It’s been few days that I have been exploring the CMS and trying to understand Sitecore and its basics. Few of which I found that would be helpful to all have been listed down.
What is Sitecore?
Sitecore is a CMS (Content Management System) and it organizes its content in a hierarchical tree structure on the left which could be referred as Content Tree. The content tree makes it possible to navigate through all the content on the website. Each of the entry in the below tree structure is an Item.
When selecting an item in the content tree, its sections and fields will appear in the content editing pane. The first section is always the quick info section which contains the useful information about the item such as the Item ID, Item Name, Item Path, Template etc. Quick Info section can be hidden in the application options in the system menu. Then it lists down all the sections containing fields relevant to the chosen item.
Item in the tree structure are based on template. All the pages within the website is an item with a predefined Template.
Fields and Field Types
Each of the templates contain Fields which are used to store the content displayed on the pages of the website. Field have Field types which define the type of content the fields can store for example image, text – multi line or single line. Fields can have default vales when an Item is created in sitecore.
Tips for Content Editors
Creating a page and defining the URL for that Page:
URLs of a particular page is created from the name which we give to the pages in the content tree by the content author.
When we create a page in the CMS, always give that page a name as per the naming terminologies and this name would be used directly in the URL. For example if it’s About us page then we name the page item in CMS as about-us. This also means that URLs have character restrictions, a Sitecore page name will support characters that create a valid URL. For example if we give the name as Test-Page? Sitecore will not permit the creation of the item, instead prompt the content author with a below validation message.
Editing existing Item/Page Names:
In case we need to edit a name of an existing page for example News page in the Media section needs to be renamed as Newsroom, then it will change the URL of the page as well as the URL of all its child pages under the News. This is an important factor which needs to be considered while renaming the pages or sections with the website. For this the Sitecore links option would be helpful. It lists pages or items in Sitecore which links to the current page and also which items in Sitecore your current page references. For using this option we could use the Navigate button in ribbon and Links button. It would shows two categories for a particular item – Items that refer to the selected item and Items that the selected item refer to as already briefed.
Favorites option in Sitecore:
This is also a very helpful option for content authors again found in the Navigate option in the ribbon, which would avoid traversing through the content tree and is similar to the favorite functionality of the browser. If we have particular node which we visit regularly, this option is indeed a time saver!
Hide items irrelevant to the content author:
If there are content items in the tree that have no relevance to the current content author, please hide them so they don’t clutter the content author experience.
Field help text:
It helps in understanding field more and its purpose of use. Sitecore provides the option to add help information to Sitecore fields for example via a tool-tip or an inline comment. As a content author, this would provide information regarding the purpose of the field if it cannot be inferred from the field name.
Lastly would highlight the button above the tool bar which enables us to toggle back to the launch pad often and is of real benefit to those of us who keep toggling forth a lot.