Why Is SDL Web the Best Web Content Management System Around?

At the moment, there are more than 2,500 web content management systems available in the market. Most of these CMS platforms provide a range of features that allow companies to develop high-performance websites with dynamic content and a user-friendly interface. That’s why it may be a real challenge to choose the best web content management system suitable for your marketing strategy.

This article is a review of the popular CMS — SDL Web (formerly Tridion), as well as some other top web content management systems.

Definition

What is a CMS in general? To put it simply, it is a website builder that has a variety of tools to create a site, manage its content and provide security. Such software is web-based, meaning that you can use it online via the internet connection and browsers (Google Chrome, Safari, etc.) without having to download or install the software.

Every WCMS uses a database or a repository to store web materials (images, videos, HTML documents, metadata and other information assets). Among other benefits are components such as templates, editors and built-in hosting services that allow you to build a website without coding.

SDL Tridion Web Content Management System

SDL Tridion is a former name of a web-based content management system developed by the UK-headquartered SDL international company. It has been renamed to SDL Web, and now the 8.5 upgrade is available.

SDL is the global leader in content management services and digital translation implementation. The world’s biggest brands trust the company with their websites development and website management.

SDL Web is an enterprise web content management system available as an on-premise, hybrid and cloud solution. This is a perfect platform for large organizations that need to process a plethora of information and deliver it in various languages. For this very reason, it’s now one of the most expensive platforms in the world.

The statistics below show that the company’s largest share of income comes from language services and content technologies.

Revenue distribution of SDL worldwide in 2017, by segment (in million GBP)

Source: Statista

With the SDL platform, marketing specialists can handle data from any devices, digital channels and languages, while customers get the web experience they need. Let’s take a look at the main advantages of the system.

BluePrinting    

This technology was developed exclusively for SDL Web to allow content sharing across different levels of a website. The essence of BluePrinting is that the content repository has a parent-child hierarchy, so any item created at a higher level can be inherited by the lower ones.

You can reuse only some parts of the content or copy the entire page and make the necessary changes. For example, you can keep the text and images but change the currency; or change the text, translating it into other languages, but keeping the images; or completely change the text and images, but keep the metadata. BluePrinting allows you to share content within your website or even across multiple sites.

Translation Services

The greatest strength of this CMS is machine translation services. There is an out-of-the-box Translation Manager that handles the entire translation process and the approval workflow. You can convert any piece of content into different languages with minimal human interaction.

Cloud Options  

SDL Web Cloud reduces maintenance expenses for hardware, software, and databases. It supports Microsoft SQL Azure and Amazon RDS databases, providing deployment flexibility and security.

What’s more, SDL Web Cloud has no versions but rather a quarterly release of the software. This means that you don’t have to worry about upgrades, as you get them automatically.

Faster Development

Faster web app development has become possible with new features such as:

  • A micro-services delivery environment
  • Public artifact repositories (Nuget & Maven) for easier web application deployment
  • A decoupled web application server for faster upgrades

Digital Experience Accelerator (DXA)

The Accelerator is a website implementation toolkit that provides projects with a quick start. DXA is available with .NET and Java. It includes an editorial environment, mobile support, digital media management, searching with Apache Solr or Amazon Cloud, testing, targeting and personalization.

Compatibility

SDL Web provides alternatives in choosing technology stacks. You are free to use a Linux-based server or a Windows-based server, Java or .NET, an Amazon cloud or an Azure cloud. You can combine different technologies if needed. Whatever you use, the SDL Web will provide similar functions and will perform smoothly.

Extensibility

According to your needs, SDL Web allows extending most of its features, for example:

  • GUI (to create custom menus and functionality)
  • Publishing process (to add custom logic)
  • Storage mechanism (to choose where to store your content)
  • Content saving process (to identify whether a component has been saved)

Integrations

You can integrate the system with third-party applications, tools and services (e.g. Salesforce, Eloqua, Sharepoint, Flickr, SOLR, AWS Cloud Search, etc.). For this purpose, there is a set of APIs available.

Community

The world’s SDL Web community is constantly expanding, helping to improve the product. Here are some important contributions made by the community:

  • Alchemy For Tridion (A4T) — A framework with hundreds of open-source plugins to extend, configure and set up the GUI.
  • Dynamic Delivery For Tridion (DD4T) — A development framework that enables the use of MVC Architecture.
  • Search Integration For Tridion (SI4T) — An open-source project to index your published content into different search engines.
  • Tridion Stack Exchange Website — A Q&A website for Tridion developers, administrators and architects. You can ask any question related to SDL implementation, and the rich community will try to help you.
  • MVP (Most Valued Professional) Award — To encourage community members and reward the most active of them.
  • Active support of blogs.

Among the disadvantages of the system one can name:

  • Cost (this is one of the most expensive content management systems in the market)
  • Steep learning curve (it requires much time and effort to train people to work with SDL)

Here is a summary of SDL Web’s pros and cons:

AdvantagesDisadvantages
  • A solid enterprise-level CMS
  • On-premise, hybrid and cloud solutions
  • BluePrinting technology
  • Translation services
  • Strong community
  • Intuitive UI
  • Mobile experience
  • Extensibility
  • Compatibility
  • Free trial available
  • Cost
  • Steep learning curve

How to Choose a Web Content Management System

When choosing a CMS for your business, pay attention to the following essential features:

  1. Usability: A web CMS should be easy to use and flexible, allowing you to modify the look-and-feel of the pages without coding.
  2. Mobile optimization: There should be tools and capabilities to optimize a system for mobile devices, because mobile users constitute a great share of clients.
  3. Performance: A CMS should be able to load pages quickly and support high performance as the site expands.
  4. Templates: There should be clear templates to easily create and duplicate content.
  5. Delivery options: A CMS should have the option to be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, or a combination thereof.
  6. Customer service and community: You should be able to address any issues and find answers to any questions.

SharePoint

SharePoint is a platform developed by Microsoft that is highly configurable and can be used for various purposes. More than 200,000 organizations around the globe use it to store, organize, access and share data from any type of device, create intranet team sites, and publish and manage content.

SharePoint is web-based and uses browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox. The platform includes a set of products:

  • SharePoint Online — A cloud service
  • SharePoint Server
  • SharePoint Designer 2013 A free program for editing content
  • OneDrive for Business sync A desktop program to synchronize documents from a team site to your computer for offline use

Drupal

Drupal is а free, flexible content management software. It builds and manages sites and web apps. The system provides modularity, high performance, and perfect security — everything that dynamic web consumers need. Drupal has a wide range of native features plus module extensions that can be customized for almost any type of content.

The latest update Drupal 8 is available in 100 languages and can suit complex infrastructures perfectly. Global organizations such as BBC, MTV UK and the University of Oxford rely on Drupal to perform their work in the best possible way.

Sitecore

Sitecore is the leading content management system (according to Gartner) that comes in combination with deep customer insight. It provides analytics for personalized client experiences and helps increase your business revenues.

Want to learn more? Read also Sitecore Launches Version 9: New Features You Need to Know.

Umbraco

Umbraco is another popular web content management system. It suits both complex and simple projects due to its flexibility. Umbraco Cloud provides reliable hosting and exclusive features for successful implementation.

Learn more about Umbraco in Benefits of Umbraco for eCommerce Solutions.

SaM Solutions’ Experience

SaM Solutions experts have extensive experience in building content management solutions based on various platforms.

Our SDL Web 8 Technology Services include:

  • Information architecture and content modeling
  • Customized application development
  • Component, page and design template creation
  • Global multi-language website implementation
  • Automating integration using event systems
  • Websites storage implementation
  • Website performance optimization
  • Testing and quality assurance

SaM’s Umbraco experts offer:

  • Building custom webpages, promo and marketing websites, eCommerce websites, online catalogs and dedicated product websites
  • Website editing functions
  • Extension of the Umbraco CMS admin part using custom/complex types of document properties, as well as the integration of custom modules into the admin part
  • Integration with external systems (payment services, Google maps, etc.)

SaM Solutions is also a Sitecore Implementation Partner and has developed the Sitecore accelerator to provide services more efficiently.

We have been developing custom software solutions based on Microsoft SharePoint and its extensions for many years.

In addition, our developers created numerous websites and online catalogs based on CMS Drupal 7.

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About the author

Natallia Sakovich
Natallia Sakovich

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Natallia is devoted to her motto — to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with a 5-year experience in copywriting, she creates informative but exciting articles on high technologies.