SDL Tridion "Integration" in 30 Seconds

As a follow up to my video on SDL Tridion custom URLs (for custom selection or content author help pop-ups), here's another on the sometimes overlooked Custom Page feature.
Sometimes "integration" is something as simple as a hyperlink or "iframed" page within a tool. It might be tempting to discount something so simple.

30 Second Demo (with Music!)

Don't mind the not-so-subtle joke with the music selection as I demo how to add a SDL Tridion Custom Page in 3 clicks and a copy & paste. In this example I add an existing Google form, but this could be almost any web-available resource; Web pages and images will display, whereas documents will download based on the browser behavior.

Caveats

This is a quick and easy way to add "framed" views of Web pages or sites. Some considerations:

  • These are specific to the CMS environment and are visible to all content authors
  • Custom Pages list in the order they are added, but can  be sorted in the main view like other lists 
  • Some sites don't allow themselves to be used in this way (Google Code and FlowDock weren't working for me)
Some excellent use cases:
  • Built-in customized help or wiki page (e.g. SharePoint site or intranet pages related to content management)
  • Organization-specific contact information or form
  • Content Delivery websites
  • Reports or statistics (Web analytics, CMS-related reports, IT updates)
  • Re-use existing Web-based resources, tools, reports

Beyond Custom Pages

The Tridion 2011 front-end graphical user interface (GUI), also known as the Content Manager Explorer or CME, is extensible. This means development teams, third-parties, and the occasional Tridion hobbyist can add code, HTML, and graphics to customize the CME without changing the underlying code base (except for a configuration file or two). This loose coupling between extensions and Tridion encourages "plugin" like options as seen on the Tridion World Extensions page (39 extensions and growing).
So if you feel a simple "custom page" integration isn't enough and you're considering a fully-integrated-proprietary-splash-screen-with-company-branded custom buttons, yes you can customize your Tridion CMS interface. But first watch the video (with our without music, I don't mind), evaluate if your business needs can be addressed with this built-in feature, and remember that your authors can set their default view to something relevant and practical to them... like their content, bypassing Custom and Customized Pages..
I think I have the topic for my next Tridion in 30 seconds post. 

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