CrownPeak CMS Construction Phase Overview Th Construction Phase Overview Chart shown below provides a new developer with an at-a-glance view of the process for building a CrownPeak CMS—from the delivery of HTML by the design agency, to the publishing of the final pages when the live site is deployed.
A CMS construction project consists of seven steps that occur across three distinct phases:
Configure the CMS
Complete the Workflow
7. Publish to Stage and Live Sites
Each phase has a specific purpose and builds upon the previous phase as the developer readies the CMS to hand off to the customer (which then initiates the Maintenance phase of the engagement). Implementation PhaseThe development of the CMS begins when a client delivers their existing HTML to their CrownPeak development team, along with a description of the target environment (the description is provided in the customer-prepared Project Information Document or “PID”). Again, the Steps 1-4 of the seven-step process occur in the Implementation phase: Step 1: Analyze Wire frames or Existing SiteThe CMS developer must analyze the wireframes and PID, and then determine how best to organize the CMS. In general, this analytic process includes:
Determining common elements of the design to pull out into navigation wrappers or various types of include files.
Understanding the overall makeup of the site (including sections, sub-sections, micro-sites, etc.) to determine the folder structure as well as the number and type of necessary templates.
Analyzing each page type to determine which elements are static and which elements change with each page and must be included as input for authors and editors, or built from CMS code that pulls the information from other sources.
Identifying the ways in which the site content will “grow” over time and where additional pages will be added. This information is used to create the necessary folder or taxonomy structure to accommodate the anticipated growth.
Building the underlying CMS code structure that allows for the requested feature set, accounting for CMS controlled pages that aggregate detail content in various ways—as well as all of the additional elements like dynamic menus, calendars, polls, blog engines, flash, audio, video, third party code or other process code (all of which must function correctly once the site is published to the stage and production environment).
Identifying the workflow—even though it won’t be fully implemented until later. It is important at this point to account for how a workflow can be overlaid onto the file and folder structure you are building in this step.
Determining scheduled publishing and content retirement requirements.
Identifying any unique publishing requirements (issues should be resolved at this time in order to avoid any surprises once the system has been built).
Typically, the developers publish a representative Web page to the stage and/or live environments during this step. Once the CMS design is proven on this small scale, the rest of the elements can be pulled together in a similar fashion with a greater confidence that the design can be successfully implemented in the target environment. Step 3: Create ModelsModels are in their simplest form an “asset” that is associated with a specific template and made available to the end user for the purpose of building content. As the CMS is being built, there may be elements of the site that need to be recreated on a routine basis. For example, a company might have a section on its Web site that contains a unique page for each city in which they do business. Every time a new city is added to their roster of business, a new city page needs to be created and added to the section.
One of the great benefits of a CMS is that it gives the ability for non-technical staff to create an unlimited number and variety of pages using predefined models.
Within the CMS, a model is a unique folder environment that is carefully designed to automate the creation of specific types of Web content. Moreover, models are not limited to representing just a single Web page. The CMS designer can give the user the ability to create additional site sections, sub-sections or even an entirely new site—all controlled by the makeup of the models that employ various templates and assets within the system.
In the example above, where a company has a section on their Web site for each city in which they do business, a model could be constructed that would allow end users to easily insert additional cities into their CMS. The model could add the necessary folders, index, and section files—as well as all of the CMS menu items necessary for the end user to begin building content in an organized and logical fashion. Additionally, the model can account for each new city in every site component that needs to know that a new city has been added.
Step 4: Configure CMS Options
Once the major elements have been built, several other things must be done before the Q.A. phase can begin: The CMS developer must complete any work that is necessary to ensure that all assets can be published to the staging and live environments The ACLs and Workflows must be in place and ready to be tested by the client
While most of the work during the Implementation phase was being performed exclusively by CMS developers, the Q.A. phase requires intense client participation all along the way in order to ensure success.
Step 5: Assemble Assets (Client)
In this step, the client is required to add the items necessary to produce an actual production system in the CMS. Up until this point, the content typically comprises test data, with possibly a few sample pages of each content type. Now, working with the client, the CMS developers help to build out the actual content that will be on the site on day one. This content includes everything from the pictures and text needed to build pages, to any necessary ad code or other hooks to external systems. If content import needs to occur, it is usually done at this time. As the client works with the system to build all necessary content, they should report any issues that arise and allow the CMS developers to make updates as needed in order to allow the system to create the intended output.
Deployment PhaseStep 6: Process Workflow (Client)
As the client builds the content, they should begin using the workflow built into the system. Often the client will request to bypass the workflow in order to go live as soon as possible. It is always better, however, to fully test the workflow at this point in the process. Otherwise, the CMS will go live with untested elements in the system.
Step 7: Stage/Publish
This is the step in the process where building the actual site occurs. While publishing did happen back in Step 2 as the developers tested the new templates, this is the point where the client will begin publishing pages that are to be viewed by their intended audience. If the system is built to specification, the client will be able to publish their pages and produce the “Perfected Web Output” that is the goal of every CrownPeak CMS engagement.