Microsoft Content Management Server is a new Microsoft product that optimizes the process of creating and updating Web sites by recognizing that a variety of people with different skill sets contribute to this process. Content Management Server recognizes a number of different roles, and provides user interfaces and an architecture that solve many of the traditional interaction difficulties between the people in various roles.
These interaction solutions take various forms. In some cases, the best solution is to isolate the tasks performed by the various roles, effectively minimizing the amount of interaction required. For example, the Content Management Server architecture provides templates that page designers use to perform page layout abstractly. A set of these templates is made available to content authors. The content authors simply drag the content they've created into the appropriate template.
In other cases, the best solution to role interaction difficulty is to create user interfaces that provide a workflow between the different roles. For example, after a content author has created a new page by dragging their content into the appropriate template, they use the user interface to submit their new page to the appropriate editor for approval. The editor is provided with a user interface through which they can see the pages awaiting their approval, and through which they can perform their review and either accept or reject the page. Accepted pages proceed to the next step in the publication process, and rejected pages are returned to the content author for the appropriate revisions.
This section of the chapter explains how the role-centric architecture of Content Management Server provides a good solution to many of the problems inherent in the process of creating and updating Web site content. It is organized as follows:
- The Basic Idea. At the core, the basic idea behind Content Management Server is simple: use the Web site as its own work environment. The people who produce the Web site content are given privileged access that allows them to create and edit their content in their browsers by selectively placing the Web site in authoring mode. This section further describes this experience from a user's point of view, and introduces the Web site infrastructure that makes this possible.
- Concepts and Terminology. Content Management Server has a unique architecture that is designed to address the optimization of role interactions. This architecture introduces a number of new concepts and terms that are somewhat different than more traditional Web site architecture. Gaining sufficient understanding of these new concepts and the associated terminology is necessary to understanding the various roles defined by Content Management Server.
- Roles and Rights. Dividing the tasks associated with creating and updating Web sites into different roles and different areas of responsibility is central to the design of Content Management Server, and is touched upon in the section "The Basic Idea." This section discusses these roles in greater detail and discusses how people in different roles contribute to the process of creating and updating a Web site. Understanding these roles is crucial to understanding the functionality provided by Content Management Server.
- Creating a Content Management Server Web Site. Given a basic understanding of the Content Management Server architecture and roles, this section summarizes the steps, performed by people in different roles, involved in using Content Management Server to create a Web site.
- Content Management Server 2002. Microsoft released Content Management Server 2001 in the summer of 2001. Work is currently underway on the 2002 version, but it will not be released until several months after this book has been published. This section discusses the ways in which the 2002 version will be different than the 2001 version.