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Think about all of the ways you viewed Web sites earlier this century. There was your Web browser of choice…either Netscape or Internet Explorer…and, well, that’s it. Things were a lot simpler back then, believe me. Starting out in Web Design in 1999, we had two browsers to code for, and one output: plain old HTML.
Fast forward to today. How many Web browsers do you have installed on your computer? Maybe you have one, maybe you have 8 like me. OK, I don’t use all eight on a daily basis, but they all come in handy when working with cross-browser compliance.
Now, how many ways do you view a Web site today? If you answered “one”, you may want to think again. Ever clicked on the “Low Bandwidth” link because you’re on a slower connection? Ever clicked “Print this Page” and gotten a print-friendly version of the page? Do you have a PDA that you use to surf the Web? Have you ever subscribed to an RSS feed?
Now, let’s turn our attention to your Web site. Today, it’s becoming the norm to offer your Web site’s content in all of the above ways, and more. The more versions (or “formats”) you offer your site in, the wider the audience you reach.
“But I can’t keep up with that many formats of my Web site.”
What if you could? What if you could write one set of content, and have it display in multiple outputs? One of the great features of Cascade Server is “repurposing content”. Simply put, you can maintain a single source of content, and publish that content to your Web site in multiple formats. When you publish one page, multiple separate files publish out.
How is this done? In Cascade Server, we set up a template for each of the desired formats:
- The WML version is used for PDA and other hand-held devices. This format may have a logo, a simple navigation, and your page’s text with limited imagery.
- The Print version would have just your logo and your page’s content, formatted to fit on a standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper.
- Your Web page can instantly become a PDF brochure. The page’s content can be pulled into a specialized template, and published as a PDF file.
- Your Press Releases can be published out in an RSS format, so followers of your Web site can subscribe to this feed and keep up-to-date with your news.
- Your site can even be published out in XML format for exporting your content to another system, such as a Google Site Map, or a database application.
With Cascade Server, we have the flexibility to output, or repurpose, your site in a variety of ways. Remember, you want to reach the widest audience possible. And now, you can reach out to those audiences by writing one source of content.