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Authoring Content: Structured and Inline Content

The primary goal of Content Management isn’t to show off the flashiest new features or follow all the latest trends in design, but to provide you with the tools you need to create digital content that communicates your message clearly and effectively. With this in mind, Liferay offers two core approaches to help you accelerate and simplify creating and organizing content: Structured Web Content and Inline Content.

Structured Web Content

If you’ve entered content into a CMS before, you may be familiar with the process of filling content into various fields like this:

  • Title

  • Abstract

  • Text Body

This is an example of Structured Content. Structured Content is created within a predefined content structure and then added to pages as needed. The structure defines the fields and then a template defines its styles. The content is then saved, ready to be added to a page later.

The structure defines what kind of content you are creating and provides different types of fields that can be used. A developer could create a format for publishing articles that contains a Title, Header Image, Body Text, and a Key Quotation. The template defines how the elements of the structure are rendered. You could style the elements in the structure with the Title as large bold text, the Header Image as a full page width block above the title, the Text as standard text, and the Key Quotation as large font italics with a thin border that displays within the main text section. A content writer or marketer could then create any number of articles, all having a uniform style based on the structure.

In Liferay, those articles could be added to pages across the site, or displayed dynamically with tools like the Asset Publisher and Web Content Display Pages.

Inline Content

Inline Content is content that is created directly within a page. Rather than filling in fields to create content that’s added to a page later, you have a completed page design where you edit the text and image content. Content Pages start with a design which is then created with Fragments. Inside the Fragments, a developer can define where text and images can be placed or edited. Marketers and content writers are then free to write or add images within the page and publish it.

With content pages, basic HTML and CSS define the primary design, while JavaScript and Liferay specific tags can add dynamic behavior to the Content Page. After a developer creates the page and a content writer or marketer provides the content, the content exists inline within the page, and is published with it.

What’s best for your use case?

When you step back to look at the big picture, what you see are two different paradigms for building pages: content pages, where the content is built into the page; and widget pages, where content and other features can be added, removed, and rearranged as desired.

Often it is helpful to have reusable elements or content that can be moved around a page or placed anywhere on a site. For example, you might have a content based banner which you want to be able to drop onto any various pages with different layouts and styles, or you might have content that uses the same template to create similar items for different pages. Structured Content on widget pages is the tool you need to quickly create what you need and manage these cases. Widget pages with structured content are great for some cases, for example:

  • “Portal” pages, where you provide users a gateway into several different services or providing aggregated information.

  • Pages where the primary focus is widgets.

  • Pages that are based around structured content.

In other cases, you need to create a page as a complete unit. For example, you have a series of marketing driven landing pages that must match a specific design and have associated content intended for use on that page or with that campaign. Content Pages provide the best tool for quickly bringing a design to life and empowering marketing with inline content. Content Pages are useful for pages like:

  • Landing pages

  • Front pages that provide marketing information or a direct path into the website.

  • Pages with multiple variations and small graphical or textual changes across a large number of pages.

Most sites need a little bit of both. Read on to learn more about building sites with Liferay and how Content Pages and Structured Content can help you do that.

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