Jadu and shared content

Skip this and just watch the video

Jadu is an amazing CMS and delivers a host of functions out of the box.  Messiah College has adopted this CMS for our site and we launched a couple months ago.  As we continue to work with it, we’ve found some needs that go beyond what the CMS offers.  The most recent item is shared content.  Say for example the Admissions department wants to post tuition rates on their section of the site.  That’s not a problem, and obviously default functionality.  What if the Nursting department also wants to display the tuition rates on their section of the website?

Traditionally you would just link over to the master page that lists the rates, or you they would copy and paste the content from the main page into a tuition page under the Nursing site.  There are undesirable outcomes for both of these solutions.  Linking to the main tuition page is perfect for data integrity, and keeping the main content updated in one place.  The navigation becomes an issue however.  You don’t want to open a new browser, since you’re not leaving the website.  and you if you link over to the main tuition content, and the user starts clicking around, they’ll have a back arrow mess to get back to the page they left from.

Copying the content from the main tuition page to a new page under the Nursing major pages is a quick and easy solution, however, can cause a world of problems when the tuition rates change, verbiage is added, or any host of things happen to the main content.  Now there’s an outdated copy of the rates sitting around and nursing students will be irate when they find out the price is more than they read on the site.  It also creates a maintenance nightmare for the Nursing content editor if they’re supposed to look at those rates every day and catch any changes.

Imagine if all the majors on campus decided to do this!  You’d possibly have hundreds of outdated copies and multiple versions of the college tuition and in these days – possibly a law suit.

Enter the Shared Content Block.  I took a look at how content is handled within the CMS and derived a solution that contains NO MODIFIED CORE CODE, yes, that’s right – there is no core code modified here.  I do have a custom class file placed in the /custom directory that I call, and where some of the magic happens.  Shared content is marked in the CMS with a custom widget style, and the Shared Content Block widget uses that marking to list content that is able to be shared.  (yea, that sounded confusing to me too)  Its easier if you watch a demonstration –

(Full screen works best)

Its super simple to use, and in fact we’re using it today with all of our Graduate programs content.

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