Fields and Folders are about the How not the What

Imagine being a Tridion consultant, helping content authors with setup you're not quite familiar with yet. You're asked:

"What does this field do?"

That can be the most embarrassing and challenging question I get from content authors when looking at an unfamiliar SDL Tridion setup simply because the entry forms are templates are configurable, programmable, and extensible.

Related to this is, "Where should we put these items?"

This one is slightly easier because the answer depends on the update process in terms of:
  • Who updates them
  • What types of items are they
  • Where are they used?
  • How frequently are they updated?
The answer to both these "what" and "where" questions should be a "how."

Swapping Parent-Child Publications in SDL Tridion

Tridion BluePrint changes can be difficult simply because of dependencies. Creating a BluePrint and some changes like inserting layers, adding branches, and changing priority are trivial.

You could even "copy" certain items up a BluePrint by changing releationships, making a copy, and rewiring the original setup. Again, the biggest catch is not having the right dependencies higher in the BluePrint (e.g. no templates to make pages in a content Publication)

Don't let anyone tell you BluePrint changes are impossible or extremely hard unless they understand BluePrinting and how your BluePrint is designed.

Here's an example where I swapped a Parent and Child relationship. Don't try this at home without a backup and a strong understanding of the Tridion Object Model (I'm not taking about the API).

You most likely have this in your BluePrint:

New Publication

Inserting a new Publication is simple:

  1. Create a new Publication (250 in the example), adding the same 200 parent Publication before saving
  2. Add the new 250 Publication as a parent to the 300 Publication
It's like cutting in line.


To perform a "swap" make the changes in reverse:
  1. In 300 swap parents.
  2. In 250 swap parents. 
  3. Fix names.

What can go wrong?

For most issues, Tridion will prevent you from saving a Publication change that breaks a dependency, thing includes things like:

  • Naming conflicts
  • Links to items local to a parent Publication that would break
  • Localized items in child Publications as seen below

But with clever timing or dumb luck you might be able to trick Tridion into saving an invalid reference. So always make a backup before making these types of changes and possibly validate relationships manually or with the Content Manager APIs (Core Service for the developers).

BluePrint Change in Under Five Minutes

After SDL Innovate 2014, I'm feeling bold enough to add audio and my smiling, drowsy, face. But notice the "Context Collapse" David Wesch describes. Without an audience, it's easy to draw inward.

Maybe I'll present to an SDL Buddy or when I'm more awake to liven up the presentation next time.

SDL Innovate: The Consultant in a Hat

SDL Innovate featured a #selfie contest, which I'm not sure I was even eligible for. But as a social media contest of sorts, I thought it'd be fun to well, join the fun.

Like back when I used to dance, I've gotten more stage fright around friends and peers than in front of large, anonymous crowds. I was nervous before taking some of these. :-)

Laptop selfie. I wasn't as self-conscious since most didn't notice the Web camera. 

Dynamic range would have helped with the contrast... maybe.

If you're wondering, "why the hat?" it's because it was the nicest-looking one at Target and for practical reasons: my hair was not long enough to stay in a ponytail yet. The real question then is, "why the long hair?" You'll have to catch me on a project or another event to get that answer.

It's a sign. Literally. On the ceiling!

I was nervous before getting this selfie. The singer was great and didn't seem to mind, though.
I've performed in front of audiences before, but I doubt I could have walked on stage for a better selfie.

This was easy since I was hiding in plain sight.

Cheesy Smile meets the Tridionator.

Mae I take this pic?

My favorite. I'm a fan of books like The Art of Explanation. I loved watching Secret City when I was little. Much thanks and props to +ImageThink for drawing my personal, brand-fanatic CXM story

My colleagues dared me to grab this selfie with my future self.

See the screen? That's the little guy below...
"I don't always do software demos, but when I do, it's for Tridion."

You might not recognize this guy without seeing the shoes.

Personally, I think SDL Buddy should have won the #selfie contest.

The funny thing is the anticipation of either taking a pic or what people might think after posting it felt scarier than it really was. My younger friends and family on Facebook and they seem quite comfortable sharing (fairly) personal details, but I don't see many sharing about work except the odd complaint.

I wonder if it's always harder sharing with or for your peers and colleagues? It's kind of sad because my 5-year old loves sharing what she did, learned, or made at school. I don't want her to lose the belief that she's creative or that her "work" is worthy.

If I've told you to (blah blah) blog, it's because you have a wit, charm, or some expertise the World could use. It doesn't even have to be this particular industry. Share, engage, or leave a legacy. It doesn't have to be blog posts, you could perform, code, practice the Art of Explanation (draw), Enchant others, or otherwise Show Your Work. Be a Linchpin.

If you were at Innovate, keynote speakers Josh Linkner and Ted Rubin told you variations of the same theme.

And if you've noticed, smart and creative people are making a living encouraging others to be creative. After reading those books or hearing presentations, you'll realize it's not about being good enough, it's about passionately doing whatever it is you're good at. Today's most rewarding and effective work involves creativity, passion, and connection. These thought leaders are actually not much smarter and creative than us. They're consistently creating something new and helping break down old expectations of what work really is about.

We can have jobs, careers, or better yet, vocations. It's not play to work vs. work to play, but work to have fun. Work to make a difference.

This might be the first time in history where anyone's contributions could be recorded and saved for "eternity." Welcome to immortality. If it sounds like too much pressure, don't worry, the whole World won't read everything you post. Find a way to share more by caring less and my hat's off to you.

SDL Innovate 2014: When Copying Makes Sense with Tridion

I posted how Context was part of my SDL Innovate 2014 presentation. Let me explain the ideas behind prototypes and what "templates" mean to typical knowledge workers.

You've probably read before it's impossible to copy items across publications in SDL Tridion or that re-use is a good idea. I'm sharing ways to cheat this supposed restriction and when to break this guideline.

When Re-use Doesn't Apply

Though sharing and re-use are good CMS principles to apply, they don't always apply.

A classic "gotcha" is re-using a banner, image, or component across many, but not all, pages in a website. The temptation is to re-use these by placing them on many pages as component presentations (often statically).

As I've explained before, publishing will update items that use your item. So if you statically re-use a component in several pages, publishing it will publish it across those pages. In this case, moving this re-used element from a component presentation to something more dynamic, possibly referenced by templates will:
  • Reduce authoring steps (maybe set a banner in Structure Group or otherwise configure them)
  • Reduce publishing and isolate publishing to content changes
  • Increase consistency on the site (fewer images)

Retail's View of Versioning

Some of my customers intentionally make copies of managed items (components or pages).

Retail customers prepare weeks to months in advance of a page and related assets. To manage these in Experience Manager and publish and test well-ahead of schedule I've seen a few work on separate Content Manager items that will eventually become the "active" version on a given date.

You might cringe, thinking "but that's not managed!" and you're absolutely correct.

But again, start by naming the content types. Look for "product," "seasonal," or "promo" and you have plenty of non-managed Real-world counter parts to such an un-managed scenario:
  • Product Brochure (versions and variations)
  • Holiday Specials Flyer (each new one is copy and pasted)
  • Promotional Advertisement (submitted as an image or included in another pamphlet, event agenda, or brochure)

Saved As...

How often do you have a single physical or digital copy of these? Do these look familiar?
  • ProductBrochure_v0.1.docx
  • ProductBrochure_v1.0.docx
  • ProductBrochure_reviewed-by-CEO_v1.1.docx
  • ProductBrochure_variation_v1.1.docx
  • ProductBrochure_merged_final_v1.2.docx
  • ProductBrochure_final_final_v1.3.docx
On the Web and especially with Tridion, though you can re-use content definitions, templates, and site structure across seasonal campaign- or micro-sites, the the approval, authoring, and page placement are all fairly different which means though pages could be localized, the content is separate.

Item description variations seen for multinational customers might have very similar content that you would typically localize across translated/country-specific publications, but with enough differences that separate "versions" of the content are needed.

Prototypes Again

We're talking about the space between well-structured content and templating. This is the variations seen in prototypes, which is what everyone else call templates.
  • That Word template for proposals? Prototype.
  • Creating a new Blog post with some default rich text? Prototype.
  • Marketings PowerPoint template? Prototype (and a theme).
How do these apply to Tridion?
  • Copy & Paste
  • Page Types
  • Content Types
But you need good definitions up front. You can define them before-hand or create them, but without prototypes, authors lack examples and context.

Large setups with very different (internal) cliens on the same BluePrint might even copy templates. This wouldn't make sense except for cases where the chosen design and functionality is decentralized. So the central IT team can instead "release" sets of functionality. They can announce a new schema or component template and then dozens to hundreds of independent groups will slowly adopt or ignore "new" CMS functionality.

To make authoring faster, more consistent, and easier, you need to start with good default, or sets of defaults. So let's start with something everyone should be familiar with, document "templates" in the form of Tridion Page Types and Content Types.

SDL Innovate 2014: Web Points and Questions

There were plenty of great questions and points that came up at SDL Innovate related to Tridion. Here are three that came up with my perspective as a consultant in Professional Services.
Disclaimer: mentions of future releases and functionality are public to the extent they were mentioned at an industry conference, but nothing is official until it's released on official channels (i.e. or TridionWorld).

Tridion Upgrades?

What will the upgrade impact be of the site factory features, reference implementation, delivery-side content model, and the cloud options?

We'll have to wait for the official details, but moving from on-premise to cloud would likely use a mix of database migration, the Content Porter, and/or the Core Service if needed. Though an in-place upgrade doesn't make sense, consider how a cloud solution will change future upgrades.

I suggested the hardest parts aren't the upgrade, but understanding how companies will use the features. Do you have ideas for a "templated" site, are you using the latest Web approaches to take advantage of the reference implementation, and do you prefer fields over component presentations and pages in delivery?

One-Stop CXM Shop?

The Forrester session that there isn't a single vendor who can provide Customer Experience Management.

Well, that's part of the point of SDL Innovate, to demonstrate how and where it can help businesses manage their customer experience. Insights, orchestration, and contextual experiences aren't necessarily technological, but SDL provides software to analyze website behavior as well as social sentiment (commitment), detect context, translate content in multiple ways (people, machines, or both, and now over the cloud), manage Web content, manage documentation, manage campaigns, serve matched or targeted information, and more.

An important point is that companies have much of the tools they need to manage their customer's experiences and any one vendor shouldn't attempt to replace existing solutions. SDL doesn't sell call center software (workforce management/optimization), but can use call center data or otherwise provide content, documentation, or translation to or for customer service.

If you look at the Ambient Data Framework, the common integration piece between SDL's offerings, you'll see the opportunity to integrate with nearly anything.

What About QA?

How can you test these multiple, contextual experiences?

Tridion's in-context editing interface, Experience Manager, has three features to help here:

  • Device preview, which changes the header sent to your Staging or Preview (non-Live) website
  • Personas, which show the site according to a given persona's segments as set up in Audience Manager
  • Footprint sets, which let you customize session information such as content language, search term, referrer URL, or even custom settings
Did you ask or answer other interesting questions at SDL Innovate? Engage and leave a comment!

Not Quite Contextual Screens... Everywhere

In the last week or so, with SDL Innovate 2014 approaching, I took pictures of screens that had some sense of "context," but it seemed most presented typical magazine- or broadcast-like experiences.

Could a faucet display in Las Vegas show something related to the context of going to the bathroom? Does the faucet know your gender?

Could a taxi screen know location or time  of day? Airplanes and mobile phones show location and time to destination, but this seems like a TV broadcast.

Not that I'd want devices to recognize me, per se, but this vending machine could know it's outside a certain store. Could it offer a mobile coupon or another way to interact with it? If I buy something, could the point of sale know enough to give me rewards points?

The Starbucks App recognized my location and reminded me about my gift card. This is probably old news to you but I remember when this type of capability was prefixed with, "in the future you might get geo-aware coupons."

I've written about Creepy CXM and personally don't want my devices tracking everything and assuming they know me. But a screen that helps me out  in the right context could make for a good experience. Saving time, offering helpful information, and reminding me about things I'm genuinely interested in can be positive contextual experiences.

Maybe things like:

  • "By the way, the next show starts in 10 minutes and it's not far from this bathroom."
  • "You're 15 minutes from the airport."
  • "Hello, it's cold today. Sodas are on sale!"
Translating this to the Web,, a contextual experience is what a user is doing or trying to achieve as he or she interacts with your company on whatever devices and scenarios. This could include:

  • Navigation and interaction optimized to devices (fingers are less precise than mice, but you can't "pinch" with a mouse)
  • An action a customer may take across devices (e.g. check into a flight, purchase a ticket, research a product)
  • Time or event-based scenarios where "matched" events are presented to a customer related to what they're doing on the site
If you're leaving the SDL Innovate conference, see what contextual experiences help you along the way.
  • When you check-in from email, did you get the right screen? Was your name or other details passed to the website?
  • Did you get alerts related to your flight? Did you get real-time traffic?
  • Do your apps show you the local weather or time? What about websites?
  • Was the content in your preferred language?
  • Are there power plugs where you expect them?

Disruptive Innovator

I'm listening to Josh Linkner's keynote at SDL Innovate and am trying not to jump up and down, going "ooh ooh, yeah I try to do that!"

Seven years ago, in 2007, I started Create And Break with the title Innovative Disruptor. I've since "rebranded" as a/the Disruptive Innovator. I'm surprised others haven't claimed a similar title.

Maybe I'm a bit presumptuous, but my brand of "creativity" has caused both pain and wins in my personal and work life. So far, it's been a "net" positive and it seems to be only getting better.

I had no idea what I was doing then. I think I have a clue today. Who knows what tomorrow brings, but I'll get there by creating and breaking as a disruptive innovator.

The first step was a combination of "hey, why not?" and giving myself permission. Give yourself permission to do something creative. Break something.

SDL Innovate: Web Content Management Workshop Recap -- Prototypes

SDL Experience Manager's Page Types and Content Types features let authors quickly create page and content based on "canned" prototype pages and content. This changes this:

Into a previewable option that will create the page, copy defaults, and even create content copies (or references based on your configuration):

Here are the source ideas and posts for yesterday's WCM workshop.

If you do use pages in Experience Manager, also consider regions:

SDL Buddy Approves of Page Types and Content Types.

SDL Innovate: Contextual Matters

This was the agenda for my SDL Innovate workshop in San Francisco.

Hands-on Workshop: Web Content Management with SDL Tridion
Alvin Reyes, SDL
Any business’ website is a vital communication portal to its customers. However, keeping web content updated can be a tedious process.  Attend this workshop to learn how SDL Tridion Web Content Management allows content contributors to focus on the task at hand. The interface provides tremendous flexibility and enables contributors to edit content directly within the context of the website, through all major browsers and in the preferred language. 
Get hands on experience with the main features and functions of SDL Tridion 2013 SP1, complete with sample exercises to demonstrate the basics of content authoring, management and publication.   
This course is best suited for those new to SDL Tridion and will introduce the key concepts and terminology in a practical environment.  Participation will require you bring a personal laptop with Internet Explorer / Chrome / FireFox installed.
That's a lot to accomplish in a 2-hour workshop over hotel conference WiFi. I changed the goal to help attendees see how contextual experience apply to the back-office orchestration that authors face. Luckily I only had one author in the group along with a few with technical backgrounds, some projects managers, and those representing the business (that aren't necessarily authors themselves).

Contextual Defined

In my view, "contextual" means related things or actions you want when you're doing what you're doing, where you're doing it. 
Context isn't mysterious. Here are some recent observations on contextual experiences, or simply how we interact with tasks and activities in the Real World or with digital interfaces. Notice how these relate to another "c" word: "convenience."

Do you ever get requests or questions like these?
  • "Can you email me the file, please?"
  • "This is off-topic, but..." as seen in chat or email
  • "How do I use this tool without using the recommended approach? I want to do it this way instead."
As a personal example I recently moved a bookcase "the lazy way" by wiggling it and pushing stuff aside until I shoved it into it's final spot.

The proper way would have been to:
  • Remove everything off the shelves
  • Clear a path
  • Move it

Real World Contextual Preferences

What do these requests have in common?

In the context of what we're trying to do, it's hard changing context, going somewhere else, or starting something when something like it is readily accessible or familiar (browser, new chat window, or starting a new project). Why make two emails when you can address everyone in one? Here are the unspoken background contexts to the above situations:

1. [Since I have Outlook open but not my browser] can you email me the file, please?
2. Off-topic, but [since I have this chat open], let me ask you something.
3. [I am more familiar with with my approach and code.] I want to do it this way instead.

This isn't a criticism, just today's reality.

You will experience this when someone asks if the group wants to go somewhere and the response is lackluster. "Let's go?" "Meh." But once people are there, experiencing whatever you wanted them to do, in-context, then they become interested, have fun, or develop an opinion on how it should go.

People don't care and don't know until they're experiencing it. Hopefully my workshop attendees were experiencing what authors see, even if vicariously.

Have you?

  • Ever reached for any tool to open something rather than scissors.
  • Opened the easiest, most accessible tool on your computer rather than the right one
  • Preferred your computer and your examples rather than someone else's computer or example

Contextual Responses

The best experiences reflect people, products, or services that adjust to you.

  • If you want email, sure no problem. I'll keep a copy in the shared location as well.
  • If you ask, I'll try to answer.
  • If you don't want to try another approach, I'll answer best I can but also show the other approach is so much easier.
Things that just work have accounted for all the ways you might use it in context. Context include what's "nearby" while you're trying to do some task or activity. This includes:
  • Related actions or steps you might also want to do
  • Items that are the same as what you're working on
  • Recent or most popular activities
Context also includes the environment, device, and perhaps people around you when performing such an activity. It probably also includes the things you don't want to appear.

SDL Connected Recap

Much of what happened in Vegas will stay on Facebook or in bits and pieces as recounted in future gatherings. Here are the safe-to-share CXM- and Tridion-related parts.

"CXM Icebreakers" may never go viral, but feel free to share, explain, or use these types of games, format, or explanations. You might find a quick game useful in explaining how to orchestrate contextual experiences for today's empowered customer before, at, or after a purchase or interaction. At the very least, you can wake up an audience.


A sneak peek into what we were planning before the event. 

Day 1

How the game turned actually turned out and an "aha" (or an "oh duh") perspective on Tridion integrations.

Day 2

The second game was even harder, but I think we improved our product knowledge... somewhat.

Day 3

The final presentations sharing SDL's product roadmap will stay in Vegas, sorry. But you can see some of the presentation live at SDL Innovate, June 10 - 12, San Francisco, CA. Or get insights by following @SDLInnovate on Twitter.

SDL Connected: Post-Event Team-Building Experience Day 2

We finished the Day 2, Pillars-to-Pillars game. We learned some lessons getting to the following answers.


  • (Randomly chosen) SDL Social Intelligence Customer Experience Analytics and SDL Media Manager = fairly creative answers including:
    • Media Manager Connector -> Tridion -> ADF -> Website
    • Media Manager -> YouTube -> SI
    • Customer Commitment Framework  (using Twitter hash tags) for Videos that are rated
    • Data from Social Intelligence (in Engine), coming from CMA embedded into MediaManager
    • (Not possible or "this sucks")


  • Beware of making games for people in sales and consulting
  • Yelling hopefully correlates with learning (emotions impact memory and recall)
  • Using random products or modules makes it hard to have fairly objective answers
If running Pillars-to-Pillars, consider picking the product, "connection," or term you want to clarify like "OData."

To learn more about SDL, its Customer Experience Management perspective, and solutions, consider checking out SDL Innovate in San Francisco next week, June 10-12, 2014. 

SDL Connected: Important Tridion Integration Questions

We learned about disruptive, yet innovative, technologies in the first day of SDL Connected, my team's knowledge sharing event. From cloud use seen in today's clients, to interesting projects our partners are working on, to updates in Microsoft development stack and our own Media Manager, it looks like 2014 and 2015 will be just as interesting as 2011. Get ready for the 5 Stages all over again (but it'll be easier this time, trust me).


Such updates should prompt three questions from any experienced Tridionaut:
  1. How will it work with BluePrinting?
  2. How will it work in DTAP?
  3. How will it work in the Fifth (personal) and Sixth (training) environments? This includes licensing as well as a potential one-to-many relationship (as seen when starting cloud training instances).
  4. Update: How will it work with Create, Read, Update, and Delete (plus search/list and publish)?
For example, for Media Manager, we have:
  1. BluePrinted. The MediaManager Connector, as an External Content Library (ECL), is "somewhat BluePrint aware." Items are shared throughout a BluePrint and you can localize Tridion-side metadata if you have any configured. Most importantly, you can pass querystring parameters such as subtitle, voice over, and backslide (sl, vo, and bl respectively) to the unique distribution URL to get a shared (video) asset with the correct localization or translation.
  2. Shared across DTAP. Unless you license multiple Media Manager accounts, DTAP could have multiple SDL Tridion environments share a Media Manager connection. Frank Taylor was asked the same question and has used a test folder of sorts in his implementations.
  3. One-to-Many Environments. Personal and Training environments may also connect to the same Media Manager connection, which means training exercises should be unique to individuals. Personal naming conventions for creation can help, otherwise read-only access (using a distribution on a page, for example) is fine. With more awareness of the Media Manager Web service, I'm sure we can also work out smart ways to clean up and organize items.

Considerations for an Answer

Whether your background is system architecture, object-oriented design, data modeling, or content modeling, the same principles apply:
  • What are the systems, classes/objects, data, or fields? How many are there?
  • What are the relationships? Are there sets (-tuples) that belong together. Are the items related one-to-one (1:1), one-to-many (1:many), or many-to-many? Are there limits such as minimums or maximums?
  • How will CRUD work? With CMS you also have to consider publishing and search in addition to create, read, update, and delete (P-SCRUD?). Update: I moved this up as an important fourth point.
  • Which way do updates work (which way do the arrows point?)?
  • Who will manage which parts and where?
BluePrinting, DTAP, and ad-hoc environments, got it?

Bonus: apparently I missed publishing my CRUD post. I guess it's a 2-for-1 kind of blogging day.

Let CRUD Guide your Tridion Integration

Bart Koopman describes ways to tackle SDL Tridion integrations in this SDL Tridion World article and a follow-up podcast with Robert Curlette on TridionTalk.

So now you know the how and where, but let's look at the why, when, and which to choose.

Let's revisit some terminology you might have heard: Baking versus Frying.
  • Baking is the idea of placing data, content, or multimedia into a system for retrieval "as is" at a later time. You can bake in the CMS or during publish. These items may be managed but the individual details, are stored in the format they're requested.
  • Frying is the idea of retrieving, querying, or assembling these in content delivery
We apply these approaches generally in three spots:
But how do you know what to choose since any approach would work (the first time)? Whether you put an image in SDL Tridion, add it in publishing, retrieve it from your content delivery network, or add it with some client-side script, you can add an image to a page.

So let's look at some older lingo you should have heard: (S)CRUD, the basic "functions of persistent storage:"

  • Search
  • Create
  • Read
  • Update
  • Delete

Add the fact that someone, it might not be authors, has to manage your integration then you have your answer on where and how to do the integration especially since an information system includes people, process, and technology.


How many items are you connecting to SDL Tridion? Would authors know how to identify these from memory or is there a list of items? Can you automate an association to the things you're integrating with?

A few items imply your integration might be in "key-value" configuration components or Application Data (hidden fields or data for items). Make links or paths to Tridion items and add an external identifier.

A few dozen items might require placing components nested in folders or as keywords optionally in a taxonomy tree. Authors would be able to find, select, and then update these "external" items easily. Each component has a field that represents the external item.

Thousands of items in a product catalog or digital system suggest searching in the Content Manager isn't as easy as looking at a list. Consider placing the items outside of Tridion, but not necessarily outside the interface.

SDL Tridion's External Content Library (ECL) is a good fit for multimedia integration. If you're considering options for multimedia (along with translations, analytics, encoding, and more), consider SDL Media Manager which comes with its own ECL Connector to SDL Tridion.


Where does the data, content, or multimedia live? Will authors create this in SDL Tridion or is there a better tool or system? Even if SDL Tridion might be "better," is there an existing tool or system that's not ready to be changed or needed for other things? Look for a best fit, but take your time confirming any changes (mind the people in the process).

From an authoring side you can extend SDL Tridion to show some of these creation options in the Content Manager, even though the items still live in another system.


When do authors need to make the association and when does the data need to be read? This will help confirm whether to bake or fry.

Knowing the content or data model, especially in terms of cardinality, will help here. Do you have a one-to-one (1:1) relationship? A one-to-many? Or many-to-many? In content management terms we refer to direct and indirect relationships, which roughly translate to links/embedded items and taxonomy, respectively.

A one-to-one relationship might mean page metadata or components.
A one-to-many or many-to-many need, where one external item is used in multiple place in Tridion could mean a keyword or component that acts as the external item.


Where and how often do updates happen? Will it happen as part of the publishing process, or should it happen automatically without publishing (update externally, but retrieve presentation or even client-side?).

Will the approach change often? Is the configuration something that should be in Tridion? Do parameters change frequently?

Will data in the external system be accurate? Do authors need to change it and if so, should the changes be reflected back in the other system?


Finally, how often do you need to delete or remove something?

This can be overlooked, but is important because SDL Tridion can easily unpublish items, but it will restrict you from deleting things without first removing the dependencies.

SDL Connected: Post-Event Team-Building Experience Day 1

We just wrapped up Day 1 of "Connected," our 2014 Knowledge Days team building event. As somewhat expected, Pillars and Journeys included lots of interaction (yelling) and hopefully some learning. Thanks all for being a good sport. Here are the use cases you suggested. I leave out the product details

Pillars and Journeys

*The numbers show the order of the answers. See how the scenarios evolved as the group got warmed up and trust me, the big smile and laughter from my part meant I was definitely impressed.
    Pillar / Step in Customer’s Journey
    3. Before a purchase, a website visitor searches for items using a mobile phone in a given geographic location, looking for user-generated reviews/comments as well as documentation translated into their language. Based on this ambient data, you get insight into what customers are looking for even before they make a purchase.

    1. After a (registered) user makes a purchase they receive follow-up emails which can track actions taken on the website. Social intelligence can also show insight into how customers feel about the product after such purchases.

    4. Parents purchased a complex toy manufactured in a different country, which has material translated into multiple languages along with helpful video and documentation available on a mobile-optimized website. Follow-up email campaigns along with web analytics help you follow their actions post-purchase.
    Contextual Experience
    5. Someone on an older phone searches for a new smart phone to purchase and chats with support before purchasing (in a preferred language). Translated documentation also helps the visitor evaluate the product.

    The product included a complex release cycle with marketing material, rich media, and targeted content.
    2. A visitor makes a purchase on a mobile device, seeing related, contextual content promoted (as an experience). The site integrates with an eCommerce engine.

    *This was seen at an actual retail customer that wanted to create a typical seasonal store front display "experience," but on the Web.

    These scenarios should be familiar to anyone who's researched, purchased, unwrapped, or experienced a product or service. The fun part for my SDL colleagues and the partners that attended was mapping these back to appropriate product, service, or customer example.

    I also attempted to summarize 2 days worth of Media Manager Bootcamp material into 30 minutes. It might not have been my strongest presentation, but read the post to review my main points. Contact SDL Education if you're interested in attending an actual Media Manager Bootcamp or session.

    CXM Pillars and Journeys Cheat Sheet

    Here's a cheat sheet for the CXM Ice Breakers game with some possible answers for Pillars and Journeys and Pillars-to-Pillars. The advanced version would have you confirm version numbers.
    • SDL Archive Manager
    • SDL BeGlobal
    • SDL Campaign Management & Analytics
    • SDL Content Porter
    • SDL Context Engine Cartridge
    • SDL Contextual Image Delivery
    • SDL Customer Analytics
    • SDL Social Intelligence Customer Experience Analytics
      (Customer Commitment Dashboard)
    • SDL CWA
    • SDL Fredhopper
    • SDL LiveContent
    • SDL Media Manager
    • SDL Social Media Monitoring (SM2)
    • SDL Tridion
    • SDL Tridion Connector for CMIS
    • SDL Tridion Connector for SDL Media Manager
    • SDL Tridion Online Marketing Explorer
    • SDL Tridion Profiling and Personalization
    • SDL SmartTarget
    • SDL WebForms
    • SDL WorldServer
    • SDL XPP
    • SDL Quatron
    As a reminder of how to understand pillars, here's the basic idea:
    • Insights -- anything related to monitoring, analyzing, and otherwise capturing customer information, behavior, and sentiment around you, your websites, or your products
    • Orchestration -- anything that helps you create, edit, profile, and gather a mix of editorial or technical content along with back-office systems. Think any Content Management System and content project-related software.
    • Contextual experience -- content/presentation, translation, and localization specific to a visitor's context (which is more than just their device and can include location, what they're trying to achieve, etc).
    To save time soliciting product, module, and add-on names and making a drawing of sorts, you can use an online random number generator.

    Quick and Dirty Way to Determine X and Y Coordinates

    Sometimes Tridion content authors need to enter X and Y coordinates to position an element within an image, content or on a page. I believe there are often better ways to handle such positioning requirements including a mix of:
    • Automatic for authors:
      • Styles (e.g. automatic placing presentations)
      • Relying on inline flow and block elements (e.g. placing selections and items in order from top-to-bottom or left-to-right)
      • Making the entire component presentation, image, or area clickable rather than a specific (hot) spot
    • Higher-level selections for authors:
      • Relative positioning where authors choose something easier to understand than coordinates (e.g. top, right, bottom, left)
      • Templates (for a few options, we don't want dozens of templates but "left" and "right" options could be reasonable)
    But if you find yourself entering such “Battleship” fields, especially within an image, here’s a quick tip using Window’s MS Paint or another image editing program.


    Paint’s status bar will show you dimensions as well as X and Y in pixels as you move your mouse over an open image.