Mac Publishing

Multiple cross-referencing sites call for extensible, scalable content management solution

Solution Overview/Summary

Business Challenge

Implement a content management solution to manage multiple Web sites from a single installation, while allowing content and cross-references to be shared between sites. Allow for the addition of future sites and the creation of new types of content, as well as provide an interface that meets the demanding standards of long-time Macintosh users.


A Bricolage-powered content management implementation, including the addition of new features to ease the management of multiple sites, implemented by Kineticode.


Technology News

Macworld Needed a Content Management System

Mac Publishing, LLC publishes the world’s leading independent Macintosh publication and Web sites. Until recently, content for the Macworld site ( was managed by a combination of Frontier and FileMaker Pro databases, resulting in an imperfect content management strategy. The MacCentral ( site used its own custom news publishing system, but was unable to easily share content or include cross-references to the Macworld site. Mac Publishing’s need for consistent formatting, centralized control, and codified workflow and editorial processes lead the company to seek alternate measures.

Mac Publishing was cautious in its evaluation and selection of a new content management solution and vendor. We recognized that we needed a system to manage the content of our sites going forward, said Sean Greathouse, Mac Publishing’s IT Director. With over 30,000 documents to manage, our existing systems just weren’t up to the task. We knew it was crucial to take the time to find the right system to meet our growing needs, to maximize the chances for a successful implementation.

Mac Publishing outlined a comprehensive list of requirements for their new content management solution. These requirements included: the ability to publish stories quickly; automatic update of index and archive pages as documents are published; rapid generation of lists of related documents; a method to target advertisements by generating zoned ad tags based on document keywords; the ability to easily generate content feeds for syndication to other Web sites; the ability to deeply link to the Macworld ProductFinder site; an intuitive user interface; and the ability to manage multiple sites with different users and different editorial processes from a single installation, including support for creating relationships between disparate content sources within the system.

Flexible Content Management

Kineticode proposed to address Mac Publishing’s needs with an implementation of the Bricolage content management and publishing system. It was Bricolage’s flexibility that won the contract; its inherent functionality was tapped to meet all of its requirements. One of the things that has often impressed me about Bricolage, particularly with regard to the work we did for Mac Publishing, is its profound adaptability, said David Wheeler, Kineticode president. In assessing Mac Publishing’s needs, we found that Bricolage benefits a client in ways that we never anticipated when we originally designed Bricolage. It’s extremely rewarding to create a product that can adapt to needs we never anticipated.

Greathouse highlighted the elegance of the Bricolage user interface as an important component in Mac Publishing’s decision-making process. In Bricolage, we found a system that allows our editors to easily manage content across multiple sites. The browser-based interface is fast, easy-to-use, and cross-platform compatible, while the powerful templating tools give our Web team system-wide control over the appearance and behavior of our sites.

Over the course of the project, Kineticode worked closely with Mac Publishing to identify the best approaches to meet all of its requirements. Category keywords dovetail with the need for targeted advertising zones, feeds to external sites are supported by adding new output channels to format and distribute content to other sites, and custom document fields provide the interface needed for deep links to the Macworld Product Finder. Bricolage’s intuitive user interface enables the publishing of documents with a single click, while the templates handle the generation of lists of related links and trigger the publication of index and archive pages.

Kineticode collaborated with Mac Publishing to specify the structure of the documents that needed to be managed, to build the server and create the templates to output the content, and to ensure that existing content could be seamlessly imported and republished from Bricolage. This effort culminated in the successful launch of a new version of the popular Macworld Web site. Launching a site managed by a new content management system is no small task, said Greathouse, But with Kineticode’s excellent implementation and support services, this project has been a solid success.

The launch of the Bricolage-managed Macworld Web site is a tremendous validation of the power and flexibility of well-written, scalable open-source software, said Wheeler. I’m pleased that Kineticode was able to partner with Mac Publishing to provide the expertise required to complete the successful and affordable rollout of an enterprise content management solution that meets the needs of such a forward-thinking and fast-moving publishing company.

Keys to Success

The Bricolage-powered content management solution offers Mac Publishing numerous advantages. First, adding new sites is straightforward using Bricolage’s category management interface. The recent migration of the MacCentral site to Bricolage illustrates this benefit. Additionally, Mac Publishing can easily create new types of documents as needed and then implement the templates for them, building on their existing library of templates. The result is rapid adaptation to changing market conditions as Mac Publishing’s Internet presences expands. Bricolage is a real foundation for managing all of our sites going forward, said Mac Publishing’s Greathouse. Thanks to its integrated administrative interface and ability to scale to our growing needs, we’re able to rapidly and effectively expand our online presence, managing it from a single platform.

Another advantage is Bricolage’s inherent extensibility. Mac Publishing maximizes this benefit both in the open-source code base, from which Mac Publishing can create new code to enhance Bricolage, and in templates, where it can use the full power of the Bricolage API to manage the output of its documents. Indeed, a key to the success of the Bricolage rollout was Mac Publishing’s sponsorship of the development of new Bricolage features. Much of the code written by Kineticode for Mac Publishing was contributed back to the Bricolage open-source project, to be included in a future release of Bricolage. We hope that Mac Publishing’s willingness to sponsor new Bricolage development will set a healthy precedent for cooperation between open-source software development and business interests, to the benefit of all, Wheeler said.

The rigid separation of content from presentation is also a significant benefit for Mac Publishing. Bricolage enables administrators to specify the structure of the documents they manage, and then enforces that structure in the document editing interface. The result is consistently structured documents that adhere to the Mac Publishing editorial style, as well as the simplified output of those documents. This functionality is especially important for Mac Publishing’s multisite environment, where documents are published and/or excerpted on different sites.

These benefits combined to satisfy Mac Publishing’s immediate needs for a content management solution, and also enable growth and rapid adaptability to changing conditions going forward, realizing a higher overall return on investment.