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  LAST UPDATED
5/29/2013

Reusing Content in OU Campus

A multitude of features in the OU Campus CMS provide for content reuse. Information can be published across multiple web pages, sites, and even channels, such as to social media and RSS outlets. Specific features that assist with reusing content include assets, snippets, auxiliary sites, include files, social media publishing, and XML/XSL templates and stylesheets. New page wizards can allow for templates to be used that include information common to site elements, such as navigational elements like footers and side bars. Templates can also allow for content to be automatically included on a page, or for users to select from a list of commonly used content to be used on a page. A single design can be output in various formats like HTML, PDFs, and mobile.

Assets can be created to automatically update page content. Snippets can be created to contain a structure that can be custom edited as necessary after page insertion. Social media publishing includes the ability to post to Facebook and tweet to twitter automatically upon page publish. RSS feeds can be created upon page creation and feed items added as needed.

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Assets

Administrators and select users can quickly create assets such as text, code, images, forms, polls, and more. To use an asset in a web page, users simply insert an asset within the WYSIWYG and Source Code Editors. When an asset is updated, all pages that contain the asset are updated, ensuring that your content is always up-to-date. In addition, assets are integrated into the OU Campus permission system, allowing administrators to manage assets through group-based permissions.

There are 5 types of assets in OU Campus:

Web Content: Used for entering formatted text or media items (e.g., images, videos, links). Created and edited with the WYSIWYG Editor.
Plain Text: Used for entering plain text.
Source Code - Used for entering source code (e.g., HTML, JavaScript, PHP, ASP, ColdFusion).
Image Gallery: Part of Live Delivery Platform (LDP). Used for creating an image gallery.
Managed Form: Part of LDP. Used for creating a form, poll, or survey.

Features

  • User-friendly asset names and descriptions
  • Assets can be tagged for search filtering
  • Group-based editing permissions
  • Manage read access for assets
  • Integrates into the existing approval process
  • Assets can be shared across sites
  • Assets can be inserted into pages via the WYSIWYG and Source Code Editors

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Snippets

Administrators and developers can provide preformatted HTML content (e.g., tables, forms, paragraphs of commonly used text, names) that can be easily placed into the WYSIWYG Editor via selection menus. Snippets can be designed to include directory variables that are resolved when a user inserts the snippet code in the page. Although snippets are centrally managed, once they are entered into a page, they become part of the page and will not be updated if the master snippet is modified.

Auxiliary Sites

The Auxiliary Sites feature of OU Campus allows administrators to define centralized content libraries that reside on the same or other web servers (e.g. a media server).

Include Files

The use of "include" files are a best practice recommendation for website components such as navigations, headers, and footers where the content is the same through a portion or the entire website. Additionally, "include" files with information such as tuition, testimonials, or policies that can be used by various pages throughout the website are also a best practice recommendation. OU Campus can reference, preview, modify, and publish these components resulting in site wide changes with a single update. For more about includes, see: Includes

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Compare and Contrast of Snippets, Assets, and Includes

Snippets provide a template or a format with information that can be changed. For example, the site may require a specific format or structure for tables. This can be created in a snippet and inserted on a page any number of times. Once inserted on the page, the content becomes a part of the page and editable. Because the snippet is no longer linked to the original file, editing the original snippet does not affect the pages on which it was inserted.

Assets are used to provide the same information on any number of pages. When the content of the asset is updated, so are the pages that “subscribe” to it. This is useful for global content and content that should be protected from changes. This also provides a way to insert server-side and client-side code on the pages.

Include files are similar to assets in that they are considered global and editing the include file updates all pages that are using it. The main difference is that include files are hardcoded into particular locations within the page templates, whereas assets can be placed in any editable region, allow flexibility around where they appear.

Snippets are site-specific, meaning that snippets have to be configured for each site on which they should be used. Assets are available cross-site, with the exception of Live Delivery Platform’s image galleries and forms. This means that the same asset can be used on the main site and the intranet site if desired. Using includes across sites is possible but depends on multiple factors including the server’s settings, the site’s configuration, and the configuration of the include.

The following table provides a few examples of ways that snippets, assets, and includes are utilized. Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive and not restrictive; that is, examples that are snippets can also be utilized as assets, and vice versa.

Snippets, Assets, and Includes: Use and Examples

Content Type

Snippet

Asset

Include

Table structure

icon

 

 

Image placeholder with caption

icon

 

 

Formatted HTML

 icon

 

 

Non-recurring formatted text

 icon

 

 

Recurring text, common content

 

 icon  icon

President’s name, email addresses, phone numbers

 

 icon

 

An article, quote, or accolade that requires departmental branding

 

 icon  icon

Managed forms

 

 icon

 

Code, JavaScript, or other client-side scripting

 

 icon  icon

Comments, discussions

 

 icon  icon

Image gallery

 

 icon  icon

Widgets, gadgets

 

 icon  icon

Navigation files

 

 

 icon

Headers and footers

 

 

 icon

 

 

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XML/XSL

An even more powerful way to re-use content is by pulling content from XML files.  XML content can be marked with standard tags that provide XSL and other languages to parse and modify the content before it is styled by the CSS and output to the web page.

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