Skip to main content

The levels of content management

Web ontent management is a challenge that any company with a website consciously deals with. We can divide the physical management of content into four levels.

Level 1 content management: static files
The most basic strategy is to compose static HTML files and transfer these to a webserver capable of serving such files to clients connceting to the website. It is possible to apply stiles to the pages, for example with the help of cascading style sheets (CSS).

Level 2 content management: templates
The next level of content management is if you want to reuse the design of your website by dynamically including content into a frame of finished design, or a template. The content is typically contained in some text file the dynamc page engine can read. Examples of technology capable of this are Server-Side Includes (SSI), CGI, PHP, ASP and JSP. HTML also has a command called “frames” although professional web designers and developers frown upon the use of this deprecated function.

Level 3 content management: dynamic content
The next level of complexity arrives as we want to add even more re-use to the templates, having a template dynamically selecting content source based on a dynamic parameter. This is not possible with SSI as you have to provide each seperate content page with its own physical HTML file [confirm this]. This means two files for any page on your website, one with content, another with design. Many find this to be too cumbersome and end up putting both files inside one, thereby mixing content and design. If a dynamic parameter is possible, one can have the template select and read the content file conditionally, thereby removing the need for its own HTML file.

Level 4 content management: content repository
Now the next step is to remove the content files to replace them with something more scalable. Why does one want to do this? Native files have many disadvantages: they are not versionable, backup-routines require mirrored copies, search is not easy, binary files (like picture and video) can not be wrapped with metadata, there is no fitting access control and the possibilities for collaboration is limited. Instead the content is put inside some kind of repository, most likely a database. Management of the content is thereafter handled by middle-ware which allows the aforementioned lacks of filesystem objects.

A system developer will now see that we have attained the three-level architecture of the Model-View-Control (MVC) pattern. The model consists of the content in the database, the view is provided by our templates and control is implemented in the middle-ware. The MVC is a pattern that offers a healthy seperation of concerns in the CMS.

It is possible to invent further levels of content management, but any complex WCMS will apply some variation of level 4.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Open source CMS evaluations

I have now seen three more or less serious open source CMS reviews. First guy to hit the field was Matt Raible ( 1 2 3 4 ), ending up with Drupal , Joomla , Magnolia , OpenCms and MeshCMS being runner-ups. Then there is OpenAdvantage that tries out a handful ( Drupal , Exponent CMS , Lenya , Mambo , and Silva ), including Plone which they use for their own site (funny/annoying that the entire site has no RSS-feeds, nor is it possible to comment on the articles), following Matt's approach by exluding many CMS that seem not to fit the criteria. It is somewhat strange that OpenAdvantage cuts away Magnolia because it "Requires J2EE server; difficult to install and configure; more of a framework than CMS", and proceed to include Apache Lenya in the full evaluation. Magnolia does not require a J2EE server. It runs on Tomcat just like Lenya does (maybe it's an idea to bundle Magnolia with Jetty to make it seem more lightweight). I'm still sure that OpenAdvant

Git Stash Blooper (Could not restore untracked files from stash)

The other day I accidentally did a git stash -a , which means it stashes *everything*, including ignored output files (target, build, classes, etc). Ooooops.. What I meant to do was git stash -u , meaning stash modifications plus untracked new files. Anyhows, I ended up with a big fat stash I couldn't get back out. Each time I tried, I got something like this: .../target/temp/dozer.jar already exists, no checkout .../target/temp/core.jar already exists, no checkout .../target/temp/joda-time.jar already exists, no checkout .../target/foo.war already exists, no checkout Could not restore untracked files from stash No matter how I tried checking out different revisions (like the one where I actually made the stash), or using --force, I got the same error. Now these were one of those "keep cool for a second, there's a git way to fix this"situation. I figured: A stash is basically a commit. If we look at my recent commits using   git log --graph --

Leaving eyeo

Thirteen blog posts later, this one notes my departure from eyeo after 4 years and 3 months. I joined eyeo around the headcount of 80 employees, and now I think there's just over 250 people there. My role coming in was as operations manager, doing a mix of infrastructure engineering and technical project management. I later on took on organizational development to help the company deal with its growing pains . We introduced cross-functional teams, departments (kind of like guilds), new leadership structures, goal-setting frameworks, onboarding processes and career frameworks.  And all of this in a rapidly growing distributed company. I'm proud and happy that for a long time I knew every employee by name and got to meet every single new-hire through training them on company structure and processes.  At some point, we had enough experienced leaders and organizational developers that I could zoom back in on working in one team, consulting them on  Git and continuous integration

Managing dot-files with vcsh and myrepos

Say I want to get my dot-files out on a new computer. Here's what I do: # install vcsh & myrepos via apt/brew/etc vcsh clone https://github.com/tfnico/config-mr.git mr mr update Done! All dot-files are ready to use and in place. No deploy command, no linking up symlinks to the files . No checking/out in my entire home directory as a Git repository. Yet, all my dot-files are neatly kept in fine-grained repositories, and any changes I make are immediately ready to be committed: config-atom.git     -> ~/.atom/* config-mr.git     -> ~/.mrconfig     -> ~/.config/mr/* config-tmuxinator.git       -> ~/.tmuxinator/* config-vim.git     -> ~/.vimrc     -> ~/.vim/* config-bin.git        -> ~/bin/* config-git.git               -> ~/.gitconfig config-tmux.git       -> ~/.tmux.conf     config-zsh.git     -> ~/.zshrc How can this be? The key here is to use vcsh to keep track of your dot-files, and its partner myrepos/mr for o

Git tools for keeping patches on top of moving upstreams

At work, we maintain patches for some pretty large open source repositories that regularly release new versions, forcing us to update our patches to match. So far, we've been using basic Git operations to transplant our modifications from one major version of the upstream to the next. Every time we make such a transplant, we simply squash together the modifications we made in the previous version, and land it as one big commit into the next version. Those who are used to very stringent keeping of Git history may wrinkle their nose at this, but it is a pragmatic choice. Maintaining modifications on top of the rapidly changing upstream is a lot of work, and so far we haven't had the opportunity to figure out a more clever way to do it. Nor have we really suffered any consequences of not having an easy to read history of our modifications - it's a relatively small amount of patches, after all. With a recent boost in team size, we may have that opportunity. Also the need for be