Developing For the BC Government CMS Lite
- Current CMS Lite Build and Release Date: 126.96.36.199 - April 2, 2019
- Browsers Supported: Firefox Quantum v66.0+ and Google Chrome v73.0+
- Article Modified: April 2, 2019
- Article Keywords: GDX, Government Digital Experience, CMS, CMS Lite, Content Management, Content Management Framework, CMF, Framework, Sprint, JIRA, Agile, Scrum, Design, Templates, Mock-ups, Wireframes, Overview, gov.bc.ca, BC, Province of BC, Canada, British Columbia
- Article Description: An overview of The Province of B.C.'s content management system - CMS Lite
- URL: gov.bc.ca/cms
GDX (Government Digital Experience) launched CMS Lite in April 2012. It is a custom, in-house developed content management tool used to manage content on www2.gov.bc.ca and other CMS Lite-based sites.
All ministries are in the process of migrating their content to www2.gov.bc.ca using this application (as outlined by the Internet Strategy 2.0 initiative).
This article outlines how CMS Lite, gov.bc.ca and your content come together to provide the high quality experience B.C. residents and all site visitors expect.
- Ministries and Topics
- Developed for Mozilla Firefox; Certified with Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer is not a supported browser for CMS Lite
- Ready-made template
- Save = QA, Publish = Production
- Mock-ups or Wireframes?
- Future development
- Further reading
The current set-up of the government website is based on our "16-8-8-8” rule. There are 16 main Themes (the 1st level of navigation). Each Theme can contain up to 8 Sub-themes (the 2nd level of navigation). Each Sub-theme can contain up to 8 Topics (the 3rd level of navigation). The first two levels of navigation are managed by the GDX. Ministries are responsible for content starting at the Topic level (3rd level). Ministries have the ability to build unlimited content from their Topic level down to the lowest level of the site's Information Architecture (IA) — which is the 8th level.
The top level Theme's are now sorted in alphabetical order.
Using your evidence-based research and working with GDX, we can assist you in determining the best location for your content in the site’s IA. By doing so, we can provide you a secure area within CMS Lite, where you and your web team can exclusively manage your content. We can also help make connections for you with other ministry content authors if you require content to appear in existing topics not managed by your security group.
CMS Lite has many features found in your typical content management system. However, GDX has gone a step further, and customized it to serve the unique requirements for managing the B.C. government website. Release notes are available online.
Features of the tool for CMS Lite users provide the following functionality:
- NEW! Web Analytics for CMS Lite pages are now available
- Click on the Analytics tab to access analytics for the current page, theme, or the full site
- The Usage tab for a given Page has been enhanced to display up to three tables of information:
- Where the Page is being used (existing feature)
- Which Assets are used on the page (new feature)
- Which Pages are linked to from the page (new feature)
- Additional filters have been included in the combo-box on the CMS Lite homepage:
- Embedded Flickr accounts
- Embedded Google maps
- Embedded YouTube videos
- Links to a Flickr account
- Links to a Google map
- Links to a YouTube video
- Use of an Accordion
- Use of Search
- Use of Alerts
- The Results Per Page option have been expanded from 10, 25, 50, to include 100, 150, 250, when viewing results in the Content/Asset Status Pane, and the Asset Folder Pane.
- A new Feature combo-box has been added to the Content Filters allowing user to find all pages with the following Right Column Components:
- Use of Contact Information box
- Use of Promo box
- Use of Related Links box
- Use of a Subscription box
- Use of Twitter Feed box
- CMS Lite now offers reports regarding site wide usage of pages and assets, link checker report and list of the most recent moved pages
- CMS Lite users can now allow users to subscribe to pages for email notification.
- Unused vocabulary terms can now be deleted
- One can now import (upload) a CSV of terms into an existing vocabulary
- gov.bc.ca emergency/alert messages (which would appear at the top of all pages) can be created
- Sort and Search functionality, as well as Pagination, may be applied to large tables
- Historical versions of assets may now be reverted
- History information is now recorded on actions performed on Assetsand Asset Folders
- You can now delete Pages and Assets from the CMS Lite homepage
- Only secure (https) content will be allowed when embedding videos, Flickr, maps and data visualization
- You can now filter by page-type on the CMS Lite homepage
- Implemented the ability for CMS Lite users to prevent our Google Search Appliance (GSA) on gov.bc.ca, as well as Google and other search engines from indexing page content
- Support the display of multi-lingual content (French, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese and Korean). A number of (formerly) hardcoded labels in Topic, Theme and Search pages now reflect the language selected upon page creation
- Ability to clone a parent page, and all of its descendants
- Ability to revert content back to a previous version from a click of a button
- When creating links to assets, you have the ability to force them to be downloaded, or allow them to open within the browser
- When users unlock your pages, you will be notified about the action by email
- Ability to create links that look like a button
- Ability to add display and hide dates and times to Alert banners
- Ability to visual see the content and data of a previously published (versioned) page
- Each page type now includes a running log (history) of actions performed on each page
- Ability to run a Link Checker (to confirm live/dead links) on a per page basis
- A new Manager role has been implemented to allow ministries to manage their own security group
- Ability to embed Enhanced Search into your pages
- Ability to include an optional message on pages, advising your colleagues about the changes you are making to the content
- Ability to include in-page alert messages
- Ability to clone an existing page up to 20 times
- Ability to create up to 20 new pages at one time
- Functionality has been added to the CKEditor (WYSIWYG tool) to allow for the embedding of web accordion (expand/collapse) content
- A Usage Tab has been added to the Asset Settings pane to provide a list of page(s) that an asset is attached to in CMS Lite
- Up to 500 assets totalling no more than 100 MB may be uploaded at one time
- Improved response of the Metadata term type-ahead and term picker search to display results. Results appear five times faster
- For content managed on www2.gov.bc.ca, you can revert content to what is found in production. That means, if you make multiple changes to a page, and you want to go back to the original copy, you now can do that
- www2.gov.bc.ca URLs are now human-readable (HRU), instead of the GUID-based URLs (GBU)
- Modifiy the HRU (to use a specific label or to shorten the path name)
- Secured content management at the Topic level
- WYSIWYG tool, CK Editor
- Paste from MS Word
- Standard formatting features, such as bold, italics, ordered and unordered lists, text alignment, links, anchors and bookmarks
- Embedding of images, tables, YouTube and BC Gov videos, Flickr albums and Google and Government developed maps
- Create content in the content well (middle of the template) and right column
- Ability to re-arrange the right column components, as desired
- Save a page without filling in all mandatory fields
- Note: All mandatory fields must be filled in prior to publishing content
- Publish up to 100 MB worth of assets and pages during a single deployment session
- You can also see the file sizes of individual assets and assets contained within folders
- Manage a Topic's hierarchy (the Information Architecture or left navigation)
- Deploy out changes to the I.A. (publish left navigation) without having to publish pages
- Create custom vocabularies, and within that, terms, related terms and alternate terms
- Tag content and assets with GDX-developed and self-developed metadata
- Create custom tag collections
- Publish pages or assets – immediately or at a specific time
- Unpublish pages or assets – a flag is set to not show the content in PROD, but it remains in CMS Lite
- Search for pages or assets
- A successful keyword search will display results if assets or folders contain the keyword
- Open pages or assets using a URL or GUID
- Lock and unlock pages and see who has a page locked
- View modified pages in QA and PROD from the application
You must install the latest version of Firefox or Chrome to your workstation to use CMS Lite. As is, GDX will only support clients who use these browsers. Please ensure you upgrade your browser(s) frequently, so that you have the most stable and reliable application running. Departments that need to be IE compliant need to contact Shawn DeWolfe Consulting to discuss a working strategy.
Currently, no version of MS Internet Explorer/Edge or Apple Safari is certified to work with CMS Lite. Therefore, you must install the latest version of Firefox or Chrome to your workstation/PC to use CMS Lite.
Mobile devices are not certified to work with CMS Lite. That all said, government offices can connect with Shawn DeWolfe Consulting. We have proven strategies for how to make content work in both a range of mobile user interfaces; and work in Internet Explorer. Better still, we have a plan for how to make the Chromium driven Internet Explorer work for your audience.
A key aspect of the Internet Strategy is the vision – “One Domain, One Design, One High-Quality Citizen Experience”. This statement, though short, is powerful and a vision GDX strives to achieve and maintain for the province.
We have developed a template that provides ministries the ability to adhere to a common design, but have built in flexibility to allow you to customize your content to meet the informational needs of your line of business. This template – Topic template – renders the content that you see on Gov, today.
There are many ways to develop your content with this template using CMS Lite.
Here are just a few examples of different page layouts you can make using the standard Topic template:
- Three Right column boxes, a bulleted list and a table
- No Right column boxes
- Three Right column boxes, in-page anchors and extensive left navigation
CMS Lite also has business logic built into the Topic template that prevents the publishing of a page to production that does not meet certain criteria. For example:
- All required fields that have an asterisk next to the field label are required
- At a minimum, all topics need to have a title, nav title, body of content, and metadata
- Up to four optional Right column boxes can be used on a page, but if used, they have their own mandatory fields
When you build a page in CMS Lite, you are using the production version of the content management tool. When you create your content and save it, the file is stored to a database table which will allow you to view it on the QA (Quality Assurance) web server—a pre-production, secure website that only individuals with security can access. The QA environment allows you to preview the content (with the Topic template), and allows you to navigate around your Topic prior to you committing the page to production (gov.bc.ca). When all mandatory fields are filled in, you can publish the page immediately to production, or set a future time/date.
You will not be provided a test or development CMS Lite environment (or access to any test or dev websites). The environments we provide you are the only ones you need to manage your content.
As mentioned earlier, CMS Lite already has the template you need to onboard your content to gov.bc.ca. You (or a UX design firm you work with) SHOULD NOT design or develop new templates, or modify the existing Topic template to support your content. You need to fit your content into the Topic template GDX provides you.
If you are working with a UX design firm, they may propose to “mock-up” or provide you “wireframes” of what your Topic will look like. We recommend simply using CMS Lite to generate these mock-ups. Design firms should not introduce new designs, features or functionality that is not part of the existing CMS Lite service offering or style/layout of gov.bc.ca.
GDX employs Agile methodologies, with daily scrums. We plan Sprints every month, tracking tickets in JIRA.
CMS Lite is an evolving application with many features still to come, including requests from both GDX and the Internet Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC recommends features it would like to see in CMS Lite and gov.bc.ca.
If there is a new template, feature or functionality you want, let the IAC know. If the idea is scalable, meets the business needs of other CMS Lite users and aligns with Government Communication and Public Engagement (GCPE), Government Digital Experience (GDX) strategic web objectives, and has the backing of the IAC, it may get developed.