One of the things I’ve always been interested in that I find most critical to content management implementations, is the ability (or inability) of a CMS to accurately model your content. Systems vary widely in their ability to accurately reflect the real-world content that they’re intended to manage.
* How well does a CMS allow you to structure content? Does it have any ability to manage different content types? Through configuration, or through custom module development?
* Can it structure content at all, or is everything an amorphous “page”? What are some common datatypes you might use to model content? What datatypes are offered by various systems?
* Can a system automatically generate input forms for your content? Can it validate these input forms? How usable are the forms?
* How well does a system allow you relate content to other content, and in what ways?
* Can you content pick up properties or attributes from context? Does the content object’s “place” in the content structure of the site allow you to derive information about it?
* Can a system allow you to easily compose content from separate component content objects?
* Can a system let you have repeating properties? Can you create “subcontent” to represent parent-child relationships between content objects?
Time spent on content modeling advance of a project is recouped many times over during the course of the project.
However, the real time-savings comes after implementations when you begin to modify the system. Model your content poorly and you can paint yourself into a corner when you find that 20,000 pages haven’t been structured in such a way that you can find all press releases issued in
October 2004 that mention your discontinued product line.
This slide deck examines the theories and best practices behind structuring and modeling your content, an overview of how different CM systems handle this, and best practices to “future proof” your content and maximize its utility both now and into the future.
This slide deck is non-technical – there are no code samples or information on programming. It is comprised of practical, real-world examples of content modeling problems, anecdotes about what has worked and what hasn’t, and a highly visual analysis of how different content management systems allow you to model content.