Dynamic Vs. Static Component Presentations Vs...

I recently made the mistake of asking a client about their preference for dynamic versus static component presentations and of course got the response, "we prefer dynamic!"
Component presentations (CPs) are simply the combination of some content (a component in Tridion) and how it displays (with a template in Tridion). When created by an author, these CPs on a page display according to page template rules. CPs on a Page are a Good Thing. They are appropriate with context, placement, and order matters. CP behavior is configured in your Component Templates.

Nothing Wrong with CPs on a Page

I prefer terms such as "embedded," "curated," or "assembled" to refer to Component Presentations on a Tridion Page. "Static" works, but as seen in my story, it suggests there's something outdated or wrong about assembling pages. There's nothing wrong with a Tridion page with embedded Component Presentations!

Pages are containers that let you add and arrange content. I've yet to see a setup where authors have no control over the order content displays. Occasionally I'll see attempts to push this ordering logic into re-used content and it rarely works, especially for content that's used with other pieces of content. Context and order matter.

When to choose Embedded CPs

Use pages with embedded (static or dynamic) CPs when your content is:
  • Re-usable. Authors will re-use component in various pages, possibly in regions on a page
  • Not "of the page." The placement of some element doesn't fit an easy-to-define rule (e.g. place in order by date). For example, the content might go on the top, left rail, or bottom of the page. Let authors choose with a template selection.
  • Context and order sensitive. CPs on a page help when order and context matters and authors need to see content in relation to other content.

The How

Dynamic Component Presentations refers to rendered content that is published for "dynamic" retrieval on the content delivery or presentation server.

If you check Allow on Page Using Dynamic Assembly for your template, authors can use these on a page to create component presentations. They're still embedded, but Tridion publishes references to the component presentations, for retrieval dynamically.


In summary "static vs dynamic" is a false dichotomy. You actually have three basic options in regards to CPs:

  • (Page-less) Dynamic Component Presentations (DCPs)
  • Pages with Embedded Component Presentations (commonly referred to as "static" component presentations [on a page])
  • Pages with Embedded Component Presentations added dynamically
I don't know of a friendly meme-worthy term for the last scenario, but how about:
  • CPs by reference
  • Dynamic Embedded CPS (D-E-CPs?)
  • Embedded DCPs?
Or maybe if I point out you need Tridion pages to get drag-and-drop functionality in Experience Manager, SDL Tridion's inline editing interface, I'll get less prompts for just DCPs.

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