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In SDL Web 8.5 trying to publish Components and Pages using Topology. My understanding is that one should be able to perform publish operation in CME once below three mandatory steps are completed.

Add-TtmCdTopologyType
Add-TtmCdEnvironment
Add-TtmCdTopology

But it seems its not enough and it requires Add-TtmWebsite and Add-TtmWebApplication to be executed first and define details about website and then web-application, their URLs etc.

The question is these two steps (Add-TtmWebsite and Add-TtmWebApplication) should not be mandatory if someone just need to publish Component, Page from CME. Publishing is never dependent on what are consumers(website, webapp, Urls) details.

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 > Add-TtmCdTopologyType -Id "TOPOLOGYTYPEID" -Name "TOPOLOGYTYPENAME" -EnvironmentPurposes “PURPOSES”  
 > Add-TtmCdEnvironment -Id "CDENVIRONMENTID" -EnvironmentPurpose "CDENVIRONMENTPURPOSE" -DiscoveryEndpointUrl "DISCOVERYENDPOINTURL"   
 > Add-TtmCdTopology -Id "TOPOLOGYID" -Name "TOPOLOGYNAME" -CdTopologyTypeId "TOPOLOGYTYPEID" -CdEnvironmentIds "CDENVIRONMENTIDS"  
 > Add-TtmWebsite -Id "WEBSITEID" -CdEnvironmentId "CDENVIRONMENTID" -BaseUrls “BASEURLS”  

you need to run all the above Command and after that create BPT map that BPT with Topology Type in order to setup the publishing using topology manager and after that you can test the publishing.

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Short answer, yes, you need to have a Website and a Webapp as well.

Long answer... Take a look at the following diagram and you will see one piece of the puzzle which you have not mentioned, namely the Mapping:

  1. The Mapping is what connects your Purpose/Target Type to a certain Web Application,

  2. Which in-turn (implicitly) defines the Content Delivery environment,

  3. Which is defined by the Discovery Service url,

  4. Through which you obtain the address of the Deployer.

Also take a look at the following page, it describes the entire publishing process in detail and can help you understand the concepts.

PS. If you create a Website it will automatically create a default Webapp for you, so theoretically, you don't have to explicitly do TtmWebApplication.

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Topology Manager enables publishing as well as other features such as:

  • View on Site
  • Site Wizard
  • List of sites in the slide out panel

I believe you can set up the Content Interaction Services and corresponding Content Interaction Libraries, independent of Topology Manager if you just want to use the updated architecture and microservices.

Though publishing has historically been mostly unaware of the client details, the fact that Tridion (Sites) was a Web Content Management system is clear in things like publication (image) settings and Experience Manager url settings.

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