Adobe CQ: Author-Friendly Features

AEM | March 5, 2014

Modern websites need to not only display content but adapt to customer demands and do it quickly.  Many require complex systems and services in order to serve targeted and personalized content to end-users.  However, that doesn’t mean that your content authoring tools have to be complex as well.  In a modern content management system like Adobe Experience Manager, the goal is to give as much power to the content authors as possible while maintaining an experience that is easy to use and understand.

AEM recognizes that every business has different needs, and subsequently, content authors have different needs as well.  Some customers enjoy highly flexible sites, letting authors switch layouts and even add some additional creativity on the fly.  Others use the form-based authoring of traditional content management systems, preferring speed and a straightforward system.  Even strict data model driven content can be made highly flexible through the use of AEM’s Java Content Repository.  Authors no longer have to wait on an arduous refactor process, instead able to make changes to only those objects that need them.

The most commonly used authoring features of AEM are its Edit and Preview modes.  Shown above is the Edit view, which looks almost exactly like the author can expect the final site to appear when published.

Here, authors may update images, text, videos, links, or any other component that makes up the site.  These content changes can be inheritance based if desired, allowing a model of “author once, deploy anywhere.”  Either way, these changes are instantly propagated to the layout using drag-and-drop, in-line editing or fully customizable advanced dialog options.

Preview mode performs as expected, allowing the author to preview how the site would display live.  There are other page authoring modes, any of which can be enabled or disabled for the content authors based on need and permissions set by an administrator.  Design mode allows authors to customize shared layout or style parameters across component instances and enable/disable components for use in Edit mode.  Scaffolding mode provides a more form-based view, where authors can structure the components for each page type and create new pages based on this form.  The Client Context view lets authors hot swap how the website would look from different user demographics, interests, active campaign, and more.

 New in AEM 5.6 is the Targeting component, which expands on the clientcontext feature to help authors quickly hot-swap preview and produce content authoring for a different campaign and demographic combinations.  This results in a faster time to market, as authors can more easily visualize how the page will display for different groups of end-users.

Together these features make for a very powerful, customizable, and extensible authoring experience but they only scratch the surface of what AEM has to offer.

Just a few of the many additional authoring features in AEM:

  • Content and code package import/export
  • Digital Asset Manager
  • Mobile emulators and preview
  • Author task management including calendars with exporting
  • Visitor data management
  • Workflows, including content review and approval
  • Social community tools
  • Tagging
  • Cloud services
  • Generated reporting
  • Integration with Analytics

Does your Content Management System have the tools to empower your authors?  To make layout and targeting campaign changes on the fly without developer intervention?  Tired of managing authoring tool plugins or finding out later that your favorite tool is no longer supported? These AEM features are integrated and ready to use out-of-the-box.  Be on the lookout for future posts that cover these and other features more in-depth.  Need even more customization and components, tailored to your specific business needs?  That’s where we come in. Contact us to learn more.

Paul is a web development consultant at iCiDIGITAL with a long history of system analysis. He has a strong commitment to leveraging the best-fit technology and processes for the situation. His current development focuses are in AEM, Java, JavaScript, and responsive design. In his spare time he can be found reading, practicing the viola, enjoying the great outdoors, or planning for and playing any number of team-based tactical games such as Ultimate Frisbee.