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Looking to tap into the wider experience of the group here - I'm facing a choice between organising regional content (e.g. content that's only for Europe or North America) either by folder or by publication.

This is an existing implementation with a traditional diamond blueprint with a translation layer for localisations. Some regional content has already been created in the "master" publication - into named folders.

My initial instinct was to use publications to manage this regional content but this would require moving existing components and re-linking them back into pages (approx 4000 pages in total).

We could carry on creating everything in the master publication with an improved folder structure and we introduce user groups/permissions and the "Hide organizational items if no access to content" setting so that when editors log in they only see stuff they're allowed to - which is ultimately the same point using regional publications would get us to.

The benefit here is it cuts out having to script the moving/relinking of components.

Does anyone have any experience of managing regional content from a single publication - is there a killer advantage to using publications over folder structure?

Are there any other gotchas to be aware of?

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One reason to use separate Publications is for integration with Tridion World Server / Translation Manager. The GUI for that in the CMS allows you to set language pairs - where each pair has a parent and child language. This is out of the box when you install the TMS connector and have a good language Blueprint configured.

Otherwise, for security, you're correct - folders give you much of the same benefit that separate Publications do.

  • +1, though Technically, it'd be Translation Manager which integrates SDL Tridion with SDL WorldServer, SDL TMS, or SDL BeGlobal (the latest "cloud" translation option). – Alvin Reyes Apr 29 '14 at 22:51
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I've seen two main questions drive whether to use folders or publications in this case.

  1. Are you dealing with personalization (variations) or language translation?
  2. Are authors consolidated or distributed?

Languages or Just Variations?

When dealing with large sets of similar content in the same language, I've seen folders work well. Centrally managed legal disclaimers, state- or region-specific news, or anything that has a one-to-many distribution fit libraries of folders, possibly with metadata on the items to re-use them across "channels."

For this type of personalizaiton, BluePrinting is the gotcha and an easy counter-example if you would you add X child publications for X variations of something (e.g. 50 publications for 50 states?). I point out how personalization differs from localization (and translation) in this post which was at least partially inspired by Manuel Garrido's earlier post in Minimizing Localization.

My (personal) recommendation would be all things being equal, don't add separate publications unless you need separate publications.

Groups of Authors

From personal experience and because the folders are often identical, multiple publications can be tedious for a central authoring group. Have you ever created content in the wrong publication?

However, I've seen a few setups where multiple publications work well with a central IT team supporting several distributed (possibly internal) organizations. Examples of this pseudo multi-tenant setup include:

  • Mini-sites: start and manage a quick new site independent of other branches in the BluePrint
  • Campuses with many departments or organizations: authorization is simplified to scope with a relatively flat BluePrint

Folders versus publications don't seem to matter as much for companies with few translation requirements, which is the biggest gotcha. Two regional publications implies two sets of translation publications in the translation layer. Otherwise you may need multiple content sources like this (login required), which I'm still trying to confirm if this works in practice.

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