The Drupal-based content management system (CMS) for the new Commission web presence stores content as movable components, rather than as static parts of a traditional web page. This is a radical change - webpages will look as normal to a user, but behind the scenes, pages will be built up of content items, gathered and presented according to the subject at hand.
For example, the Commissioner below is related to a particular Directorate-General, and certain policies. The related content items that contain this information can be gathered together and displayed to a user on a page.
These content items are the data which make up content types. In Drupal, each item of content belongs to a single content type - templates we are developing that can be applied to each type of content, such as a policy or a person.
One of the steps in organising these content types is to see how they are related to each other. From a content type perspective, relations can define meaning. For example:
- a person content type can be related as a Commissioner to a department content type
- a department content type can govern a number of policy content types
- a department content type contains elements from topic content types
Apart from relations, we also store raw data on what we know about these content types, like a person's title, an introduction or any other specific parameters.
Information displayed on the department page can be actual information on the department, but can also be about the relations the department has.
This way of organising and storing data in content types gives us 2 big advantages:
- Because content is split up, it’s easier to automatically use correct metadata and microdata in the website’s code. This makes it easier for other systems to access our data patterns and use them, helping search engines identify the correct content that users are searching for.
- If it is necessary to update data or a relation, it becomes a simple one-step process that will be reflected across the many instances where we use that content item on the website.