Intelligent web publishing



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Of all the reasons to move your static website to a dynamic content-management system (CMS) website, I believe the most potent is what I call ‘intelligent web publishing’.

Business is an activity and websites need to reflect the details and direction of that activity. Enabling the publishing of this information - often in small chunks - is what a good website should do.

If your business has a static website, the publishing process is arguably somewhat limiting. New information has somehow to be slotted into place without tampering with the existing HTML markup, normally a job only for your website developer. (Add a new page and it might be necessary to modify twenty other pages so that they each include a link to the new page.) Additional cost and a likely delay are inevitable.

Wrapping your website in a CMS can by-pass this sort of rigmarole, putting you in control of the publishing process.

But adding a new page to your site is only part of what a CMS offers. Smaller pieces of information - no less important than a full page - can also be catered for … and with some quite astonishing ‘intelligence’.

For example, this website consists of a range of different publishing ‘categories’. There are traditional pages and blog posts; there are also separate quotations, website projects and software projects. These last three are custom-coded to hold distinct pieces of information (a title, text, an image, a link, a reference or whatever). Each is also coded up to occupy a specific part of the site. Each component of these different bits of data is assigned a visual style (colour, font, layout etc.) so that when I add a new item to one of these categories I don’t need to remember any of the underlying details: I complete a simple form and - drum roll - the stuff is published to the site exactly where it belongs in exactly the style that I specified.

The power of this process is genuinely astonishing. Once a website is configured to do this, it’s tremendously easy to use. Seeing the newly-published information slotting into its correct place, adopting the visual styles that have been given to it, is such tremendous fun. For the website owner it’s just form-filling. You can’t ‘break the system’ or ‘mess up the site’; it’s bullet-proof.

The Five Star CMS website package that I offer includes the possibility of configuring your website to behave like this. You can also add it to the Four Star CMS website package.

So if your business deals with ‘structured data’ that needs updating more than just once a year, ‘intelligent web publishing’ with a smart CMS like Drupal may be exactly what you need.