Five Years, 300-ish Posts, and Counting...

I've been anticipating and humble-bragging that I would soon reach 300 Tridion blog posts.

But I had to double check and the truth is since joining the Tridion online community, I've already posted 311 posts, but not all have been about Tridion.

See a breakdown of my posts since 2011* across my personal blog, the official community site (previously TridionWorld and now SDL Community), and TridionDeveloper, a blog hosted by ContentBloom.

*I'm not including the cookbook, PowerTools, or my BA Toolkit code as posts. And though I started blogging and Tridion a few years before 2011, I didn't have the nerve to blog about Tridion until 2011.

After gathering my posts from the sites, I roughly categorized them into the following categories, listed in alphabetical order:
  • Blogging and Community
  • Example Code
  • Humor/Satire
  • Industry and Events
  • Personal/Career
  • Practices and Design
  • Product Features
  • Short or !Tridion (for really short posts or posts that had little to do with Tridion, its community, or my participation in the community)
  • Training/Guide
I'm sure posts could be reclassified or might have multiple categories, but I'm keeping it mostly simple.

Breakdown

I posted on a variety of topics on my own blog. But on sites with a clearer audience, I posted on fewer topics, meant for the intended audience. For TridionDeveloper I had a few technical posts on practices or design as well as example code. I also announced the Tridion Stack Exchange beta. On SDL Community or TridionWorld I shared training information or guides, product features, and a few posts on practices, industry events (Innovate), and community.



Combined, these made up my past 311 posts.


Audience-Focused by Channel... Mostly

You probably already filter your communication to the channel and audience. But if you find yourself asking what might you blog or share about, a good answer could be:
Share whatever you want, as long as its appropriate for the audience.
Below you can see I kept humorous, personal, or non-Tridion posts off both the official SDL Community sites and TridionDeveloper blog. But topics were "fair game" on CreateAndBreak.net.

Someone once made a point to me that "having an online persona without a personal website is almost like having a great party and not inviting anyone over." A personal site or blog offers those curious about you more information than just LinkedIn or Twitter. Also...
"...there’s nothing like meeting someone physically for the first time after having 'known' that person for a while online – and then sharing a beer!"
In addition to the Tridion-specific topics, I've shared some personal or career updates as well as some humorous posts, where I think I managed to piss someone off once, but promptly apologized and corrected the offending bits.

That's a lot of blah blah blogging.

Mostly Tridion

And since I had the data already (in Excel), I took another view with radial diagrams to emphasize the focus for each of these channels.

My personal blog, CreateAndBreak.net, features lots of topics, with the majority about Tridion practices and design. However, SDL Community/TridionWorld as well as TridionDeveloper are more about the audience.

I'm trying not to see a baby seal in this profile of blog topics. 

So though it's true that I've long advocated blogging and shared about the Tridion community itself, the majority (~29% or 81 posts, give or take) of my posts have been about Tridion practices and design. I somehow managed to share about a dozen snippets of code as well.

I suspect my posting velocity will drop a bit in my current role, but I'll continue to share about product features, industry news, and observations about our excellent community and developers.

Thanks so much for all of your help and community contributions along the way. Keep sharing and let us know about your own milestones.

Tridion Developer Summit 2016

Congratulations to Robert Curlette, the sponsors, and fellow presenters on another successful Tridion Developer Summit (TDS) 2016!

I want to share some quick observations as a presenter and fellow attendee as well as advice to those wanting to present or represent a vendor or partner. Oh and there'll be pictures at the end.

Context Matters, Especially for Developers

Tridionauts really love their IDEs. From DD4T to Alchemy GUI extensions to XView templating, implementers will find ways to do everything in their IDE of choice. Call our own Content Delivery API? Nope, they'll wrap it in DD4T. XML Configuration? Nope, they'll do that in a class in Alchemy (intellisense ftw!). Individual Template Building Blocks? Nope, instead maybe create a single Template Building Block (TBB) with the logic in its own MVC application in the Content Manager (TOM.NET) and call it XView.

By the way, our own DXA in Azure appeals this type of persona. As much as Tridionauts like Tridion, I see the work in these projects supporting the idea that Web developers want to develop. The product, extensions, and community work to make that easy.

Yes, I've Seen the Article. Did You Notice the Process?

"Have you seen this article in CMS Wire about SDL?"

"Why yes, you're the fourth person to mention it."

This post isn't about the content of the article or SDL's divestment news. For a good perspective on that, read a post referenced in the first article. This post is about a Linked-In feature, semantics, and possibly micro-formats.

So, how did you hear about the article? I don't see you mention the post about strategy shifts or this one about non-core units.

I suspect you heard about it through the Mentioned in the News (Linked-In) feature that promotes online news stories about people to their connections using an AI algorithm.

Here's what I (and maybe up to 500+ connections) saw. Note how the email automatically included:
  • A link to the article
  • The headline
  • A link to the connection's profile


The article, the connection's profile, and an email.

There are also two ways users can influence in the interaction:

  1. Wrong Person? In the email you can note if the person was incorrectly identified by Linked-In's algorithm
  2. Notifying connections when you're in the news. As a Linked-In user, you can opt out of this feature as seen below.



I find this fascinating in a few ways.
  1. Semantics. I'm not sure it's required to make the feature work, but the article uses microformats to mark the headline appropriately (itemprop="headline"). In addition to Google search results, this is a nice practical example of the more fuzzy term, semantics.
  2. Concrete. I suspect many are seeing the email and are interested in content labeled, "News about [your connection]." It's refreshing to see a direct connection mentioned rather than another link-bait title. This falls under the tip of using concrete details to create "sticky" messages. 
  3. Subtle AI. I also suspect few stop to notice the article doesn't actually link to your connection's Linked-In profile. An automated AI program determined the connection based on (plain) text in a news article and then grabbed the headline as well as a reasonable excerpt from the article. 
  4. Tracked. The links and images have querystring parameters likely for analytics, tracking, and/or possibly personalization features on Linked-In (which isn't really surprising).
  5. Not new. I'm late to the party. The feature was mentioned here and here.
  6. What Share Link? Despite the sharing link in the email, I ran across the article in Skype and Slack chat. Long live copy & paste!
  7. Creepiness averted. Offering user control is an important part of personalizing the customer experience.
So, what did you notice when you or someone else shared the story? Did your contact's name stand out? Did you congratulate him on being cited by an industry news source and/or discovered by Linked-In's algorithm? Or did you find this article in another way?

Maybe the content and news was compelling enough that you forgot about Linked-In?

Folder Practices with SDL Web/Tridion

I've been asked about folder best practices for SDL Web/Tridion a few times.

There is no single best practice for folders, though there are a few strategies that may fit you use cases based on what matters most to you. You manage folders mostly in the same way as any other system that organizes items, however, Tridion has three features that influence how you organize items:
  • BluePrinting
  • Different types of items (Components, Pages, Keywords, and External Content items)
  • Authorization
The Functional Design training describes three basic ways to organize folders:
  • By content type (schema)
  • By channel / site
  • By department or business unit
Most organizations use a mix of these approaches. You might also use dates to “archive” folders as well. These translate into familiar practices with corresponding trade-offs, starting with your top-level folders.