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Reusing content with Hippo CMS

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It may sound very simple, but it’s something we have to keep telling: in Hippo CMS you’re managing content, not webpages. Even for a simple site as mine, a document can appear in multiple forms. There’s the detail page of a blog post which you may see now. You may have seen the title, date, introduction and tags in the overview or the faceted navigation. It’s also very well possible that you read this blog post in Google Reader and you have never seen my website at. Now that’s already 3 different ways of showing content of the same document.

To be honest, the RSS feed may be a default feature for most systems now, but you can do more with the content. One of the projects I have worked on recently was for a company with several rental locations spread over the country. For each rental location it maintains a document in the CMS with the address data including GPS coordinates. If a rental location is temporarily closed, there’s a special field for it in the document. In the front end there are multiple views on that document.

The most obvious is a webpage with the full details of the rental location like the address (and a link to a Google Map), directions, opening hours and optionally the message that the location is temporarily closed.

To get to this view, there’s a search box on the homepage with autocomplete for all the locations. This autocomplete list is created dynamically by a query over all rental location documents, the editors don’t have to maintain a separate list.

If a visitor of the site ignores the autocomplete list and only enters the city name, he or she will get a list of all rental locations in that city plus a Google Map showing the locations. The pointers on this Google Map are generated on the fly based on the search term the visitor entered.

On the homepage the visitor can click on a link to see which rental locations are temporarily closes. This is to inform customers who use the rental product frequently, that their location is temporarily closed but will be available again. The list, which is hopefully empty, is a result of a query on all rental locations with the special field enabled for “temporarily closed”.

Now this is only the content reuse within the site itself. We have also created an HST component that produces a list of all rental locations in KML format. This XML output can be used to import into Google Maps to display a map of all rental locations on an external site. There are also plans to create mobile phone applications to find a rental location near you or a dynamically generated PDF that lists all the rental locations.

All these views are using the same datasource: the documents that represent the rental locations. Every view is generated at request which means that updates are immediately visible.

Are you still maintaining a webpage?