Publish Targets

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Multi-Target Publish

Overview

Multi-Target Publish gives users the option to publish to different servers, expanding their options past the default production server. Users can extensively test server-side code, develop new redesigns, or test any major site changes on an alternate server before publishing to the public-facing web server. Multi-Target Publish is also useful for providing pages for review to non-OU Campus approvers before they are published to the production server. The target server can be configured to be only accessible from within the campus network, from behind a firewall, or for certain IP address.

Alternative publish targets must be configured by a level 10 administrator in the Auxiliary Sites panel of Site Settings. Administrators can set whether a publish target is the default production target, as well as control the access group (i.e., what group of users can publish to this target) for each publish target. After a publish target is configured by an administrator, it will appear in the Publish modal when a file or files are published.

Multiple Publish Targets in the Publish Modal

All server actions are supported by Multi-Target Publish including publish, compare, and preview. Additionally, when multiple production targets are configured for a site, users can access the alternative production servers in a similar manner to how they view the normal production server in the Pages list view. Users can now hover over the Production tab and choose which production server they would like to view.

Viewing Multiple Publish Targets in the Pages List View

Files and images can be uploaded or imported using Zip Import in the same manner as the production server. Additionally, file operations such as moving, deleting, renaming, and such can be performed on the file on the publish target.

Other notable functionality with Multi-Target Publish is that a server selection to any available publish target can be made for reusable content such as RSS feeds and Assets. Dependency Manager continues to ensure that links are always up to date, even across alternative publish targets and with assets.

Creating a New Publish Target

Level 10 administrators can add additional production servers for Multi-Target Publish from Setup > Sites. It is recommended that Dependency Manager be turned on. When using absolute URLs, Dependency Manager must be turned on for the final publish to work with the server. See the Best Practices section on this page for more information.

When adding a new publish target, administrators will enter much of the same information as they did when configuring the main production server. For a detailed explanation of each field, visit the Production Server FTP Settings page.

  1. Navigate to Setup > Sites.
  2. Hover over the desired site row and from the Edit drop-down menu, select Site. Alternatively, click the hyperlinked site name.
  3. In the Auxiliary Sites panel, click the Add button next to Publish Targets.

    Add New Publish Target Button
  4. The available settings are similar to those for configuring a production server for a site with the exception of the Publish Default checkbox. Enter the configuration and remember to click Save when finished.

The new fields available in the New Publish Target modal that are not present in the Production Server Settings are as follows:

Site Name: Enter a user friendly name for the auxiliary site that will appear in the insert link, image, and media dialogs. For example, Image of Buildings or Videos. Note that the drop-down includes auxiliary sites as well as publish targets, so it may be necessary on the part of the administrator to develop a taxonomy to help users distinguish among available sites and servers. This is a required field.

For more information about server settings, visit the Production Server FTP Settings page.

Publish Default: Select the Publish Default checkbox to make this publish target the default. When publishing files, this production target will appear as the default target in the Publish Target drop-down menu. 

Deleting a Publish Target

Deleting a publish target removes it as a server choice in the drop-downs. The previously files and directories uploaded to the web server remain.

  1. Navigate to Setup > Sites.
  2. From the Auxiliary Sites panel, click the X icon next to the publish target to remove it.

Supporting Files

In addition to defining site settings, supporting files needed for a site configured as a publish target (including files from the _resources directory such as CSS, server-side scripts, background images, any other binary files) should be cloned to each additional publish target.

XSL, TMPL, and TCF files do not need to be published to each server if they have been configured to reside on the staging server. To determine if the XSL, TMPL, and TCF files need to be cloned to each production target, navigate to the Production Server FTP Settings panel in Site Settings and look at the setting for Template Location. If the setting is set to Local (staging server), there is no need to copy the template files and XSLs to each production target.

Restricting Publish Target Access

The Available To drop-down menu in the New Publish Target modal is where administrators can restrict access to an alternative publish target. This drop-down contains all groups configured in the account; choosing a group for this setting means that only users who belong to that group will be able to access, compare, preview, and publish to that production target.

Level 9 and 10 administrators are the exception to this, and will be able to view all existing publish targets, regardless of whether they are in the configured access group or not.

When configuring multiple publish targets with restricted access, keep in mind that the approvers in a workflow must have access to the alternative publish target if they wish to publish there. If the person sending the page for approval has access to the publish target, they will be able to view the target in the Pages list view but will not be able to publish to it.

Best Practices

Here are a few noteworthy best practices to keep in mind when using alternative publish targets. 

  • The default publish target can be configured for the development stage of a new site. When going live to the main production server, the default can be switched back by clearing the checkbox in site settings.
  • If using a publish target during development, make it the default and set the production server’s Available To to None. Use extreme caution when publishing as an administrator.
  • Always compare and preview before publishing to a server.
  • Use Zip Import to move a large number of files from the development server to the production server.
  • Use root relative URLs.
  • When defining the name for publish targets, using descriptive names helps the CMS users know which server to select. Auxiliary sites and publish targets are both shown in the drop-down list, and it is sorted alphabetically by default. It may be prudent to develop a naming convention to distinguish among server types.
  • Define user groups to restrict access to specific publish targets and help avoid user confusion and inadvertent publishes to incorrect servers.
  • Publish targets should not be used for clustering or load-balancing. If you publish to a production server, and the page gets automatically cloned or copied onto multiple servers for load-balancing for visitor traffic, that practice should continue and not be replaced by Mutli-Target Publish.
  • Make sure Dependency Manager is enabled. When using absolute URLs (not root relative), Dependency Manager must be turned on for the final publish to work with the server. If Dependency Manager is not enabled, paths will be hard coded with the chosen server. For example, if during the development stage a "dev.gallena.edu" target is created, paths are hard coded to that development server path: dev.gallena.edu. When switching over publishing to the gallena.edu production server, the hard-coded paths would be incorrect.