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.

Top-Level Folders

You'll first figure out your top-level folders by one of a few strategies.

Content First

To promote sharing you may consider organizing first by content type, with a possible trade-off of a more complicated authorization model. If you’re using Experience Manager, content types can have default folders so you’ll want content type-specific folders for those.

An example set of folders following "content first," might be:

  • Article
  • Banner
  • Disclaimer
  • Promotion

Channel First

If you follow the practice of minimizing localization where you create and maintain the bulk of your content at a global level in your BluePrint, then you might add channels to your top-level folders, such as:

  • Campaigns
  • Brand A
  • Brand B
  • Corporate
  • Extranet
  • Social

Structure First

A common pattern for navigation in Tridion is a naming conventions to sort website sections for Navigation. If your content highly reflects this structure, then you may follow your website sections in both Structure Groups and folders. For example, you may have:

  • 010 Products
  • 020 Services
  • 030 Solutions
  • 040 About

Editor Friendly Tips

Tridion authorization drives visibility in lists. This includes what’s visible in Schema or Component Template selections. You can segment schemas or templates by removing read permissions for their container folders.

In addition, be sure to include (virtual) search folders and bundles in your organization strategy. These help gather and present items in the CMS that may live in different physical locations.

Naming Conventions

In addition to how you want to prioritize your first-level items, you'll want to confirm naming conventions that work for you. Things to consider:
  • 010 Numbers or not
  • Singular or plural (Article or Articles)?
  • Business-Friendly Capitalization?

The most important point for folders is you need to create something you can live with and adapt over time. Having easily communicated and followed standards and naming conventions is probably more important than the specifics.

Process and Final Tips

See this post for more tips on the folder creation process with Tridion. Folders are not just about where to place things, but where to find them when you need them. I also point out some documentation tips with folders. And the community shared a few more points in this Tridion Stack Exchange question.

Beyond these Tridion-specific points, folder design is really an Information Architecture question. So with that, refer to the guiding question, "how would you do this without Tridion?"

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