Implementing Site Types within SDL Web 8.5

The challenge

“How can we have the ability to share page layouts, component layouts, and functionality across websites, while maintaining unique design?”

This is a common question for many companies today, as they try to leverage development efforts across their main site, blog sites and/or marketing microsites. This was also posed as a challenge to Tahzoo by a client with several hundred websites, spanning several different purposes, each with a unique look and feel. Additionally, they requested the ability to combine pieces of different layouts and keep others isolated to specific sites.

It was made very clear, while discussing their pain points, that while they wanted default layouts/components/pages for each type of site initially, future flexibility was one of their top priorities from the very beginning. What they didn’t want was a handful of siloed set of designs, templates and components that were only usable on that one type of site. They wanted the ability to have those handful of layouts to start, while still being able to mix and match for a “VIP” site. For instance, creating a homepage layout from one type, with a header and footer of another.

How We Helped

We knew immediately that implementing Site Types within SDL Web 8.5 would help this client bring a great experience to their Admins and Content Editors. SDL first introduced the concept of Site Types within Web 8. The benefit to implementing Site Types is that you have one or more master publications set as your template(s), from which Content Editors can easily create new web applications within Site Builder. While SDL Tridion’s Blueprinting capability allows for this as well, Site Builder has a user-friendly interface and configures Business Processes such as Publishing and Topology Manager. This means the Content Editor can put together a ready-to-publish publication, without the need of the IT department.

The header and footer layouts were unique to each Site Type. We also had shared components and pages that could be used in any of the Site Types. Each VueJS page template was developed so that it would accept any one of the Site Types’ headers/footers. If our client needed a Site Type A header and footer with a Site Type B homepage layout, they could absolutely create that within the Tridion CME by localizing the homepage of the publication created from master Site Type A and changing the homepage’s Page Template to the Site Type B homepage to create a unique look.

The Result

With SDL’s Site Types feature, Tahzoo put together a beautiful product for our client that was very flexible. Each of our client’s sites were created as child publications of one of a handful of default master publication templates. We carefully designed the layouts and developed each VueJS template in a way that any header and footer could be used with any page. This meant our client had an easy and fast way to put up a normal “default” site, as well as over a dozen different options in which to combine a header and footer with a homepage from any of the site types, allowing them to be as customized as they needed to be.

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