Key Points* DISCOVER chose Plone for its ease-of-use, robust feature set, strong open source community, reduced vendor lock-in, outstanding customizability, standards compliance, reputation, economics, and high performance. * Before Plone, it took DISCOVER up to three weeks to publish a magazine issue online. With Plone, that has been cut to as few as three days. * Plone’s WYSIWYG editor greatly facilitates the management of the site for non-technical users and enforces design consistency. * Plone automatically generates related articles for each of the thousands of articles on the site. No manual intervention is required. * Video and multi-media content is easily managed * Thousands of articles were successfully and automatically migrated from DISCOVER's old CMS into Plone with no loss of inbound links.
Managing the WebsiteA major consideration in deploying Plone was the platform's ease-of-use for website editors and content managers. Amos Kenigsberg, DISCOVER's Web Editor specifically mentioned Plone's "very intuitive interface" and "simple and clear file structure" as two reasons why he strongly prefers Plone over DISCOVER's previous CMS, a closed, proprietary system. "Compared to our previous CMS," said Kenigsberg, "Plone is very 'webby'. It's a much more web-standard interface so I don't have to learn an entirely new UI (User Interface) that I'm not used to. There are no fiddly controls that operate on their own UI logic. It almost feels like you're editing the web page right on the page itself, without any seams between editing and viewing. With our old CMS, editing was completely separate from viewing – it had a completely different appearance, interface and UI logic." Plone's ease-of-use allows all DISCOVER editors to start managing the site quickly and everyone to work more efficiently.
In Design Integration: Automatic Import of an Entire IssueNew articles can be added to the site either manually by the site editor, or automatically by importing from a series of In Design files. This automatic article entry is especially useful if an editor wants to add all articles from the print magazine at once. In fact, this feature reduced the amount of time the DISCOVER staff needs each month to publish an issue from 2 to 3 weeks down to 3 to 5 days.
With a single click, content editors can import an entire issue into Plone Articles added to Plone are not visible to the public until the web editor chooses to manually publish the issue. This gives the web editors time to choose an article's channels and sub-channels, tweak the look-and-feel, fix any typos, and set any web-specific content or meta-data such as a RSS description or editor-chosen related articles. Issues and articles can be published instantly or scheduled for a future date and time.
An effective and expiration date can be applied to each article
Manual Article Entry and EditingWeb editors can also add content to the site manually. As soon as an article is entered into Plone, it is fully indexed by the search engine, though search results will only include articles the viewer has permission to see. Articles that are not yet published, or are subscriber-only, will not show for the general public.
Editors can manually enter content, such as this article The content editor has Microsoft Word-like editing capabilities, making it simple for non-technical people to use. In addition to standard WYSIWYG capabilities (bold, italics, bullets, images, links, etc.) the editor is easily customized to allow for pre-set text styles, (captions, pullquotes, etc.) enforcing a consistent look-and-feel for the site.
Plone's WYSIWYG toolbar Article length can span one or more pages (pagination), and site editors can determine page breaks, text, sidebars, images, and captions.
Organizing ContentArticles are primarily organized by channels and departments. Each channel covers a major topic in science or technology: "Health & Medicine", "Mind & Brain", "Technology", "Space", "Human Origins", "Living World", "Environment", and "Physics & Math". Articles can live within multiple channels at any one time. The article's primary channel determines which ad units are displayed, allowing DISCOVER to sell ad space by channel (an advertiser might want to advertise in the "Environment" channel but not the "Mind & Brain" channel.) Additionally, articles can be organized within one or more sub-channels (such as "Mental Health" within "Mind & Brain"). Each channel page shows a featured article, a list of sub-channels, and links to the channel’s unique RSS feed and newsletter. Departments such as "Blinded by Science", "Jaron's World" and "Vital Signs" are another way that editors can organize site content. Each department has a unique RSS feed, auto-generated by Plone, which enables site visitors to subscribe to keep track of anything new that is published in the department.
Related ArticlesFor each article, Plone automatically generates a list of related articles. This feature is a great way to help readers find the content that interests them the most and helps to up-sell subscriptions by showing subscriber-only content. Related articles are also an example of "cross-linking", which is especially helpful for search engines to crawl and index older site content, having a dramatic impact on SEO results. In addition, the site editors can manually override the Plone-generated related articles.
Plone automatically generates a list of related articles which the content editors can override
Featured ContentThe homepage centers on a Flash-based content player that highlights featured articles through high-resolution imagery or streaming videos. Visitors can view the content by clicking on a thumbnail image without ever having to reload the page; essential for quick performance. Each of the six items featured in the content player is manually chosen by the web editors. The editor browses the site's folder structure for the desired article or video using Plone's content browser. DISCOVER uses the Brightcove platform to stream videos. Brightcove provides a standard ID for every video uploaded into its network. The web editors can easily enter information about a video into Plone such as its Brightcove ID, title and description. By doing so, the video's description becomes findable by site visitors in Plone's search engine and is available for presentation in the media player.
The media player, a mix of AJAX and Flash, dynamically serves content from Plone Web editors can also select any number of articles to appear in the Recent Features list, a "portlet" that provides direct access to articles they want to feature. This portlet appears all throughout the site. Originally, the most recent feature articles on the site were automatically presented by Plone, but the web editors decided that they wanted more granular control. As an open source platform it was possible to make this change within Plone – a change that would not have been possible with a proprietary "closed" system.
Content Editors can select articles, videos, or photo galleries to feature