Custom article types
The custom article feature is a unique and powerful application tool that differentiates the Wide Area content management application from its competitors.
Our ability to create a customised article that can accommodate any content structure allows us to build complex front-end sites without adding technical complexity to the build process. This means that projects can be delivered in a cost-effective way and are easy to maintain.
These articles can be populated via a web page as well as from the management interface, so can be used to capture user-generated content or to create private management pages, as well as to streamline the content creation process via the management interface.
Our ability to create a custom article type that completely reflects the structure of your content is a key component of our application because it enables us to customise content without adding complexity to the process of building a website.
Aside from custom articles, our content management application uses three standard article types to store content and deliver web pages. Within the application these three types are referred to as:
- standard articles - to store and present words, pictures and other assets (video, pdf, rich media,csv...)
- shopping catalogue articles - to store, present and process e-commerce content such as SKU codes and prices
- questionnaire articles - to capture user-generated content and present back as a web pages (surveys, data capture, polls)
Custom articles are derived from a questionnaires.
Questionnaire response article
Included within the article functionality of our questionnaire article type is the facility to create a 'response' article, and this 'response' article can by used either to collect content from CMS users or website users and then present that content as a web page.
This 'response' article can contain any number of fields, which can be optional or mandatory. Each field can collect free text or be option-based, using radio buttons, check-boxes, multi-select or matrix options.
Creating a custom article type (or questionnaire response article) is as simple as building a questionnaire, any front end developer or experienced CMS user can create one.
Our ability to customise the content collection process 'on the fly' means that our application can always be tailored to suit your content creation process, however complex that may be, and regardless of whether that process is carried out via the content management interface or via a web page.
Creating web pages
Our front end developers are able to create web pages from questionnaire response articles by simply presenting answers to questions via our templating system.
Each response article has a unique name which is defined by the user who created the root questionnaire, and that name is used by the templating system to present that customised content form.
Each field within the response article is also attributed with a unique reference, giving the templating system fine-grain control over how each field within each customised content format is presented on each web page.
Our templating system provides us with a simple way of linking presentation to content. Each template consists of html plus a set of place-holders, and the place-holders are represented by a set of instructions that build the web page from the content in the CMS; much like a traditional mail merge function in Microsoft Word.
Even the most complex of web pages can be built using this simple methodology because each page is broken down into a series of blocks. A page can appear more complex by having more boxes on the page; but the production process is the same for each block.
By adding the ability to present content from a custom article within block of content on an html page, we have created the ability to filter and manipulate extremely complex content formats without adding complexity to the web page itself.
This means that the websites that we produce can deliver great depth and value on the front end, without incurring high development costs, bespoke (and therefore legacy) IT developments and ongoing maintenance and support overhead.