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									Working With Templates in Web Publisher




Contributed by Paul O’Mahony
Developer Program
Overview.......................................................................................................................................... 3
Template Options ............................................................................................................................ 3
    Web Publisher Editor Templates.............................................................................................. 3
    Advanced Content Editor ......................................................................................................... 3
    eWebEditPro + XML................................................................................................................. 4
    MSOffice Templates................................................................................................................. 4
    Free Form Templates............................................................................................................... 5
Things To Consider ......................................................................................................................... 5
    User Community....................................................................................................................... 5
    Output and Template Design ................................................................................................... 5
    Dynamic Versus Static ............................................................................................................. 6
    Page Analysis........................................................................................................................... 6
Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 6
Overview
Web Publisher templates allow end users to easily create web content, and offer the advantage
of imposing consistent look and feel across your website by separating layout from content. In
addition, templates offer the opportunity to enforce business rules such as security, or force
certain templates to use specific workflow processes.

Developers today are presented with a number of different options to create templates for their
content in the current version of Web Publisher. This document outlines the use of templates in
Web Publisher, highlighting the available options to developers and attempts to help developers
navigate through the choices available to them by analyzing the different options each approach
offers. It assumes familiarity with Web Publisher and the WCM suite of products.



Template Options
Web Publisher has a range of options for creating templates for your content which can go from
very simple approaches to templates which offer users the ability to create complex dynamic
content. Developers can create templates that are XML/XSL based and use the Web Publisher
Editor. They can create templates that offer a more WYSIWIG approach using eWebEditPro +
XML. Template developers also have the ability to create templates that use MS Word and can
be automatically transformed into HTML and PDF renditions. Raw HTML external templates are
also an option for developers who are familiar with HTML, and raw XML can also be used if
desired.


Web Publisher Editor Templates
Web Publisher Editor templates are XML-based content templates which contain the main
elements of your content. For example, a content file for a press release may contain elements
such as headline, subtitle, graphic, main_paragraph and second_paragraph.

Associated with the main content template are two files, a rules file and a presentation file. The
rules file is also an XML file, which contains instructions as to how each of the elements should
be represented in the Web Publisher Editor. The presentation file is an XSL file, which is used to
transform the content the user inputs into the Editor into how it will look when it is rendered into a
finished web page.

The XSL files can have embedded XDQL in their style sheets which offer the chance to query the
repository and reference content dynamically. Dynamic content of course is not limited to XDQL
templates. These template types can output JSP and ASP formats in addition to standard formats
such as HTML, and text.

XML/XSL templates can also be very powerful for metadata extraction. If a template references
an XML application in the repository, it gives users a single interface for entering content and
metadata. Embedded advance content editors enable users to create and manipulate tables, and
embed graphics inline with text. The Web Publisher Editor also has many different widgets
integrated into the repository, such as the xselector, choice and the ability to create custom tags.

Advanced Content Editor
With the release of 5.2.5 SP3, the Web Publisher Editor offers a new, advanced “content widget”
with enhanced formatting features. The use of this enhanced content widget is optional and Web
Publisher has been configured so that the editing functions are backward compatible with the
former content widget functions.
The UI is very intuitive and looks much like Microsoft Word. It enables the user to embed graphics
inline, alongside text which can be formatted accordingly. Users can also insert tables and edit
them by entire row, entire column or individually. User can also find and replace, undo, redo,
insert pre-staged hyperlinks set up by an Administrator and nested lists.

eWebEditPro + XML
eWebEditPro + XML offers the ability to create XML/XSL templates without having to compose
the XML by hand. From within Web Publisher, you can choose, File – New – Template Design.
This will bring up a screen for you to enter details about the template and then brings you into
eWebEditPro in design mode.

In design mode, you can drag and drop controls into the template area. You can choose from
such controls as plain text, checkbox, rich text, graphics, choice, select, calculated and calendar.
Dragging them into the template area pops up a dialog box. This enables you to set values for the
control, such as name, label and so forth. It also provides the ability to set validation on certain
controls. For example, you can force users to enter in a date into a text field that must fall within a
certain date range. It is also possible to set custom validation on various controls you include
using JavaScript.

Once you save your template, the XML and associated XSL is automatically generated for you in
the background. Users who use this template to create content are presented with the
eWebEditPro interface with the controls embedded as placed there by the developer. The
interface is entirely WYSIWIG to the user. The default format outputted by the XSL file is HTML,
but this can be changed to include JSP or ASP if desired. It is worthy to note that modifying the
XSL can lead to slight problems with the Preview in the current instance where you will be
prompted with a message in the lower toolbar that Preview is not available. Preview should still
work however, and Webview is also another option should the Preview operation fail.

eWebEditPro gives users a more streamlined approach to creating templates using the File-New-
Template design option, and offers a very nice, slick WYSIWIG approach to both template
designers and content contributors. It offers the ability to grab graphics from the repository or
import from the local file system and embed them inline, and work with tables, in addition to
adding controls with built-in validation. It can also create XML/XSL and enable metadata
extraction if the XML file is associated with a valid XML application.


MSOffice Templates
Office templates enable users to create content as they normally would in Office documents and
then submit them where they can be processed. The template is created by a developer and
usually associated with an external HTML wrapper, though this is not always necessary.
Developers can use all of the tools available to them in MS Office to create the templates. In
general, the approach to Office templates is mostly associated with MS Word files, and leads to a
more free form approach to content contribution.

Once the template is built, the contributor can create new content from this template by selecting
it from the New Content menu item. They will be presented with the template with any embedded
graphics or text that the developer has included. Once this new content is saved and checked in,
it is then sent for processing to Content Rendition Services. Here it will automatically be
generated into HTML and PDF versions which can then be published to a Web site.

Word offers more of an open approach to content creation. It’s worth noting that the HTML
created by Word may not represent clean HTML, yet this may not matter for instance if you
simply wish to generate PDF formats from the Word content and publish it to your site. Word may
be more suited to the creation of such content as press releases for instance, rather than the raw
HTML tables that contain the structure of your site.
Free Form Templates
It is entirely possible to create raw HTML or XML templates for users to create and edit with
clients such as Dreamweaver, Frontpage, or XMetal for example. These templates would be used
primarily for people who are well-versed in HTML or XML, though contributors could use the
WYSIWIG interface offered by these clients to work with their content if they needed.

These clients are not embedded within the interface, and users would have to return to the Web
Publisher UI to perform actions such as WebView, and Submit. It would be possible to perform
some of these actions using a type-based business object to apply a lifecycle on checkin from the
client.

As you can see there are a number of different approaches to creating templates in Web
Publisher today. Neither of the above options are necessarily better than each other, and before
you choose an approach, there are some things to think about.



Things To Consider
The most important things to consider when you are creating templates are:

    a) The user who will be using the template
    b) Your output


User Community
When considering what approaches to take, you should consider the users who will be using the
templates to create content. If the templates aren’t usable, they’ll never be useful and probably
won’t be adopted easily.

For instance, if you are rolling out Web Publisher Templates to a group of people in a department
who work in MS Office most of the time, it seems it would make sense to roll out Word templates
to them rather than rolling out raw XML or HTML templates. The latter would require a certain skill
set which may not be apparent in the user community and, more importantly could cause issues
with the formatting of the templates if users were able to access the underlying code or elements.

A very important question is the role of the content contributors. The level of freedom to create
within the content created from the template is proportional to the user’s role. For instance, if they
are in the author role, you would best be served going with the Web Publisher Editor or
eWebEditPro templates, which don’t allow these users to really change much of the underlying
structure of the content. Developers and Administrators can make full use of more free-form
templates and developer tools such as Dreamweaver, or even enabling HTML tags in the Web
Publisher Editor Content Widget.

Output and Template Design
The user community using the templates to create content has a definite impact on what
approach you wish to take, but it is not the only thing to have an impact on this choice. There are
some other important considerations to make, and a number of questions to be asked before you
can have a clearer picture of the best approach for your content templates.
Dynamic Versus Static
Your page layout and output will help narrow down your choices. The biggest decision is whether
or not the page is going to be dynamic or static. If the page is dynamic it leaves you with a few
choices.

You could use the Web Publisher Editor, to output ASP or JSP and run your queries on the app
server side or embed XDQL in the XSL stylesheet, and have the queries run on the content
before being pushed to the site as static HTML updated at regular intervals by a refresh job.
Here, users who are not necessarily developers can create content that is dynamic. Developers
of course would create the underlying XSL stylesheet.

The other approach would be to use component pages, where raw ASP or JSP pages are built by
developers and query for content components and include them in. These components can be
fragments created by contributors using the Web Publisher Editor, eWebEditPro, Word
Templates or even text editors. In this way, we separate content from layout, and give the authors
control over only the pieces they need. It also present the opportunity for creating single
components which can be used in many places on your web site.

Page Analysis
Converting your web site content to use templates system can often be done in tandem with a
site redesign. Changing your site to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you by
integrating a WCM tool and its templating capabilities can be a powerful thing.

In this way, you should look at designing templates for your content, with the knowledge of the
tools you have on hand. Take advantage of the ability to separate layout from content. If you have
many hands working on a few pieces of content, think about breaking things out into components,
and then applying different security to the components if applicable. The other advantage of
componentizing your content is the ability to have component reuse. In this way, editing a single
piece of content can update components across the entire site, rather than having to edit
individual pages by hand. For instance, a common header and foot, or navigation across your site
enables you to change the look and feel of the entire site simply by changing one or two files and
publishing it. This can be extremely powerful.

What leads you in the direction of what template editor to use then could be if you are to use
components is how you pull them all together. Using XDQL, ASP, JSP or some other mechanism
to build a page gives you a choice of what editors to use.

Conclusion
Each of these approaches has their own advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully this document
has highlighted some of the main ones and given you some ideas as to the options available to
you. More information can be found in the Web Publisher Administration Guide.

The content on your web site is an ever changing, evolving landscape. A single one of the above
ways to work with templates in all likelihood will not solve all of your business needs, and you
may use a mixture of different approaches. Certain areas of your site may use content created
from Word templates, or may use XDQL embedded in XML/XSL templates created by the
Template Editor, or html fragments written in eWebEditPro or that come from text files. In the
end, the tools you choose depend as much on your content and users as they do on the tools
themselves.

								
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