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This chapter is from the book

Site Framework for Content Management Server

A web site or portal needs a foundation, and MCMS allows the developer or architect to lay a site framework that will ensure a solid site in the future. The MCMS framework consists of three main elements. An MCMS site is stored in a hierarchical logical structure based on channels, template galleries, and resource galleries. The channels are used to organize content for site administration and also to create navigation. Channels should be based on the taxonomy you develop for your site, as explained in Chapter 10, "Developing a Taxonomy."

Channels

Channels are containers that can contain web pages or other channels (subchannels). For instance, a human resources site could have channels such as leave policy, benefits, health care, and salary history. The health care channel could have subchannels for medical, dental, and optical insurance.

One way that channels are revealed to users is in the navigation. Unfolding menus may belie underlying channels, as may left navigation with a tree structure. For instance, on the Information Strategies corporate web site, there is a page devoted to books written by the company's consultants (Figure 9.3). The left navigation shows that this page is in the Books subsection of the Resources section of the web site. Users appreciate as many navigational aids as you can provide to keep track of where they are, where they have been, and where they are headed.

09fig03.jpgFigure 9.3. Taxonomy as Shown in Left Navigation


You can expand and refine your channel structure as your project proceeds, but you will save time and effort by starting with a well-developed group of channels (Figure 9.4).

09fig04.gifFigure 9.4. Channels


Do not use a root folder in the channels to store content. You should leave at least one level to store only child folders to make expansion of the site simpler. For instance, if you later choose to implement localization, you will want to create parallel channels for each of the languages you support, such as English, French, and Spanish channels.

Do not use the Site Manager to move pages from one channel to another. This is better accomplished through the browser interface as one of the edit functions on a page menu.

Template Galleries

Template galleries provide a place for site administrators to store the templates used for each section of the site. A channel is likely to have multiple templates associated with it. For an enterprise portal, the human resources channel would have templates for job postings, benefits, and policies such as leave. As with channels, template galleries may have subfolders and be arbitrarily deep. While the template gallery structure often mirrors the channels, it can be different from the channel structure because some templates are used across multiple channels.

You access template galleries from Site Manager and from Visual Studio.NET. Installing MCMS 2002 creates the Template Explorer in Visual Studio.NET, which displays the templates and their properties (Figure 9.5).

09fig05.gifFigure 9.5. Template Gallery


In a typical web site, each template would have dozens or hundreds of pages associated with it. For instance, a product or service listing would be composed of many pages based on the same template. Each template might have several shared resources such as graphics or other design elements that would come from the resource gallery.

Resource Galleries

A resource gallery stores files used by the site, such as shared graphics, audio, or video files. Company logos and trademarks should be stored in a gallery to make them easily available to site editors and template creators. Like a template gallery, the resource galleries can contain subfolders (Figure 9.6). The resource gallery structure may reflect the structure of the template galleries, because the resources are typically used in the context of templates.

09fig06.gifFigure 9.6. Resource Gallery


The resource gallery gives access to objects to many people in the organization. Therefore it is not the place to store files that must be secured or locked to prevent updates. It does not allow granular permissions for users to be managed in the same way as if the resources appeared on a single page in a channel.

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