What's new in web content management for SharePoint 2013 publishing sites

SharePoint 2013

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Applies to: SharePoint Server 2013

Topic Last Modified: 2016-12-16

Summary: Learn about web content management features for building Internet, intranet, and extranet SharePoint publishing sites.

SharePoint Server 2013 includes new and improved features for web content management that simplify how you design publishing sites and enhance the authoring and publishing processes of your organization. SharePoint Server 2013 also has new features that use the power of search to surface dynamic web content on publishing sites.

Content authors have a better experience in SharePoint Server 2013. Content authors can now copy content from Word, paste it directly into a Rich Text Editor Web Part, Content Editor Web Part, or an HTML field control on a page, and have the resulting semantically correct HTML markup display in the styles that were defined by the site designer. Site owners and designers can now customize the global and current navigation menus by dragging and dropping menu items directly on the page.

SharePoint Server 2013 adds many new features for videos and using videos on pages. A new video content type is added, and the video upload process is improved for content authors. Thumbnail preview images are created automatically when a video is uploaded to an asset library, and content authors can choose a frame from the video and use that as the thumbnail preview image. For automatic thumbnail creation to work, the Desktop Experience feature must be installed on the front-end web server that hosts SharePoint Server 2013. For information about the Desktop Experience feature, see Desktop Experience Overview.

In SharePoint Server 2013, content authors can insert an iframe element into an HTML field on a page. This lets content authors embed dynamic content from other sites, such as videos or map directions. By default, certain trusted external domains are already approved for use in iframes. Site collection administrators can customize the field security settings by changing the default trusted external domains. They can also allow content authors to insert iframes for any external domain, or prevent them from inserting iframes on any page. To change the field security settings for a site collection, click HTML Field Security on the Site Settings page.

Finally, SharePoint Server 2013 supports image renditions. Image renditions let you display different sized versions of an image on different pages. When you create an image rendition, you specify the width and height for all images that use that image rendition. For example, if the site has a news article page layout that contains an image field, you can create an image rendition named Article_image to display the full-sized image in the article page. A second image rendition named Thumbnail_small can be used to display a smaller version of the image associated with a particular article when the image is displayed in a Web Part that lists all recent news articles on the site home page. To use image renditions, you first define the image rendition sizes. Next, you generate the default image preview by uploading an image, which you can adjust if it is necessary. Finally, you add the image to a page and specify which image rendition to use on that page.

By default, the image preview that is displayed for an image rendition is generated from the center of the image. You can adjust the image preview for individual images by selecting and resizing the portion of the image that you want to use as the image preview. For example, if a photo contains a person’s face but the default image preview does not show the whole face, you can change the selected image area so that the whole face is displayed.

Image renditions let you have large source images on the site and also have places on the site where pages only use smaller versions. This reduces the size of the file that is downloaded to the client, which improves site performance. Image renditions also let you have multiple versions of the same image that are cropped differently without having to upload multiple images. This reduces the storage space that is required for images. Finally, image renditions are useful in mobile scenarios, where different versions of images can be displayed based on the device that is used.

Before you can use image renditions, you must enable the BLOB cache. For information about how to enable the BLOB cache, see "Configuring BLOB cache settings" in Configure cache settings for a web application in SharePoint Server 2013.

To use image renditions, click Image Renditions on the Site Settings page. You define an image rendition by specifying a name, such as Thumbnail_small, and the width and height in pixels for that image rendition. You can create as many image renditions as you want for your site design. To use an image rendition for a specific image on a page, you add an image to a page as you typically would. When you add an image to a page, the Edit Image Properties page displays a list of image renditions that you can apply. The image is then displayed on the page using the dimensions specified in the selected image rendition.

You can also use image renditions on a page by specifying a value in the RenditionID property for an image field control on a page layout, or by using a URL that has the RenditionID parameter to point directly to the version of the image that you want to use. The rendition ID is displayed on the Image Renditions settings page for a site collection or site. After you create an image rendition, you can provide a list of available rendition IDs to content authors so they always know what value to use for the RenditionID in field controls or as a parameter in a URL. For example, if the image rendition named Thumbnail_small has RenditionID 2, you can give that information to content authors so that they always use RenditionID 2 anywhere they want to insert a small thumbnail of an image.

You can also use the following alternative methods to specify the RenditionID:

  • To specify the RenditionID property in the image field control, enter the numeric ID that corresponds to the rendition that you want to use when an image is inserted into that field control during page editing.

  • To specify the RenditionID parameter in the URL, add "?RenditionId=n" to the image URL, where n is the RenditionID. For example, the URL http://contoso.com/Images/myimage.jpg?RenditionId=2 will load the image rendition with ID 2 for the image file myimage.jpg.

In SharePoint Server 2013, the variations feature is used exclusively for multilingual sites. The variations feature makes content available to specific audiences on different sites by copying content from a source variation site to one or more target variation sites, and tracking relationships between source and target content. Users who visit the site are redirected to the appropriate variation site based on the language setting of their web browser.

SharePoint Server 2013 now has an integrated translation service that lets content authors select content for export for human translation or specify content for machine translation. Translated content can also be used across multiple site collections by using cross-site publishing. For information about cross-site publishing, see Cross-site publishing later in this article.

By using SharePoint Server 2013, content authors can nominate lists on source variation sites to be propagated to target variation sites. List items such as documents, images, or announcements propagate independently from pages. For example, if you have a page that links to a document, and you change only the document, the document will be propagated to the target variation site without the user having to republish the page that references the document.

In SharePoint Server 2013, additional changes were made to the variations feature to improve performance, such as enabling bulk export of pages. Logging functionality is updated to improve the usefulness of error messages, and logs can now be exported to Excel.

In SharePoint Server 2010, you could use variations to make content available to audiences based on language, country and region, mobile device, or corporate branding needs. In SharePoint Server 2013, you use cross-site publishing to make content available to users in a single language, or if you want to brand the same content with different corporate branding requirements. If you want to make content available to users on multiple mobile devices, use mobile channels and device-specific targeting. For information about cross-site publishing, see Cross-site publishing later in this article. For information about how to design mobile channels, see What’s new with branding sites in SharePoint Server 2013 (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=255056).

Cross-site publishing lets you store and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and display this content in one or more publishing site collections. When you change the content in an authoring site collection, those changes are displayed on all site collections that are reusing this content.

Cross-site publishing uses search technology to retrieve content. On a site collection where the Cross-Site Collection Publishing feature is enabled, libraries and lists have to be enabled as catalogs before the content can be reused in other site collections. For more information, see Catalog-enabled libraries and lists. The content of the library or list catalogs must be crawled and added to the search index. The content can then be displayed in a publishing site collection by using one or more Content Search Web Parts. For more information, see Content Search Web Part.

The following illustration shows how content is stored in an authoring site collection, indexed by the search system, and then reused across three separate publishing site collections (1:n).

Cross-site publishing diagram
  1. Content is created in libraries and lists that are shared as catalogs in the authoring site collection.

  2. The search system crawls the content and builds the search index.

  3. A user views a page on a publishing site, which triggers queries from Content Search Web Parts.

  4. Results are returned from the search index, and shown in Content Search Web Parts on the page.

SharePoint Server 2013 has added the ability to designate any library or list as a catalog. After the Cross-Site Collection Publishing feature is enabled for a site collection, you can designate any library or list within that site collection as a catalog so that content can be reused on publishing site collections.

You can use catalog-enabled libraries or lists for scenarios such as an article library, knowledge base library, or product catalog. For example, in an Internet business scenario where a company is selling electronic products such as TVs and radios, the company can use one or more lists that are enabled as catalogs to share product information such as brand, color, and size as it applies to each product. By using cross-site publishing, this information can then be displayed in one or more publishing site collections.

Another example is an intranet scenario, where all knowledge base articles created in an organization can be written and stored in one or more libraries that are enabled as catalogs in a content site collection. By using cross-site publishing, different combinations of these knowledge base articles can be displayed on one or more publishing site collections — for example, based on how relevant the articles are for the different departments in the organization.

SharePoint Server 2013 includes a new publishing site collection template, the Product Catalog Site Collection, designed to author, store and maintain data that is used in a catalog scenario. By default, the Cross-Site Collection Publishing feature is automatically enabled in the Product Catalog Site Collection. However, you must still configure the catalog settings to share content with other site collections, just as you would with any other library or list.

When you connect a library or list that is enabled as a catalog to a publishing site collection, a result source is automatically created for this library or list. A result source narrows the scope from which the search results can be retrieved. That is, the result source created for a library or list is limited to content within this library or list. For example, you can use the automatically generated result source to limit a query in a Content Search Web Part. You can also copy a result source or change it to specify an even narrower search result scope.

Managed navigation lets you define and maintain the navigation on a site by using term sets. Managed navigation supplements the existing SharePoint navigation that is based on site structure. You create the managed navigation structure by adding terms to term sets in the Term Store Management tool. You can copy the navigation term set and translate it into the same languages that are used for variations labels. For more information about terms and term sets, see Overview of managed metadata in SharePoint Server 2013.

You can combine portions of term sets from different site collections to create the navigation of a website. This can be valuable in an Internet business scenario in which you have a catalog of products. This is because you can use one term set for the navigation within product pages, and another term set for the navigation within non-product pages. Together, these term sets form the navigation for the whole site. For example:

  • In an authoring site collection, you create a term set for the navigation of the product pages. A term within this term set typically represents a product category — for example, Audio, Cameras, or Computers.

  • In the publishing site collection, you create a term set for the navigation of the non-product catalog pages. A term within this term set usually represents pages — for example, Home, About, or Careers.

  • By using cross-site publishing to display content from the authoring site collection in the publishing site collection, you can combine the terms from the two site collections to create the complete website navigation — in this example, Home, Audio, Cameras, Computers, About, and Careers.

Category pages are page layouts that are used for displaying structured content such as catalog data. You can use category pages when you want to aggregate content that meets certain criteria or parameters. For example, in an intranet scenario, all company events are maintained in a list that is shared as a catalog. You want the information about each event to appear in the same manner — for example, with a title in bold, followed by information about when and where the event occurs. To avoid having to create one page for each event, you can create some category pages that can be used to display all events in the same manner.

Category pages are closely tied to managed navigation. This is because you can associate a category page with a specific term within the term set that is used for managed navigation. For example, in the company events scenario that was described earlier, you can have a term set in which the different departments are used for managed navigation. You can use two separate category page templates to display the different events. Category page 1 can be used to display all events related to the Marketing department, and Category page 2 can be used to display all events related to the Human Resources department.

By using managed navigation and category pages, the URLs of category pages can be built from the terms that you have specified in the term set, such as Computers or Marketing. For individual catalog items, you can specify that the URL consists of additional properties from the library or list that is shared as a catalog. This lets you create more meaningful, user-friendly URLs, instead of having URLs that consist of strings that do not make sense to users. In SharePoint Server 2010, the URLs for publishing sites included the name of the Pages library — for example, http://www.contoso.com/Pages/Computers.aspx#/ID=453&Source=http%3A%2F1010101. In SharePoint Server 2013, you can create URLs that are more user-friendly — for example http://www.contoso.com/Computers/model101.

SharePoint Server 2013 has added a new Content Search Web Part that displays content that was crawled and added to the search index. To display content in the Content Search Web Part, you specify a query in the Web Part. This query is automatically issued, and it returns results from the search index when users browse to a page that contains the Content Search Web Part. The Content Search Web Part is especially powerful when it is used in combination with managed navigation and category pages. For example, in an Internet business scenario where a product catalog is displayed, a term within the term set specified for managed navigation is associated with a specific category page, as described earlier in Category pages. You can specify that a query in a Content Search Web Part on a category page use the current navigation category as part of the query. For example, when users browse to a category, such as Computers, a query is issued from the Content Search Web Part to return all items from the search index that are specified as Computers. Similarly, when users browse to the category Audio, the same Content Search Web Part on the same category page will display items in the search index that are specified as Audio.

Refiners are based on managed properties from the search index. Managed properties represent the specifications of the items in the catalog-enabled library or list — for example, Author, Date, Color, or Product Category. In a catalog scenario, you can add a Refinement Panel Web Part to a category page so that users can narrow the content as they browse through different pages. For example, in an Internet business scenario in which a catalog of mobile telephones is displayed, the managed property Color is set as a refiner. When a user views all mobile telephones in the catalog, all available colors are displayed in the Refinement Panel Web Part. When a user clicks a specific color, such as Gray, only mobile telephones with the color Gray are displayed. Similarly, in the scenario in which company events are displayed, the managed property Date is set as a refiner. In the Refinement Panel Web Part, users can see for which dates events are scheduled. When they click a particular date, they refine the results so that only events scheduled to occur on that date appear.

By using faceted navigation, you can configure different refiners for different terms in a term set. For example, in an Internet business scenario in which a product catalog is displayed, you can set the managed property Screen size as refiner for the term Computer, and the managed property Megapixels as refiner for the term Cameras. The faceted navigation guides users to content that is relevant for each specific category, and makes it easier and faster to browse through catalog content.

The new Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint Server 2013 runs different analytics jobs to analyze content in the search index and user actions that were performed on a site to identify items that users perceive as more relevant than others.

The new functionality for displaying content recommendations based on usage patterns uses the information from the analyses. By including recommendations on a page, you can guide users to other content that may be relevant for them. For example, you can guide users to popular items in a category or let them know that users who viewed this item also viewed another item.

The search recommendations framework works in the following way:

  • User actions produce usage events. When users interact with a SharePoint Server 2013 website — for example, when they click a link, press a button, or view a document — their actions are stored as usage events.

  • Usage events are counted and analyzed. The recommendations algorithm in the Analytics Processing Component counts and analyzes the usage events.

  • Information is added to the index.

    After processing in the Analytics Processing Component, the information is added to the search index and the Reporting database.

You can use search recommendations to do the following:

  • Add Recommended Items and Popular Items Web Parts to a site. In SharePoint Server 2013, you can display recommendations on a site by adding one or more Recommended Items Web Parts. You can configure the Web Part to display recommendations for the document or item that a user is viewing. For example, these recommendations can be displayed under the heading Users who viewed this document also viewed.

    You can use the Popular Items Web Part to display the most popular items that satisfy a set of criteria. For example, these recommendations can be displayed under the heading Most popular items in this category.

  • Get insights through reports. Information about usage events is displayed in Excel reports. You can use the reports to view user statistics to understand the traffic pattern on a website.

  • Act on insights. Based on the information in the reports, you can make decisions about how to fine-tune the website.

  • Monitor changes. The reports are updated based on the changes that are made, and you can monitor the effect of the changes.

New features for publishing sites in SharePoint Server 2013 minimize the special SharePoint knowledge that is required to successfully design and brand a SharePoint site. To brand a SharePoint site, designers just create a site design as they typically would, by implementing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Designers can create these files by using their design tool of choice, whether that is Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web, or some other HTML editor. You don't have to use SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio 2012 to brand a SharePoint site. For information about how to brand sites in SharePoint Server 2013, see What's new with SharePoint 2013 site development (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=255056).

SharePoint Server 2013 supports targeting different devices such as smartphones, tablets, and set-top boxes. Designers can create channels that allow a single publishing site to be rendered in multiple ways by using different designs that target different devices. For information about how to design channels, see What's new with SharePoint 2013 site development (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=255056). For information about additional optimizations for mobile support in SharePoint Server 2013, see What's new for mobile devices in SharePoint 2013.