CMS offers a rich set of features that form a compelling reason to purchase this product. These fall into two broad categories: design features and content features.
The design features of CMS include the ability to create templates that define the layout of the pages for your Web site. These templates will contain placeholders for content that is created by your business users.
The content features of CMS include the use of two tools to which we'll refer from time to time in this book: the Web Author tool and the Authoring Connector tool. These tools allow business users to create and manage content efficiently and effectively. Using the Web Author tool, users can:
The Authoring Connector can be used to submit a Microsoft Word document to the Web site and associate that document with a particular task that has been created in the Web site. When the author selects a task, the task itself will perform the required functions, abstracting the author from the workflow required to correctly publish the document to the Web site. Hence, it becomes as simple as using Word to create the document and then submitting the document under a chosen task to ensure the document is approved and published as desired.
Other features of CMS include the ability to schedule content publication for a future point in time. Pages can be expired or set to remain on the site indefinitely. Moreover, before content is actually published, authors will have the opportunity to review exactly how that information will appear on the Web page, giving the author the ability to ensure that the information is both technically and visually correct.
CMS is integrated in Visual Studio .NET (VS.NET). The integrated development environment allows you to create and maintain CMS templates in VS. In addition, full support for template debugging is included in the VS debugger. Finally, template files can be managed and secured using Visual Source Safe or third-party source control tools. This allows your developers to maintain template integrity in a multideveloper environment. In addition, CMS also allows for third-party integration by using the .NET framework, Web services, and support for Extensible Markup Language (XML).
CMS also allows for a rapid deployment of a large Web site. In addition, CMS offers flexibility in quickly changing data across a large deployment to meet changing needs and demands. And because content can be kept up-to-date, visitors will find the site more informative and useful, leading to an increased positive end-user experience.
At a detailed level, Table 1-1 offers an overview of the new features that can be found in CMS 2002.
In short, CMS offers three overall features that form the foundation for an excellent e-commerce site:
In addition to these features, you'll find that CMS stores content as objects, enabling reuse of content throughout your site. Because of the template-driven nature of presenting content, you'll also be able to target which content appears based on audience membership, device, and/or individual account information.
You'll install CMS on top of Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 or later. For developers, you'll install CMS on top of Visual Studio .NET.
CMS dynamically generates Web pages from content objects and templates. But there are other components that ship with CMS 2002 that increase productivity for business and technical users. These components speed up site development, simplify integration and interoperability, and provide rapid deployment. These components are:
There are a number of possible deployment scenarios. Each scenario will depend on the site requirements, the size of your organization, and the resources available at the time the site is deployed.
CMS is highly flexible and can be used in any number of situations to enhance Web site design, deployment, and timeliness.
In this book, we'll discuss each feature of CMS and illustrate how to use the tools and the product to deploy sites more quickly and more efficiently than ever has been possible.