Currently I am in the process of moving our current CMS to the new application. There isn’t a ton of the CMS that will be changing, but there will be some added features that should make your life easier. In order to prepare you for these changes, I’d like to just cover the direction we are headed. The goal with these changes, as with many of the changes we are making in the applications we work with, is to provide a single place for all users to log in and do their work, in addition to provide added functionality and stability to the applications overall.
The new CMS will all be in one place. There are pros and cons to having in page editing in addition to a CMS back-end. However the manner in which the front-end page editing was done actually added work in the back-end and the only benefit was that it was easy to find the page you wanted to edit and you could sort of see what the page would actually look like. All content editing when we make the change will happen entirely from within the CMS back-end. News/Spotlights, Left Menus, Page Content, etc. From the page editor you will have a link to easily view the page on the website. What we will gain from the page editor being in the back-end is you will now be able to see ALL of the pages on your sites. Hopefully this will prompt you to remove some unused pages if there are any. The new page editor will allow you to create any URL want as well. You won’t be limited to just one folder deep, or asking me to make a folder for you. You can make your URLs whatever you want them to be. Also, all of our page content will be located in the database, which means when server upgrades happen or anything like that, no page content will be lost. Here is a screen shot of the development version of the new page editor.
The menu editor has had some changes as well. The most important change is that you will now be able to edit existing links. I know on many of your home pages you have links to current semester schedule or classroom lists, etc. Well, rather than remove that link and add another and reorder the list, you can simple edit the file the link points to, the text in the link, or both. You can see all your custom menus and edit any of them quickly and easily. Internal page links are no longer limited to your own site, you can easily link internally to pages on other sites if you desire. You can change the link text at anytime by simply clicking on edit next to the link and changing it. You can reorder the links at anytime as well and they are updated across all pages on which the menu exists.
More To Come
I am working on importing the other elements of the CMS into this new back-end as well, but I am not there yet. I would like to bring up an important point with the new page editor that I would like everyone to think about how they are going to want to handle it. With the new page editor you will be able to change the URL of any page on your site to whatever you want. This means you can change some of the more difficult URLS to simpler ones, even removing the .cfm from the url all together. However this new feature could have the ability to create problems.
If you have a link to an internal page in the left menu, that link is tied to the page URL in our database. So if you have a left menu link to the ASUSU government page and I decide to change the URL of the government page from ASUSU/government.cfm to just ASUSU/government, your left menu link will automatically update itself and everything will continue to work beautifully. IF however you make a link to an internal page from within the page content, the page content editor just puts in an anchor element with that page link. That page link WILL NOT get updated when the URL is changed.
What this means is that if you want to go through and remove all the .cfms from your page URLs you can, but you must make sure you know where you are linking from in the page content AS WELL as other links from other websites that may link to your pages. You have the ability to break links to your site pretty easily.
I am going to try to add in some programming logic so if the URL requested by the user has .cfm on it and it cannot find it in the database, it will search again for the same page with .cfm. That way you WILL be able to remove all the .cfms from your pages without an issue. However am I not yet sure if this will be possible.
As of right now nothing is required of you, but I would like to know if there are any changes that you would like to see, since I am in the process of overhauling parts of the CMS. Again you won’t notice much of a change in what you do on a day to day basis, but there will obviously some small changes that will required you to do things a bit differently. Since page editing will happen in the back-end, you will still be able to navigate to the page you want to edit on the website and click the edit button and the page editor will open in a new window in the CMS.
Some of this may not make a ton of sense yet, but I simply hope to allow you more flexibility and ease of use in your daily work. Let me know your thoughts and desired additions/changes to the CMS.