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July 21, 2023 Feature Roundup

Current Theme Version: 5.21.16
Current Blocks Version: 4.7.17

Say hello to knowledge base.

We’ve been using our Manifest plugin for awhile now on this very site to handle documentation for all our products. If you’re the type to skip ahead, you can see it working right here.

We’ll be honest, providing documentation and keeping it up to date is a daunting task, especially for a small team like ours. Our team spends a lot of time helping clients through tasks. Oftentimes, we find ourselves answering questions we’ve answered before.

We started creating documentation for some of the most common questions, not only to save ourselves the work of writing the same email over and over, but we could expand and make our answers easier to follow by providing context and images and sometimes even video tutorials. A new problem soon arose, however, like problems are apt to do. Our long-form block and plugin documentation started getting mixed in with this new type of one-off, short-form documentation. It was a pain to navigate and even worse to moderate.

Our solution? Create a new type of documentation altogether. Manifest now has a whole new content type called Answers that’s perfect for this type of documentation.

So what’s the difference?

Manifest documents are designed to be thorough, long-form content. They are related to other documents, meant to be read or referred to sequentially or gathered under the umbrella of an overarching idea. For example, a parent piece of documentation called Event Plugin could gather child articles like Installation, Activation, Setup, Creating Events, Events Block, Calendar Block, Event Cache, and so on. Because these are related articles, there’s navigation to quickly step between them. From an editing standpoint, Manifest document pages can use any blocks in their page layouts and should tell their full story in an engaging way.

The documentation for a block is grouped with other block documentation.

Answers are different. They are designed to be short and highly searchable. We want our users to be able to type whatever they need help with and get their answers fast and accurately.

The knowledge base block on a page.

To set up a knowledge base on the frontend of your site, simply place a Knowledge Base Block on the frontend of your website. All of your Answers show up as cards under a search field, which your users can type in to find what they are looking for.

Answers can also have categories, which show up at the of the card above the Answer title. These correlate answers with each other. A user can click on any of these categories to navigate towards an entirely new knowledge base that only includes cards from the selected category.

The Editing category archive page is it’s own knowledge base that is limited to answered with the Editing category.

When a user searches for an Answer in a category knowledge base, only answers from that category are returned. Instead of a standard taxonomy archive page, Answer category archive pages are their own encapsulated knowledge base that behave like the knowledge base block (see above) – they all have their own search bar and users can click on the categories listed on each answer card to navigate to its respective knowledge base.

An Answer page.

Unlike Manifest documents, Answer pages have restricted block layout options. At this time, the available blocks on an Answer page are:

  • Paragraph
  • Heading
  • Image
  • Gallery
  • Video
  • List
  • Embed
  • Buttons

The available blocks are restricted because the entire body of the post must be searchable. We don’t want to rely on fancy layouts to convey information, we want to make sure its all captured in the text of the Answer. This way, users searching for answers on your site are much more likely to find relevant information, because only text is searchable.

Answer pages also feature automatically generated sidebars, which include each of their categories and other answers from those categories.

The Nitty Gritty

View the entire changelog on