High-volume, dynamic site requires flexible, world-class publishing solution
Manage a high-volume entertainment news site, providing editors and production artists an easy-to-use interface for editing site content, while offering a rigid separation of content from presentation, so that content can be published to numerous final formats. Ensure that the solution can accommodate the rapidly evolving needs of the organization and technologies.
ETonline (et.yahoo.com), the world’s #1 source for news on celebrities, show business, and Hollywood happenings, managed by Bricolage, the enterprise-class, open-source content management and publishing system, implemented by Kineticode.
Easy-to-use interface for creating and updating site content
Complete separation of content from presentation
Powerful, flexible templating to output content in any format
Low implementation cost
Less time and cost for future redesigns
Functional end-to-end application (more than a content management framework)
Higher overall ROI
ETonline Needed a Better Content Management System
Entertainment Tonight’s ETonline.com is a large, high-volume web site featuring the latest entertainment news, celebrity interviews, and coverage of TV, movie, DVD, and music releases, with 15,000+ articles. When it came time for a redesign for the new television season, ETonline found that its current editing and publishing framework needed a significant upgrade.
The initial plan was to integrate the new design with an existing home-grown tool, said Kevin Elliott, Technical Producer for ETonline.
But when we looked at the integral nature of the existing design with the tool, we realized that it would be more effective to build a fresh system.
Originally designed to manage a smaller, more custom site, ETonline’s existing system lacked the flexibility to meet the changing needs of the ETonline site. The new site design was the clincher, and ETonline began its search for a new content management solution (CMS) to meet the rigorous requirements of the new design and infrastructure.
Among the requirements for the new system were a complete separation of content and presentation; the ability to publish content to multiple formats at once; distribution of published files to the hosted public server; an easy-to-use interface that ETonline’s editors could quickly become comfortable with; a custom workflow process matching ETonline’s approval processes; and the ability to scale to meet the demands of a growing site with upwards of 15,000 documents, 7-10 new stories daily, 60-70 new images daily, and 50 new videos weekly.
Flexibility was given the highest priority, since the new system needed to meet the requirements of the current design and site organization, and have the tools to meet future demands. As ETonline’s coverage expands into new areas, new sections will be created for the site, new types of articles will be needed, and new presentation formats will be generated to meet the demands of an ever-changing Internet.
ETonline researched many of the numerous content management solutions on the market today. At first, it appeared as though the majority of their needs could only be met by products sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, which required an equally large investment in additional consulting costs to create the tools within the framework that ETonline would need to meet its growing demands. Despite ETonline’s requirements for a high quality, flexible solution, it ultimately sought a more affordable, robust and scalable solution.
Content Management for the Rest of Us
What was needed was a capable, scalable, yet affordable content management solution. ETonline turned to Kineticode for help.
Kineticode proposed to manage the entire ETonline site, including all of its articles, images, movies, and videos, as well as documents delivered in HTML, RSS, and for search engine indexing, with Bricolage, an enterprise-class, open-source content management and publishing system, developed by Kineticode president David Wheeler. Noting that Bricolage, along with implementation services from Kineticode met all of its needs, ETonline agreed this was the ideal solution.
ETonline is a complex, rapidly evolving web site, said Elliott.
Bricolage excels at meeting the demands of fluid, dynamic environments, while providing the interface and tools to quickly adapt to changing needs going forward. As soon as we saw Bricolage at work, we knew it would meet our immediate needs and exceed our expectations in the future.
Jeannie Assimos, editor-in-chief of ETonline, highlighted the ease-of-use of the Bricolage user interface.
The interface provides a lot of advantage for users to manage content without a significant learning curve, said Assimos.
The editors have, on the whole, already absorbed general techniques and have started creating content within their own work styles. The flexibility is great because it allows people to work in different manners appropriate to their own styles, while still providing uniform access to the content.
Kineticode’s services were essential to the success of the project, added ETonline’s Elliott.
Kineticode’s services were very helpful, in demonstrating and specifying the content structure as appropriate to Bricolage, in providing initial templates that were functional and demonstrative, and in its training services, said Elliott.
It’s refreshing to work with people who are so smart. It makes for productive discourse and rapid problem solving.
Bricolage’s Flexibility, Kineticode’s Expertise Deliver Successful Implementation
The Bricolage-powered content management solution offers numerous advantages over ETonline’s former system. First, any future redesign of the site will be managed entirely by defining new documents via the Bricolage interface, and modifying existing templates or creating new templates to generate the content. Adding new site sections is even easier, using Bricolage’s category management tools.
A second benefit is Bricolage’s inherent extensibility. Bricolage’s templating environment is built on the Perl programming language, and therefore has all of the features of that widely-used application development platform. Furthermore, as an open-source application built on a well-defined framework of libraries and modules, Bricolage can easily be extended by ETonline as the need for new features and functionality is recognized.
We found that Bricolage provides a solid combination of function and extensibility, and the open-source nature of the software will allow us to modify the system as it grows, said Elliott.
Additionally, Bricolage’s document design and management tools provide a powerful yet easy-to-use interface for creating new types of documents for ETonline to manage.
Bricolage’s document element administrative interface makes it easy for us to create new types of documents as soon as we decide we need new forms of content on our site, said Elliott. Once new document types are defined, templates can be quickly developed for the new documents, outputting their contents to HTML, RSS, XML, or any other required format.
Not only were ETonline’s immediate needs for a content management solution satisfied, but future redesigns and site expansion can be made easily and cost effectively. This benefit allows ETonline to grow its site as quickly as the needs of its users demand and the speed of technology dictates, while realizing a higher overall return on investment.