Just Put That In The Zip Code Field…: The Ins and Outs of Content Modeling
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Just Put That In The Zip Code Field…: The Ins and Outs of Content Modeling

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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 ...

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.

For example:

* 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.

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Just Put That In The Zip Code Field…: The Ins and Outs of Content Modeling Just Put That In The Zip Code Field…: The Ins and Outs of Content Modeling Presentation Transcript

  • “Just put that in the zip code field…” The Ins and Outs of Content Modeling Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content management integration and consulting Social networking integration Custom design Sioux Falls, South Dakota http://blendinteractive.com/ Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • 6 Evaluation Questions For those of you shopping for a CMS and comparing options. 5 Implementation Tips For those of you implementing or managing a CMS-based Web site. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Modeling Definition #1 The process of converting logical content concepts into editable, storable, manageable, searchable content objects by breaking them down into smaller pieces and Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Logical Content This is the desired end result of a content management requirement. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Object An XML document A database record Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Fidelity How closely does the content in your CMS resemble the logical content you planned on? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Different systems have vastly different content modeling Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #1 Does your CMS allow content modeling or structuring at all? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Why model content at all? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Reason #1 Because different content types need to be STRUCTURED differently. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Structure Between Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Structure Between Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Reason #2 Because different content types have to be EDITED and VALIDATED differently. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Automatic Form Rendering Content edit form in eZ publish Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Input Form Validation Canned and custom validation in Ektron. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Reason #3 Because different content types have to be DISPLAYED differently. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Display Template Assignment Template assignment by Page Type in EPiServer Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Reason #4 Because different content types have to be MANAGED differently. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content types often act as functional Permissions Workflow Navigation Search Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • URL Pattern Assignments URL pattern assignment based on Content Type in Drupal Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Permission Assignment Permission assignments by content type in eZ publish Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Reason #5 Because different content types need to be SEARCHED and ORGANIZED differently. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Organization by Content Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Type-specific Search Parametric search based a content type in eZ publish Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Problems due to inefficient and inaccurate content modeling By that point, it’s often too late…. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Types, Attributes, and Datatypes Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content on most Web sites can be roughly categorized by type. A type shares a common set of attributes and is meant to represent a single, logical boundary around content. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Nomenclature Content Type Content Class SmartForm Page Type Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Types Content types in Drupal Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content types are made up of content attributes. An attribute is a single, logical piece of information that, when combined with other attributes, describes a type of content. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Nomenclatu re Attribute Property Field Element Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Attributes Content attributes in eZ publish. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content attributes have datatypes. A datatype restricts the type of data the attribute may hold. This enables validation and Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Datatypes provide: Validation Editing interfaces Computation Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Attribute Datatypes Content class attributes in eZ publish. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Attribute Datatypes Page Type Properties in EPiServer Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Generic Custom Fields Custom fields in Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Datatypes and Sorting Datatypes tell the system how to treat values while sorting. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Common Validation Needs String is required String is numeric String matches a "canned pattern" (email address, SSN, etc.) String matches a regular expression String falls within a list of valid values drawn from somewhere else String is unique to other content Date is in the past/future Date is in a specific range File is of a specific type File is within a specific size range Value X is conditional on Value Y (if one is filled in, the other can’t Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Modeling Definition #2 Content modeling is the process of converting logical content concepts into content types, attributes, and datatypes. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Implementation Tip #1 Think in terms of content types. Consider the ways different content will need to be edited, validated, managed, searched and organized. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #2 Does it allow you to structure content through configuration or does it require you to write code or modules? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Code vs. Configuration New Content Type in New Page Type in Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Implementation Tip #2 Be careful in re-using content types for logically different content. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Futureproofing is the process of designing your content model in such a way that it can be adapted to new situations with a minimum of pain. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Implementation Tip #3 To futureproof your content, speculate on and list scenarios in which the content might be used now and in the future. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • A Really Bad Idea Things that shouldn’t be there: •Date •Author •Categories •Location •(perhaps) Image Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Implementation Tip #4 To futureproof your content, do not entrap multiple logical attributes into the same implemented attribute Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Implementation Tip #5 Find the right balance. Don’t overstructure your content. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Datatypes Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #3 What datatypes are available to structure your content? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Datatypes are the building blocks of your content. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Strings Simple and formatted strings in WordPress Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Dates Date entry interface in Ektron. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Binary Files Binary file upload in Drupal (top) and eZ publish (bottom) Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Repeating Properties A repeating data table within an Ektron content object. A one-column Matrix datatype in eZ publish. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #4 Can you write your own datatypes or customize existing datatypes? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Custom Datatypes Custom datatype in eZ publish Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #5 How well does it manage relational content modeling? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • DISCRETE content modeling is structuring content within a Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • RELATIONAL content modeling is structuring a content object Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Relational Content Modeling Page Link attribute in EPIServer Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Relational Content Modeling Multiple content selection in EPiServer and Ektron Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Composition Article is related to Articles Title Articles Title Body Articles Title Body Author Title Body Author […] Body Author […] Author […] […] Author was written by Bureau First Name Last Name Name […] […] works for Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #6 How well does it handle hierarchical content? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Publication Issue Section Article Article Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Trees The content folder A pure content tree structure in Ektron in eZ publish Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Question #6 Does it allow any inheritance of content types or values? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Type Inheritance Movie Review Page Music Review Page Title Title Body Body META Keywords META Keywords META Description META Description URL URL Studio Number of Tracks Director Genre Cast Star Rating Running Time Star Rating Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Type Inheritance Movie Review Page Studio Director Cast Running Time Web Page Star Rating Title Body META Keywords META Description URL Music Review Page Number of Tracks Genre Star Rating Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Content Value Inheritance With a pure content tree, setting a value at a specific point will cause content “below” that point to inherit the value until These content objects will inherit the value applied to “News,” unless they specifically override it. Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Evaluation Questions 1. Does it allow the structuring of content? 2. Is it via code or configuration? 3. What datatypes are available? 4. Can you write or customize your own datatypes? 5. How well does it handle relational content modeling? 6. How well does it handle hierarchical content? Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Implementation Tips 1. Think in terms of content types 2. Avoid reusing content types 3. Speculate on the future uses of content 4. Do not combine logical attributes into the same implemented attribute 5. Don’t overstructure your content Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • Blend Interactive http://blendinteractive.com Gadgetopia http://gadgetopia.com Content Management and IA Writing http://blendinteractive.com/services/ cm/ Twitter “gadgetopia” Email deane@blendinteractive.com Wednesday, June 17, 2009