, is to create a contextual layer of information, related with certain 'state'. This layer is not scripted on the original table but set on top of it. This layer does not come instead the desktop but in addition to. And we can ad more and more layers, each layer has its own drawings or papers.
This is what Content Glass do. It helps you to stratify websites by adding the capability of adding "glasses" of "content" which are not scripted on the website but are set on top of the website given some condition (we call this methodology state-oriented-sharing).
However the web is made of many websites, so Content Glass also like to create cross web strata of information - layers of data that appears across multiple websites. At the very beginning CG starts with the very basic - a websites and as time go forward Content Glass goes toward generating cross-site strata of contextual information.
Personally when I am thinking of the web, I do not see network of sites. In my vision I see multiplicity of conditional layers, run in multiple directions, sometimes alone and sometime cross each other with points of contact. This is what content glass aim to do - to stratify the world with contextual information.
Ok, but what does it mean practically?
The most general practical implication of Content Glass is that it install and API running on a website, and this API is used as the engine for running Content Glass apps (CG Apps) and content glass Add-On (CG Add-On).
- General CG-Button
- E commerce CG-Button
- Headless CG-Button
These apps run a startup procedure that include a stop of loading zero or more defined Add-On apps. The difference between Cg-App and Add-on app is that CG-App is the top level running container. CG-Add-On is a contained app that can be loaded by CG-App.
And what is the purpose of these apps?
To support the creation of some layers of contextual information and logic that run on top of your website.
This Shopify App is equipped with the most basic CG-Apps. If you want to see other CG-Apps we develop or plan to develop you are welcome to visit our Content Glass Cloud Hub. Visiting CG-Cloud will provide a better overview of Content Glass vision (stratify the world ....).
If you want to see how Content Glass strata starts to evolve and create cross-web traces you should also look on Direct Selling app page that makes the integeration between Shopify and CG-Direct, which is a new CG-App used to create interactive landing pages for increasing engagement with customers and contacts.
Widgets are mini-applications that either draw some view on top of the website or run some logic, given some state. A 'state' may refer to page URL, website domain or top-level domain. In more complicate CG-Apps state can be any combined set of properties, used as a "Condition" for running on rendering Cg-Widget.
For widget to be shared, either you or end-user first need to login in order to be able to share the widget with some contact from your social groups.
Using the widgets selector the user creates some widget that is rendered on the page. The widget is not scripted as part of your website, but is running on a virtual layer on top of your website (as with rendering on glass plate set on desktop, see above...)
Once widget is created you (or the end-user) should relate it with some contact, or generally speaking with some other peer. When your contact login, to the same account a widget was related to, the contact user will also see the widget. In addition, if you both on-line the information on the widget can be changed and shared on-line.
Note that as the owner that manage the app, you are the only one that can share widgets with the public (except for in case of public sharing-board you may set with preferences, and is discussed by documentation).
Other end-users can only share with each other.
As I explained above, when CG-Button app is loaded, it also load add-on apps if these are defined. Without getting too technical I will just say that there are approaches for a website to announce about CG Add-on, need to be loaded. CG-App run some process that discover add-on apps set on website, and then after all add-on has bee discovered it loads and run the add-on apps.
On the preference page you will see some form where you can define add-on apps. Of course that normally you will do it with us or with the developer responsible for developing CG-Add-On for you. In addition we have created methodology to refer to other Shopify apps as an add-on and where have created, three instances of such add-on apps:
To get the most of Content Glass for your website we will have to work together on finding an interesting contextual layers that may make your website unique, and then develop one or more custom add-on, possibly with custom widgets to allow these layers to be invoke lay down on top of your web store. I believe that with today platforms and codding standards you can do many beautiful things, but the dark side of technological progress and proliferation of knowledge it becomes very difficult to be unique. And as a small/medium size brand, if you are not unique and can go outside of the box of giant web-stores then all the sophistication brought by modern web technology worth almost nothing!
This video shows an example of using CG on Shopify. In the YouTube channels you can also find other videos you may find interesting.
For extended documentation please refer to these links:
* Content Glass books are in evolving state. It is recommended to visit from to time to update with new chapters.
1. CG Client API and its primary sharing tool CG-Button will be installed by default on your website. You can later hide it (if it make sense, depending on case).
2. An account will be created for you on www.contentglass.com that will be used for accessing preferences, manage add-ons apps and access other CG services.
3. Your account will be subscribed to newsletter that is used mainly for sending important notifications and updates.
5. Shared information is on user's own responsibility. Rhizome Networks is a software company that deals with software and not with rules. Still, using CG for promoting terror, promoting hate, illegal acts or abuse is forbidden. Use your common-sense, dignity and morality especially when you get the permissions to share widgets related to your business with public group across the web (see Interest Groups). Remember that Content Glass was intentionally created with state-of-mind of not being a spamming tool.
6. You are aware that Content Glass is evolving software and problems may occur from time to time that may affect functionality (for example note you shared as part of campaign is not presented) or may affect your business (for example add-on apps that involve with integrating between widgets and products) for the period until fix. And you are willing to take the risk.
The account is used for setting the application preferences and is accessible from your store app admin when clicking app's preferences link.
Account requires login using the user created for you on first install. This user has a name equals to Shopify domain of your store and Email equals to your store email.
For example if store domain is xyz.myshopify.com than user name for login will be "xyz.myshopify.com", and of course you will have to use a password.
The Email you are using in your store must be valid Email and in the case you are using spam filter you may need to train your spam filter to accept emails from firstname.lastname@example.org.
When account is created confirmation email is sent to your store email. The confirmation email include a link you will use to set your password. If for some reason you did not received this email, check the spam quarantine box. If it is not there please contact support for the purpose of manually setting your password. Remember - your store email must be valid or else we can't contact you.
When you click the preferences link of Content Glass app you will be redirected to services portal on www.contentglass.com, where you can set the preferences for your app. If you already logged-in you will not have to login again. If you are not logged-in you will have to login for accessing services portal, using the user/password received upon install.
Your account is of type managed-app meaning it is set with special role that grant permissions for accessing CG services portal and manage the Content Glass application you installed.
If you want to cancel your account you can do it from your user's profile page. To prevent confusions it is recommended to keep your account if you consider to use the application in the future especially if you made custom settings for adding 3'rd party add-ons. When you cancel your account, account state is set to cancelled however a record of your account is kept.
If you want us to delete your account compactly or that you want to re-activate your account after cancelling you can open a support ticket asking us to help you with required operation.
Application preferences is managed on a dedicated portal assigned for your install on www.contentglass.com. We call this CG service: managed-app. Managed-app service is accessible from app's preferences link on Shopify dashboard, but it can also be accessed from the main menu ob CG website (See Services -> managed-apps).
Here are few of this things you can set from managed-app preferences page: