Structured Content - Providing granular control over your content
While most content on a site will use the standard WYSIWYG Editor, on some occasions when you want to have a little more control over the content you may choose to utilise structured content.
A screenshot of editing a typical news article, using the structured content approach.
We utilise structured content for many of the modules in Contensis such as news and events ; it allows us to provide a simple form-based approach to content entry, and to have precise validation over input.
Bear in mind validation of input is still possible with WYSIWYG using placeholder settings, but perhaps not quite to the same extent.
Structured content not only produces web pages, but also produces a relational database table in your publishing server with the latest version of the content relevant to that server. For example, if you are on the preview server, or edit server as some of our customers call it, the version published will be the latest edit version; while if you are on the live server, it will be the approved live version.
Publishing the data in this way means that others systems can easily extract and use the data for any purpose and each file of the data can be separated.
One of our customers who use this functionality extensively is Pearson Education; they use the functionality to manage their products. At present there are something like 20,000 ISBNs managed and updated by Pearson staff through Contensis using structured content. As part of the project, a search has been developed that uses this functionality as well as hooking into their backend systems to bring through real-time price and availability information
A screenshot of a standard structured content definition XML file
Any records data can be managed using structured content, and developers can even embed their own .Net web controls within the forms, so if, for example, you wish your users to select a product category from the AS400 backend or a web service, a control can be dropped into the structured content form with a live link.
The make-up of structured content forms is XML, and with a little training you can be managing your data records with all the standard versioning, workflow and auditing of any piece of Contensis content.