Creating connected content with inline entries

As we re-imagine content management at Zengenti we want to ensure our product, Contensis, meets the needs of our clients and community.

If we are to design and create content that is stored, structured, and connected outside any user interface, in a way that’s readable and understandable by both people and computers, we need tools to support that process.

Building rich content models

Our content type builder enables teams, content strategists, or developers to create content types that define the structure of their content. You can then build rich content models by creating relationships between these content types. For instance, you might have a movie content type that you link to content types for cast members, directors and studios.

The Contensis content type builder showing a movie content type.

Content models prepare and shape content for current and future use by separating it from a page context. Once you have defined your content model and content types in Contensis, your authors can use them to create entries. Rather than content being trapped as blobs inside a page, it’s broken down into chunks that you can use across several pages or even other applications.

In the past you might have created a page for each movie that contained a synopsis, information on the studio, and a biography of the director. These pieces of content might have been duplicated across other pages, making them hard to maintain.

By modelling this content and creating a content type for each of these distinct categories of information you can:

  • maintain the content — wherever it’s used
  • re-purpose content across pages without copying and pasting
  • easily redesign pages without needing to re-implement your CMS
  • use content in other applications now or in the future

Disconnected authoring flow

But, managing and writing content in this way can feel unfamiliar. Each type of content has to be created and then connected together through a series of relationships. This can get in the way of the writing process and disrupt your flow.

Say you wanted to add a new director to a movie, for example. That director would have to be created as separate entry before you could add them from a field in the movie entry.

While creating a separate entry makes sense — as a director may used in other content such as a listings page or a feature box on your home page — having to leave your movie entry to do it introduces extra steps to the process and interrupts your writing.

Say goodbye to context switching

Switching contexts for new content creation and editing existing content felt clumsy and unnecessary. So, we’ve introduced inline entries to take away that friction.

A demonstration of inline entry editing, a new author being created inline whilst editing a book.

It’s our way of dealing with complex authoring needs whilst keeping your content modeled for today’s purposes and future applications.

If you need to add a new author, simply create one whilst writing that your blog post. Need to update an existing author? Do it without ever leaving the entry editor.

We’ve also baked roles and permissions in to this experience, so you can control who can create and edit existing content in this way.

Easing the transition to structured content

Structuring content is a discipline that takes time, and we hope this new way of working is going to be a huge time saver.

Transitioning from a mindset of a creating content in a web page to defining a content model for content reuse is a challenge, but inline entries feels right and is a huge step to giving you the rich workflow your content and organisation needs.

Thanks for reading — please share your thoughts/questions below and let me know if this article was at all helpful. If you are a Contensis customer keep providing your feedback through the Contensis community Slack channel. We love to hear your ideas, suggestions, and improvements.