Liferay Tricks and Tips II: Dynamic Content with Asset Publishers
Liferay 6 has a number of different methods for publishing your content. You can use the WYSIWYG portlet, the Web Content Display and, new in version 6, the Asset Publisher. This portlet is the most powerful, customizable and, in my opinion, most useful of all of the portlets in the Liferay bundle. There are a number of reasons this is the case. I'll highlight the benefits that the Asset Publisher offers. At the bottom of this post you will find a few slides of our upcoming Liferay CMS Training. In these slides, I outline the steps to set up an Asset Publisher as a dynamic engine for your content. This is only one way to set this up, but I thought I would share how I use it. Please let me know if you have another strategy or any thoughts on Liferay's CMS.
Taxonomy Driven – When setting up the asset publisher, you can choose to drive content a couple different ways. However, the main execution should be dynamic and determined by a category, tag or tags and then settings like "most viewed" or "recently modified." This offers benefits in terms of ease of administration and improved user experience.
Flat Architecture – If you use asset publishers to deliver your content, you can cut down on the number of nested pages you need to build. I tend to create pages based on topics or logical groupings. For example, if you have multiple audiences that visit your site, you can create a page for each audience and then add an asset publisher with the category set. This will deliver all the articles, PDF's and images that your audience would find relevant.
Usability – Using this type of setup leverages a number of Liferay's more intuitive functions. After configuring the Category or Tags that drive the content and your desired display style, setting an asset publisher as the "default publisher" for a page and then clicking the "add new" button is all the set up that is needed for a content editor to add new articles. Everything else, including the friendly URL, page links and navigation, is taken care of for you.
SEO – The findability of content delivered dynamically is more like a spider's web that is forever changing and forming new links, rather than an organizational chart that requires a specific navigation pattern to locate content. Or, to put it simply, your content is not buried under a heap of other pages in some obsolete hierarchy.