What Is Web Content Management


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Definition of web content management and the most common characteristics of software that comes under this banner

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What Is Web Content Management

  1. 1. What is a Web Content Management System, or WCMS? A Web Content Management System is typically a tool used by both technical and non-technical staff to manage the creation of structured web pages for a web based experience such as an Internet Website, Intranet or Extranet solution The History of Web Content Management In the modern world, we are all used to the idea that we can create our own documents – but if you go back 15 or so years – the only way you could create a website was by understanding ‘HTML’ - which few did. Products like Dreamweaver and Frontpage were not around – which meant that pretty much if you wanted to have a website (internet, extranet, intranet) then you needed someone with technical skills to write it – but not only that - once they had written it you still needed someone technical to change it – as it involved reading HTML code to determine where to add content. As a result of the above – anyone with a website pretty much ran a ‘centralised creation process’ for web content. The ‘norm’ would be that if you had information you wanted on a web page you would send it via email to the ‘web team’ who would then amend an existing page or create a new one (if you were lucky you would get to ‘approve’ the page before it went live – if not you just accepted the formatting of the web team). Web Content Management systems were developed to solve this issue. If you talk to vendors you will hear phrases like ‘decentralised content creation’ or ‘separation of layout from content’. In essence, a WCMS exists to allow non technical staff to create or amend web pages without the need to involve the technical staff. Unlike a Document Management System that does not necessarily enforce a structure on the documents being created – a WCMS typically enforces a structure on the pages being created – often referred to as templates. The structure (representing the layout ‘code’ for the web page) is typically concealed from the editor or author – so that the only task they have to complete is the insertion of content into a ‘blank structured web page’. Whilst products like Dreamweaver and Frontpage have evolved to emulate the above scenario with features such as drag and drop resulting in the generation of code without technical intervention – they should not be confused with WCMS systems. As products it could be argued that they serve a small niche segment of the market for managing web pages. Its hard to put an exact figure on suitability but probably up to 200 pages is the amount of content you could manage via such products (though there are certainly examples of more). It would be more correct to describe such products as ‘website builders’ than Web Content Management Systems. Characteristics of a Web Content Management System A WCMS can be characterised or summarised by the following; it manages small units of information (web pages) – each unit of information is interconnected via a • navigation structure or path. each unit (web page) is defined by its location on the site – hierarchies of information are created by • the location of each unit in relation to all the other units of information within the overall web event. Further definition can be created by ‘verticals’ of navigation that determine the type of information stored under it there is extensive cross-linking between pages – which determines that a visitor can move from one • page to another by means other than the navigation it is focused primarily on page creation and editing - it facilitates content creation, content control, • editing, and many essential web maintenance functions by presenting the non technical user with an
  2. 2. interface that requires no knowledge of programming languages or markup languages to create and manage content. it provides a publishing engine that allows created or amended content to be made available to a • website visitor it often provides an approval process or workflow that ensures that content is validated before it is • released or published to a website. Copyright notice: This document and the version available on the website and its associated content are copyright of quot;contentmanager.eu.comquot; © quot;contentmanager.eu.comquot; 2008. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than the following: • you may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only • you may copy the content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.