A few years back, all a Content Management System had to do was organize some webpages and provide a framework for easily updating them. You didn’t have to worry so much about things like mobile design, content sharing or secure payments.
Now of course, you do need to consider those!
Many (but not all) Content Management Systems will address more complex website behaviors now. Sitefinity has done so for several versions. The newest, 6.3, contains some new/updated elements that address things like mobile layout and ecommerce.
Let’s go through 4 of these elements here. Since taking payments is critical for online services, and looking good on phones is important for everyone, the 4 elements all relate to Mobile and/or Ecommerce.
A. Test Responsive Design in Emulators
“Responsive Design” is the industry term for “how your website looks on a phone or tablet.” In many CMSes, seeing how your site looks on mobile requires you to publish a page, grab your phone and have a look. Sitefinity built in a tester to avoid this.
The Responsive Design Tester will show you how your pages display BEFORE they’re published. You can preview how your site looks in emulators for 20 unique devices, like the iPad 3 or the Samsung Galaxy Note.
There’s some information about this on their Responsive Design page.
B. Use Custom URLs for Better SEO and User Experience
Custom URLs are not new. But typically, they’re governed by the site’s own hierarchy. You determine what kind of URL structure you want for the site, and code the pages to match.
What Sitefinity has done in 6.3 is allow you to independently customize URLs. Removing the dependency on hierarchy, in other words. Skip levels you don’t need, make short SEO-friendly URLs that users will recognize at a glance.
Easy-to-read URLs are valuable to SEO. Not just for a better user experience, but because they’re easy to link to. And you can use custom URLs almost anywhere: Mobile-specific pages, different page versions for different audiences, external links, downloadable resources…the list goes on and on.
C. Custom Taxonomy Filters for Content Widgets
Sitefinity lets you organize content into all sorts of types: Pages, Content Blocks, News Items, Blog Items, etc. (We’ll go into more detail on these in later posts.) What’s important to know about this 6.3 update is that creating custom taxonomies means you determine what content loads for whom.
If you have content specifically written to help mobile users find an answer to their problem, you can target them with a taxonomy. Filter out content that isn’t relevant to someone using their tablet on the train, and not their laptop in the office. Categorize mobile-specific widgets to display only on phones.
This kind of control over your content means you show mobile users only what they need to do their job – without any non-relevant clutter. Oh, the other content is still on your site; they’ll see it when they revisit your website in the office. When it’s relevant.
D. Custom Attributes in Pages
This deserves its own post later on. But for now, think of Custom Attributes like adding extra choices to a page. For instance, extra choices for how you want pages to appear, or function.
There’s a YouTube video on it here: Custom Page Attributes
Custom Attributes are coming soon, in early 2014. They may appear in 6.4, the next version due out. You can bet we’ll have a post for them when they arrive!
That’s a lot of ground covered, I know. And we only focused on the elements helpful to mobile site development and ecommerce. Believe it or not, that’s just a handful of the changes in Sitefinity CMS 6.3!
If you want to see the full list of “what’s new”, visit their overview page: What’s New in Telerik Sitefinity CMS 6.3.
We’ll dig into much more detail with future posts. Responsive Design, page attributes, what the heck’s a module…all of it will be covered here at the Sitefinity Insider. So make sure to follow us on Twitter for the next post announcement!