Sunday, February 1, 2009

Web Content Management

Web Content Management or WCM in short is one of the more interesting topics on MOSS. This blog aims to provide an overview of WCM, explain what is WCM, why is it special and more importantly, how is it useful for you.

So what is WCM in simple terms ?
WCM is a rich content authoring and management platform. It provides a set of controls and publishing features that allow the site owners to host content centric sites. It takes care of the site branding, publishing, content authoring, workflows etc. WCM forms a part of the Enterprise content management solution, which in turn forms a part of MOSS 2007. It also leverages the Office Word and Infopath.

In short it is a very scalable solution that separates the content and presentation, relieving the burden on the IT department.To better understand the solution that WCM provides, we need to understand the problem first.

Managing a content centric web site is by no means a simple task. In most of the organization, it will be the IT team that will have access to add new pages, maintain the pages and keep the site running smoothly. The content contributor has to undergo the overhead of approaching the IT staff for each and every change. This translates to longer process and higher cost of operation. Many a times the content will have to be edited a few times before it is correctly published.

This is where WCM comes into picture. WCM provides a platform. It defines the site branding, sets the templates, look and feel, authoring rules, publishing rules, workflows, various levels of securities etc.

The content contributor can now focus on his content alone and leave the development hassles aside. He simply submits his data. This will in turn validate the data, start the workflows, approval cycles and finally publish the content without the support of IT staff. The final content will be published in accordance with the look and feel of the rest of the site.
WCM incorporates all features in Microsoft content management server 2002 (MCMS). Microsoft has discontinued providing CMS as a separate product, but instead, it provides the enhanced version ( WCM ) along with MOSS 2007.

Some of the important features of the WCM are listed below.

  • Workflows
  • Search functionality
  • RSS facilities
  • Built in Caching mechanism
  • Supports multiple devices
  • Better Versioning mechanism
  • More events captured
  • Pluggable Authentication
  • Reusable Content
  • Web based management

Having said all this, Does this really make sense?
A content heavy web site will have frequent changes. New pages will be added by various contributors. Managing the new pages, recording the version history, validating data, format etc is a mammoth task. Creating a application to handle the same will cost a fortune. WCM automates most of the processes and brings the focus to what matters the most, the content. This way, the contributor will be able to focus more on the data and be able to publish the content in a quick efficient manner.
The process does not require support from the IT department as the contributor can himself manage the content online. Thus saving a lot of effort as well as money.
In short, WCM saves Time and Money. And that makes a lot of sense.

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