Inside Brightspot: The Tools Behind the Gear


Each week, our Vice President of Product shares an email with the company that’s filled with the background story on why Brightspot’s features are the way they are. It’s not just how Brightspot works but why its features were engineered the way they were. Not one to keep secrets, we’re sharing her insights with you here, in a weekly column called “The Whys.” From creating vanity URLs to knowing the difference between a document and an attachment, these posts answer the questions anyone who publishes digital content has likely pondered.

Much like Tools, the Gear is a relatively new concept that was added in v4. In the v3 UI, the Gear was a simple "+ New" button in the upper right corner of most forms, so it hasn't traveled too far.

The Gear

In this iteration, we thought of the entire Publish bar as being organized in order of content creation: save, preview, workflow, publish or schedule, and then post-publishing work. The Gear is there for that last stage of activity. Consider it your “stuff you’ll need after you publish this content” option. Another way to think about the Gear is containing "actions" or things you do that aren't directly related to publishing: copying, creating new, impersonating, etc.

The content of the Gear is going to vary widely based on the content type, as well as the business requirements of your project. Generally, though, the Gear will include the following:

  • New [Asset Type]: This allows you to create an all-new, empty instance of whatever the asset (we’ll call it Thing) you're working on happens to be.
  • Copy This [Asset Type]:This allows you to copy the exact asset type you're working on, including all the content in that asset. If it's an Article with a Headline and a Body and a bunch of Tags, your copy is going to have all of that, too.
  • Create Content Template:This lets you create a Content Template of this exact Thing. (I'll go into Content Templates in a fuller Why, but for now, think of them as "Shortcuts." You could make a content template of an article that has your byline on it, or you could make a content template of a section that has 15 modules on it, and then you’d never have to add your byline or those modules again.)
  • Edit in Full:This lets you work on this Thing in a new tab. This is helpful if you've gotten to this Thing via a bunch of embedded forms (for instance if it's embedded in a module on a homepage), and you want to make repeated edits to it independently of the page.
  • Tools:The Tools menu is now located inside the Gear (see more here). <

Some other features and options you’ll see in the gear:

  • If you have Translations in your site, you should also see Create Translation in the Gear.
  • Within Sites & Settings, you should see a History item. We put it there because everyone agreed that a Revision History on Sites was a good idea, but those areas of the CMS don't have a right rail like assets do, so we put it in the Gear.
  • Within Users, you'll see History as well as an option to Impersonate.

There are probably other facets that I'm forgetting, but hopefully you get the point now: The gear is important because it unlocks a variety of features that make using the CMS easier and faster.

About the Author
Meredith Rodkey is VP of Platform Product Management & Solutions at Perfect Sense. She has focused on product management for nearly 10 years, contributing to major Brightspot engagements from U.S. News & World Report to Source Media and Healthgrades. In her previous life, Meredith worked as a homepage editor and writer for, curating a daily experience for millions of users.
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