Content Glass (CG) is a platform and API for creating State Oriented Sharing apps. The Content Glass app is required as the core API for running CG-Button, ready-made Add-On apps and/or your own custom made add-on and stand-alone apps.
With Content glass users can share widgets with friends on top of your website. In addition you can share widgets with all users.
With Content Glass you can create custom-made widgets for your store function as add-value e-commerce tools. And you can also create sophisticate apps running on your store-front and extending its functionality.
This way you can extend your website based on your special requirements, add features, editors, special widgets, and generally seeking - custom apps, without changing the code of your website.
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:
- Web client users manual - a guide that provide basic understanding of CG web apps (e.g standalone Vs add-on) and provide basic knowledge of CG-Button functionality.
- Managed app users manual - a guide that explain the concept of CG managed-app (as in the case if this Shopify app) and scan the basic settings of the app you are going to install.
- Widgets users manual - a guide that explain how to use widgets provided by CG-Button. While working with widgets such as note or video box may be handled intuitively, working with other widgets such as Personalization, Shopping list, connectors, HTML-Box etc' may requires some guiding which is intend to be provided by this users manual.
* Content Glass books are in evolving state. It is recommended to visit from to time to update with new chapters.
Content Glass Account
Content Glass account is created automatically when you install this app. When you uninstall the application the account persist so you can come back in the future for the same settings. In the case of uninstall and reinstall the same account will be used that is associated with the Shopify domain name of your store. 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 email@example.com. 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 let you access services portal and manage the Content Glass application you install as well as managing Content Glass Add-On, setting 3'rd party add-ons on your app, and using other services permitted to managed-app clients. In addition this account grant access to Content Glass client features that are not available for all users for example - moving widget to public layer so that it can be viewed by all visitors on your website. If you want to cancel your account you can do it from your user's profile page (see "my account" link). 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. 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.
The sharing tools
When you first install this app, and if all works fine, you will see a button like widget on the right side of your screen. This is CG-Button or a sharing tool that let you and your store visitors to share widgets on top of the website. As store admin you are the only user that is allowed to shared widgets that will be exposed publicly. Other users can share widgets that will be exposed only with their contacts.
Preferences & Settings
The application preferences is managed on a dedicated portal assigned for your install on www.contentglass.com. This portal let you change various settings of the sharing tool, as well as making special configurations such as defining pages where all users can share publicly and define URLs for manifest files of custom CG add-on apps.
Settings portal also integrate with CG Add-on apps, and is an entry point for various settings of add-on apps, including payment when applied.
Changing or hiding the sharing tool
The sharing tool presented on your website is in fact a case of an app developed on top of Content Glass platform. Using the preferences page you can either change the active app or hide the sharing tool ("headless app").
There are currently three available apps: 1. Sharing tool for e-commerce that contain limited set of widgets one can share(the default)
2. General sharing tool with more general, including experimental widgets.
3. Headless app - does not show the sharing tool, and is used for cases when CG is required to run in the background for supporting various add-ons app, but without exposing sharing tool.
Disabling CG API
It is possible to disable CG client API temporarily also without performing uninstall to the app. This way your account and all of its settings is kept. You can do that by changing application status to "Uninstalled" state in the preferences page. This in fact remove the script that embed CG client API in your website. You can later change back to "Installed" state that will re-install the script. Note that if you are using add-on and you change status to "Uninstalled" the add-on(s) will not work either. * Note: currently we keep your settings also if you uninstall the app from your Shop dashboard. So data is kept and will be used again if you install the app again. In the future this may be change.
Content Glass (CG): a software platform for creating state oriented sharing apps. This platform is currently focused on web technology, and have experimental section on mobile technology, but is intend to run on multiple environments.
CG Websites: the primary website used by Content Glass is www.contentglass.com. There is another website currently used mainly for holding documentation that will be used in the future by CG apps developers: developers.contentglass.com
Content Glass App: An app created using one of CG APIs (web, mobile, desktop, other...). As for web environment, CG API contains an application platform in which apps can be described by manifests and imported and activate by CG API run on some website. (see Add-on below).
CG-Button: CG-Button is currently the main sharing tool that is used by website users to share widgets with contacts. It is also used by website owner to share widgets publicly. CG-Button is in fact an instance of CG app. It is a web application run on top of CG web client API. Other then providing widgets gallery from where user can select widget for sharing, the sharing tool also provide various views such as a view for connecting with user's social-account for getting contacts to share with, a view for selecting theme, preferences and other. There are variations of the sharing tool. The default variation activated by this app is a variation with limited set of widgets. Using the preferences portal you can change the installed sharing tool, or hide it completely.
Content Glass Add-on: CG app that uses the CG client API can be set to accept add-ones. An add-on is also an application, probably using some of CG API, that can be loaded automatically by CG API run on a website, and activate to provide some extended functionality to a website. When you install this app, you actually provide your website with a framework for running multiple custom-made and/or ready-made CG add-on apps. Add-on app can be used to provide special widgets, special editors or other fully functional apps. Rhizome Networks is providing both:ready-made add-on apps, suitable for many stores, and custom-made add-on apps, created according to specific needs. CG can be used by other developers to created add-ons. If you are such a developer please contact.
Content Glass Services: As a platform CG combines client-side API together with SaaS based services. The 'services' refer to the part of CG that run on www.contentglass.com and provide multiple functionality, part of it under construction. Maybe the easiest example to understand is the preferences page for this app. This preferences page is in fact a CG service name 'managed-app'. This service perform the integration between CG client API installs and the other CG services. So when you install this app, internally there is a process of on-boarding to CG services. An account is created on www.contentglass.com, and various entities are also created that later allow the integration between the 'client' side and the 'services' part. Some examples of the services either experimental or other constructions: 1. Widgets report: show report of widgets shared on your website. 2. Interest Group: Subscription based groups for sharing information among users not necessarily connected by social-networks and have a shared interest. The sharing may occur cross the web. 3. Groups management: a service that will provide the option to create groups with whom store owner can share widgets. For example you may want to be able in the future to share widgets with store subscribes that you don't show publicly. The groups service will allow this.
Social Account: When using the sharing tool it is required to be able to select contacts with whom widgets can be shared. The social-account is the mechanism the do this. In addition as a store admin CG need to knows that you have some special permissions. This is also handled by the account mechanism. When you install this app, an account is created for you on www.contentglass.com. This is the account required for integrating your app into CG services. Later when you want to share widgets with website visitors, you should use this account so that CG knows to load the information indicating you are the store owner. For end users it is not required to create CG account in order to use the sharing tool. Users can also use their Google or other account to get list of contacts. However, creating CG account will expose users to the most advanced sharing functionality. For example having the ability to subscribe Interest-Groups and having the ability to create sharing relations dynamically (without having a predefined contact).
Embedded tags: The embedded tags is a mechanism that you can use to bind the HTML code of your website with CG functionality. For example it can be used to set HTML button tag on your website that when clicked is creating a Note widget. Live example can be shown here
CG Browser Plugin: the browser plugin is a version of CG-Button sharing tool that can be used to share across the web, on any website that support the execution of embedded scripts. For example you can share widgets on google.com or YouTube. As shop owner you may need it if you will using the Interest Group service, to share widgets associate with the interest group that will be assigned to your store. You can download and install Content Glass Chrome plugin here.
Short summary of things you can do
Finally before jumping to the heavy explanations here is a list of few of the things CG can be used for on your Shopify website:
End user sharing: Content Glass App let your shop's visitors, share widgets with each other on top of website pages.
Share widgets with public: As an admin you can share widgets with the public. Simply connect CG social-account using your admin user/password, create a widget and set the layer to be public using widget menu. This way you can share text-box, note, video, image, personalization-settings or any other widget available by ready-made or custom widgets gallery.
Ready made add-on apps: Two Content Glass Add-Ons are now in the process of development and will be launched soon: Product-Bundles and Store-Navigator and more will be added in the future. You will be able to install these add-ons once ready either from managed-app portal or from Shopify apps directory.
Custom add-ons can be created and setup in your managed-app portal (the page where you set app preferences). Custom add-ons can be used for adding special widgets to your website, or fully functional add-on apps. For example noniades.myshopify.com has two custom add-one, one for sending Poem e-cards by users and one for writing poems that are added as products to the shop.
Custom CG apps can be created and add to your website with iframe. For example noniades.myshopify.com store has a custom app for sharing the process of writing poems in live and also off-line. This app provide type of sharing-board that It is used by various poets to run live writing sessions every week.
Interest-group can be created for your account that let you share related issues with group subscribers on top of other websites including search-engines. (A project that will be start soon)
In my opinion Content Glass is much more than a sharing tool or platform. It is a concept for creating multidimensional web. Of course, it is new technology, parts of it are still experimental, it requires some learning curve, it present functionality that may not fit into known schemes used regularly to understand web experience, and there is no huge team working on this vision using someone else invested money. In fact, it is currently developed and maintain by single person using a funds earned from freelance work given to other company. Accordingly if you would like to adopt in into your website you will need some patience. If you have some and you want to get into it, you will find CG to be the tool that can extend the dimensions of your websites much beyond the ordinary tools can do.
State Oriented Sharing in Few Words
State Oriented Sharing is a methodology of sharing and distributing data in the context of defined states of physical/virtual objects, events and generally speaking things in the world. A state may be a URL, product, some code, a poem, view, place, location, time, user property or a combination of these and other. Content Glass app is using widgets to share information and data in the context of states. This can be ready-made widget or custom-made. State may be simple, e.g. page URL or composed of multiple factors. Web page may present multiple layers referring to multiple states based on some conditions. State define the conditions for showing the shared data. So if for example you shared widget in the context of domain URL, it is required for other users to visit one of the domain URLs in order to see the widget.
What can you do with Content Glass?
Content Glass App and Add-On installation
- Use CG-Button: cg-button is in fact and use-case of Content Glass app that present a button on a web page and provide a container for showing setting views. You can use CG-Button to share widgets with your visitors. On the other end visitors can use it to share widgets with their friends. These widgets will only be visible to designated user contacts. By default you are the only one that can share widgets with the public. However using the preferences it is possible to define pages on your website that will be used as public boards.
- Running Add-On apps: CG web API is a platform for creating apps running on a website. These apps run in CG container and are not part of website code. Add-On is any app that uses the CG container to load and run on top of your website. Add-on may use the sharing engine but is not mandatory, For example "Product Bundles" add-on uses widgets to represent bundles of items. It is using CG views to present editor for editing the bundle, and is using the sharing engine to invoke the bundle widget at some condition (the state) so that bundle algorithm can run and and show notifications to user.
- Custom made Add-on: You can also develop your own add-on, or contact with us to create for you some add-on for specific usage. Custom add-on is similar in concepts to add-ons provided by Rhizome Networks, however the settings procedure is different. For example, poem-gift-eCard on noniades.myshopify.com is a custom made add-on created specifically for this website and provide the functionality of creating e-cards that combine a poem, text dedication and self recorded video.
- Stand alone apps: stand alone app uses the CG Application API to run a complete stand-alone app on a website (or in an iframe). The difference is that you have greater measure of control of your app - for example you can control the entire process of rendering widgets by creating custom Glass engine. And of course stand-alone app can be used to run other add-on apps. This application! is an example of stand-alone app. Also the share-poem app presented here: Share Poem App is an example of stand-alone app running in an iframe and allow poets to to present live sessions of writing their poem.
- Multiple widgets: CG-button provide multiple ready-made widgets. while some of the widgets are still in their experimental stage, some other widgets can already be used on your website either by you or by your visitors. For example Shared-Shopping list, Notes, VideoBox, PictureBox and more. Widgets may be concern as mini-application for establishing sharing of data or some other task. When user share widgets with friends the widget will be presented on your website depending on the URL and only for the friends with whom widget has been created. As admin you can create public widgets that will be presented to all, and also define specific pages where widgets will be available for public sharing by visitors
- Custom made widgets: Widget API is very powerful tool for extending your website without being depends on the website code. Widgets run by Content Glass container and are not part of the actual website. It means that by creating custom widget libraries you can extend your website and make it much more than e-Commerce.
- Triggering CG operations from HTML elements in your website: CG uses special attributes to detect elements in the DOM that need to be registered for triggering various operations. For example you can add HTML code for a button in some page of your website that will be detected by CG API as a button for triggering the creation of note. This way when user click this button CG will create a note widget. If you want to see live example take a look at the public board here: The Noniades Wall . The buttons you see from the right-side are HTML code added on page and set with special tags to invoke CG operations.
- CG Frameworks: the frameworks are actually specific CG applications that work enclose with CG API. One of the frameworks that is already embedded with the E-commerce CG-Button is "Expert Glass" - a framework that let visitors of a website join into experts network. As experts these visitors can receive queries from other visitors and help with the shopping process either by answering questions or by getting into live-session. The framework is still experimental and we are still looking for candidates that want to try it, possibly in combined with affiliation methodology so that experts are affiliates. Don't worry about missing knowledge regarding affiliate networks. I can help you integrate with systems like HasOffers for that purpose or possibly create a solution on top of CG Services portal. There are other frameworks in plan that you can read about here: Framework Docs
CG Services: content glass service is a SaaS based portal. When you install this app you will automatically be integrated with the services portal. You account gives you access to preferences page of this app but also let you connect and use other services offer by CG platform. Some services are experimental while other are under construction. Some examples:
- Widgets report: view all widgets created on your website
- Interest-group: let subscribers share across the internet (other websites and search engines) in corresponding with subjects related to your website.
- Relations: managing connections with users you can share with
- Groups: managing sharing group, possibly from customers of your store.
- Custom made services: These are SaaS services created specifically for a website. Custom service may be created for example as part of a solution that include custom-made Add-On running on the client and custom made business logic run on Content Glass services server. For example when poem-gift-eCard add-on mention above, is require to send notification email to recipient it is using a code created specifically for this application. Custom made services may have UI or just a business logic.
We will provide multiple Add-ons created by Rhizome Networks. These add-ons are usually serve for general functionality that may be suitable for many stores. Since add-on uses the CG API as a container it is required for these add-on that Content Glass app will be installed. Therefore if CG is not yet installed, when installing the add-on, it will also be installed as part of the installation process. By default when installing CG by add-on, CG is set as headless. It means that the API script is installed but no UI is presented - you don't see CG-Button. You can later change preferences to show CG-Button so you and your visitors can use share widgets. Or that you can keep it headless and use HTML with special CG attributes to perform various CG operations without showing the CG-Button. And of course you can set your own custom add-on apps that may include custom made UI, widgets and functionality. Anyway, it is important to understand that CG add-on requires Content Glass app to be installed since the last one provide the container API. You do not need to do anything special. If Content Glass app is required the add-on installation process take care of it automatically.
Developing AppsIf you need a custom-made app please contact so we can discuss it and make a design and implementation. If you are a developer that wants to create custom add-on apps, please contact. I will work closely with you to achieve the goal.
Confused?Ok, this is understandable since Content Glass is not an app created for one specific task but a platform that is used as container and API for running various tasks and add-ons. Go in small steps:
- Try to share a picture, a note or a video with your visitors.
- Add some HTML button to invoke Content Glass operation for example creating a note that let user share with friend.
- Try to think in terms of sharing contexts. What is the object or event or entity in your website that can be used as the context for sharing data?
- Think of ways you would like to extend your website. Is there any editor you would like to have? Maybe some special widget that holds shopping tool?
- Try to setup public board.
- Does the concept presented by interest group relevant for your store. For example are you selling some niche product in which small group of potential buyers may want to get info also when not intending t purchase?
- Are you thinking of innovative approach for affiliation using experts-glass framework?
- Or maybe the concept of markers-glass framework is something you would like to experiment with?
- Talk with me and we will think together how can you extend your web store in a unique way.
FAQ & Comments to reviewsI found it necessary to create here a section that allow me to share publicly my comments to reviews.
Comments to review by: Pure Hearts InternationalThank you for your review. I will work on improving the app description above. As for the widget set on the screen - indeed, this widget is part of the application and by installing this application you give a permission to show it. This CG-button widget is a sharing tool that let shop visitors the ability to create widgets on top of your website. They can share these widgets with friends and contacts. The sharing tool also let you as an Admin, share widgets with end-users publicly - meaning that all visitors of your website can see. Only admin can share widget publicly, however the preferences page include a section that let you define pages on which all all users can share publicly. This requires special settings of course, and I will be glad to help with these settings if this is a requirement. It is possible to change or hide the sharing tool: On the preferences page you can find a select box that let you replace the default e-commerce CG-Button tool with an other more general CG-Button. The default sharing tool for this app is set with limited number of widgets, more suitable for e-commerce. The general sharing tool contains more widgets. And of course you can change to "headless" mode in which no button widget will be shown on your page. However using the "headless" mode will prevent from you or your users to create widgets. The "headless" mode is used when you want Content Glass to run on your website, service add-ons but without showing the sharing tool.This options will become more useful in the near future when exposing CG Add-ons. The add-on is an app that run on top of CG client API, installed by this app, and provide some additional functionality. In other words an app run on top of this primary CG app (therefore call Add-on). After getting your feedback it seems like a good idea to have another mode for sharing tool that expose sharing tool only to the store admin. This is easy to do and I will add this mode in the future. Using this mode it will not be possible for end-users to share widgets. You are welcome to contact me by mail firstname.lastname@example.org or using the Tickets system as referred by support page. Also please read the welcome email sent to you, that give an overview of things you can do with Content Glass that makes CG a platform for extending the dimensions of your website. Regads Gilad.