Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach

Russell Nakano  
Total pages
September 2001
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Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach
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Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach presents the principles, practices, and mindset involved in web content management. Throughout the book, the core issues of collaborative development, including versioning and managing concurrent changes are discussed. The author reveals a solution framework used by many Fortune 1000 companies details a step-by-step process for designing and implementing a content infrastructure, including a workflow architecture and a task-based deployment methodology.

Table of Contents


Manuel Terranova.

Peng T. Ong.@CHAPTER = Preface.



1. The Internet Changes the Rules of the Game.

Executive Summary.



Fear and Greed.

Rules of the Game.

Rule #1: It's the Assets, Stupid!

Rule #2: Experiment. Iterate. Grow.

Rule #3: Respond to Customers Quickly and Frequently, or Lose Them!

Rule #4: Enable the Masses!

Rule #5: Make It Manageable and Reproducible.



2. Overview of Content Management.

Executive Summary.

From Prototype to Enterprise.

2 a.m. Software.

The Pioneers.

The Tornado.

Go Dot-com.


Universality of Assets.

Managing Web Assets.

Live Editing.

Staging the Web Site.

Independent Edit Areas.

Content Management.

Content Management Architecture.

Content Creation/Editing Subsystem.

Repository Subsystem.

Workflow Subsystem.

Deployment and Operations Management.



3. Principles of Collaborative Web Development.

Executive Summary.


Basic Concepts.

Stakeholder Identification.

Are We in the Chaos Zone?

Development and Production Separation.

Asset Identification.

Direct Feedback (WYSIWYG).

Parallel Development.


Control Mechanisms: Auditing and Enforcement.


4. Best Practices for Collaborative Web Development.

Executive Summary.

The WSE Paradigm.

Collaboration Strategies.

Collaboration Operations.

Submit Operation.

Compare Operation.

Update Operation.

Merge Operation.

Publish Operation.

Work Cycles.

Version Snapshots.

Common Work Cycles in Web Development.

Real-Time Development Work Cycle.

Compare-Update Work Cycle.

Review Work Cycle.

Major Test Work Cycle.


5. Templating Empowers Content Contributors.

Executive Summary.


The Freshness Imperative.

The Challenge of Change.

Enabling Change.

A Template System.

Example: ezSuggestionBox.com.

Advantages of a Template System.


Practitioner's Checklist.

6. Workflow Speeds Work Cycles.

Executive Summary.

Using Workflow.

Characteristics of Web Development.

People Factors.

Project Factors.

Process Factors.

Business Factors.

Virtual Assembly Line.

Workflow Concepts.

Interaction Pattern.



Transition Links.

Active and Inactive Tasks.

Building a Workflow.


Designing a Workflow.

1. Identify Interaction Sequences.

2. Identify Candidate Workflow.

3. Sketch the Steps.

4. Identify Known and Not-Yet-Known Parameters.

5. Add Remaining Transitions.

6. Add Notification Steps.


Practitioner's Checklist.

7. Deploying Content.

Executive Summary.


Concept Review.

The Release Agreement.

Common Pitfalls.

Continuous Change.

Database Assets.

Design Considerations.

Incremental Changes.

Making Changes Transactional.

What Initiates Deployment?

Script Integration.


Designing a Deployment Infrastructure.

Enterprise Deployment Architecture.


Practitioner's Checklist.

8. Multiple Web Initiatives.

Executive Summary.




Logically Independent Web Site.

Task Overlap.

Basic Branch Patterns.

Single-Branch Pattern.

Agency Pattern.

Short-Term/Long-Term Branch Pattern.

Dependent Branch Pattern.

Identifying Branch Patterns.

Example--Using Branches in a Dot-Com Company.

Dependent Web Sites.


Practitioner's Checklist.


9. Using Web Content Management for Globalization.

Executive Summary.


A Globalization Initiative.

The Easy Path Leads to Trouble.

Design a Solid Platform for International Development.

Branch Structure.

Work Area Structure.

Special Situations.

Workflow Design.

Template System Design.

Deployment Design.


10. Summary and Conclusions.

Executive Summary.


Revisiting the Rules.

It's the Assets, Stupid!

Experiment. Iterate. Grow.

Respond to Customers Quickly and Frequently, or Lose Them!

Enable the Masses!

Make It Manageable and Reproducible.

Future Trends.

Content Becomes More Structured.

Content Contributors and Their Tools Become More Specialized.

Blurring the Distinction between Web Operations and the Rest of Business.

More Distributed and Flow-based Handling of Assets, Tasks, and Jobs.

More Emphasis on Content Tagging to Enable Storage, Retrieval, Search, Reuse, and Routing.

Emphasize 24 x 7 Management Infrastructure.



Appendix A: A Smart File System.
Appendix B: A Workflow Design for Formal Hand Off Between Groups.

Executive Summary.



QA Hand-off Workflow.


Appendix C: A Workflow Design for Predetermined Time Schedules.

Executive Summary.

Problem Scenario.


Time-Slot Technique.

Time-Slot Techniques-Detailed Example.


Variations on the Time-Slot Technique.

Appendix D: Basic Process Steps of a Best-Practice Content Management Process.

Executive Summary.

Example: Web Site.

A Best-Practice Development Process.

Example: Rebranding Initiative.


Index. 0201657821T09242001

Back Cover

Praise for Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach

“I thought this book was very good. Well-written, easy to understand, clear, good illustrations, and topical. This is complex, somewhat slippery material, and the author has made it clear and graspable.”

         -Mitchel Ahern, Director of Business Development, AdToolsInc.com

“I found myself wishing I had had this book two years ago. It explains better the real complexities of an enterprise web site. It's not a how-to in the sense of fixing what's broken, but it is a comprehensive guide for web site planners and developers.”

         -Linda Brigman, Independent Consultant

Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach provides sound principles and practices for designing, developing, and maintaining web-based projects of all sizes and audiences. The content management strategy described in this book is unique because it combines three critical components: processes, technology, and people. In addition, this book provides practical real-life examples and scenarios.”

         -John Wegis, Software Development Manager, Kana Software

“This book makes web designers and architects rethink their approach in embracing web content growth. It covers a detailed understanding of web technologies. Through this book, you will learn how to create and manage content to attract customers and suppliers and improve the usability of your web site.”

         -Ravishankar Belavadi, Senior Programmer Analyst, Kana Software

“Content management is one of the most important parts of web publishing infrastructure. Any company that thinks it can do without content management has its head in the sand. Business people and web developers alike need to understand the issues explored in this book.”

         -Mark Gilbert, Research Director, Gartner, Inc.

“...The best content management materials available on the market today.”

         -Robert Rasp, Manager, Content Management and Delivery, hsbc.com

For business managers and web practitioners, the success of their most vital web initiatives depends on doing one thing particularly well--managing web content. As web site content grows in volume and importance, its development and maintenance can no longer be performed either informally or by a single group. Instead, content must be systematically developed, deployed, and managed through standard techniques and processes that enable the site to scale.

Written by the leading visionary in the field, Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach presents the principles, practices, and mindset involved in web content management. Learn the core issues of collaborative development, including versioning and managing concurrent changes. See how a solution framework used by many Fortune 1000 companies details a step-by-step process for designing and implementing a content infrastructure, including a workflow architecture and a task-based deployment methodology.

This book prepares you for the issues you are likely to face. It describes key tools, processes, and organizational approaches that support effective web content management and shows how all of these elements can be expertly integrated into a world-class enterprise solution--a web site with plentiful, current, and dynamic content that gets critical information to customers, employees, and suppliers quickly.

You will learn:

  • Development principles that allow you to scale web sites to enterprise class
  • Proven ways to organize enterprise web sites
  • The underpinnings of web site versioning, concurrent changes, and templating
  • The work area/staging area paradigm of development
  • How to distinguish source files from generated files
  • How workflow and approval patterns allow web sites to innovate continuously
  • How to handle multiple web initiatives
  • How web systems typically integrate with databases, template systems, document management systems, deployment, and backup systems
  • Current trends in content management and what these trends imply for the future

Real-world case studies drawn from the author's extensive experience consulting for large companies illustrate the practical use of content management techniques. In particular, new managers will find tremendous value in viewing the practices of other web organizations through these "day-in-the-life-of" examples.

With Web Content Management as your guide, you will be better prepared to elevate your web site--whether it is small, growing, or already large--to an information-rich, enterprise-scale solution.


Russell Nakano is Principal Consultant and co-founder of Interwoven, Inc., the market leader in Web content infrastructure solutions. He has designed and consulted on content management solutions for clients such as Best Buy, Electronic Arts, Minnesota Life, Eli Lilly, Cisco, E*TRADE, iPlanet, Monster.com, and Walgreens. Previously, Nakano worked in operating system development at Taligent and Apple Computer, and developed highly parallel software at Digital Equipment Corporation. He has a doctorate in engineering-economic systems and a master's degree in computer science, both from Stanford University. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two teenage daughters.