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Content Management System

Notes on Automation of Kamat.com
by Vikas Kamat
First Online: January 06, 2002
Page Last Updated: January 29, 2014

As Kamat's Potpourri website started to grow (year 1997), I found myself doing the same labor intensive tasks over and over again, and started automating the mundane tasks. In 1998, Hiryoung and I compiled the various automation scripts into an object-oriented, rule-based software system and called it a Content  Management System. Apparently, every large website has a content management problem, and here I will share with you some of the features of our system, and tips for  implementing your own.

What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software system that manages flow of content (stories, pictures, hyperlinks), revisions, and changes to look and feel of the content presentation. A CMS becomes necessary to manage the sudden burst of incoming content and to make sense of the content by providing navigation, context, and hyperlinks.

Features of Kamat Content CrowBot

Separation of form and content

A simple CMS can be just a Find & Replace program. We have found that a software that can do a Find and Replace well (multiple files, content & context based replacement) is a great CMS, because application of templates and managing of hyperlinks is where the most benefit comes from.

Automation of Mundane tasks

Here are some of the other automation done by our CMS:

  • Making of stubs (a.k.a. thumbnails) from Kamat's Photographs --We have thousands of pictures; imagine doing them with one by one by hand!

  • Building of table of contents

  • Uploading of content from desktop to WebServer

  • Content Rotation What's This?

Asynchronous Activities

Our experience has been that content production involves phases that are largely asynchronous -- the pictures may not be ready when a story is complete, or the story may be waiting on approval before going live. By separating the activities (story writing, picture scanning, hyper-linking, publishing, and promotion), each task is allowed to proceed in its own pace. So, on a weekend we might scan 200 photographs, whose captions have not yet arrived. The content automatically becomes available for publication as the various subsystems fill-in.

Content Directives

Kamat CMS works on a set of pre-defined rules. 
Some examples of a rules:

  • LINK the word Mahatma Gandhi to http://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/ in every story

  • If a story on Tigers is available, link to it -- otherwise link to it when it becomes available

  • In the story about Indian Tigers, highlight the story about Indian Elephants

  • Content Scheduling -- Publish a story on Gandhi on his birthday (every Oct 2nd.)

Smart Linking

The CMS suggests or even inserts the links to related content. All of our See Also sections are inserted this way. Other smart linking features include partial to complete URL translation, linking via SQL -- Link where Story.DateCreated = 01/26/2001 and Story.Author ='Jyotsna Kamat'

See Also:

 
Practical Articles on Website Building

 

How we build Kamat.com
Web Building on a Shoestring

 
Kamat's Potpourri Behind The Scenes Web Building

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