A few years ago, my good friend, Deane Barker, wrote the Flying Squirrel Book, the official O'Reilly animal book on Web Content Management. I was lucky enough to be invited to write a little sidebar in that book - and the first few lines describes very well how I felt about Content Management when I first got into it. CMS is about putting content into a database and then pulling it out again and presenting it. How hard could that be.
But what I've found is really fascinating is how the CMS often is the center piece of many other systems that needs to integrate in often quite advanced ways while providing editors with capabilities that enable them to produce great content and target it at the right visitors.
Before I joined Episerver, I worked with both SiteCore and Episerver CMS - and over the years I've taken a natural interest in several other WCMs.
Design Pattern: Tag Pages instead of Categories
Episerver categories is one way to deal with taxonomy on a web site. But often I find that I prefer a simpler, more transparent approach of having Tag Pages replace them. Here's how.
CMS Audit Update - Visitor Groups included
Earlier this year Nicola Ayan released a nice little plugin that I instantly liked, the CMS Audit tool. It's a great way to get an easy overview over what is being used where in your CMS. In a talk about my favorite addons I showed it at Episerver Ascend Copenhagen and straight away got a question from the audience: Can we use this tool to see where visitor groups are being used? Well, now you can.
Webcast: Addons In Real Life @ CodeArt
Last week I did a couple of talks at Episerver User Group meetings in Denmark about how I've tweaked my Episerver installation at codeart.dk in order to work as a great blogging platform. I also showcase a few of the addons I'm currently working on. Now I recorded the talk, so if you have a 23 minutes to spare, then grab a coffee and make some popcorn and have a look.
Admin Mode Plugin to Manage Content Type Suggestions
If you have a site with a lot of different content types, it can be a good idea to help Episervers Automatic Content Type suggestion feature along. Here is a basic Admin mode tool - in good old webforms (yes, I washed my hands after I made it) that will let administrators / and super-editors configure exactly which content types to suggest when.
Auto Tagging Using Search
You don't always have to go the full AI route to get AI like results. In this blog post I'll describe an approach I've used several times (and for multiple purposes) with pretty decent results. Instead of classification algorithms, deep learning or neural networks I'll just simply query my favorite search engine.
Content Providers and Flat Content
A classic challenge in many CMS - and also in Episerver - has always been what do you do with large amounts of non-hierarchical/flat content? There has been many workarounds along the way and I was just on my way to make yet another when I discovered a well hidden secret deep in the belly of Episervers UI: The Asset widget (that holds blocks and media items) does in fact have infinite scrolling - which in turn can support incredibly large flat structures!
Understanding Episerver CMS - How are images rendered
When using reusable content such as images, the actual HTML rendering of them can happen multiple places. But when is what used? And how can you customize it?
Gist Content Provider
Always preferring coding over 'real work' I figured that it would be pretty neat if I could just drag and drop my gists on GitHub directly into my blog posts here in Episerver in order to embed them. Naturally, a content provider seemed like the right choice...