Often I hear that Sitecore separates content and presentation completely – In fact it seems that it is a key selling point. Lately I have also seen other CMS vendors promote the same idea. But I must admit that I don’t understand why it seems to be so important. Is it because of reuse of content? Is it because you want to be able to present the same content on different devices such as iPhones, PDAs etc.?
But… Does it make any sense?
· Most of the clients we have been working with prefer to use the content editor and not webedit. To ensure that content editing is user friendly and intuitive, most of the time we construct solutions, where the content structure and hierarchy is the same as how it is presented on the frontend. This enables the editor to find and edit content in the same manner they find the information on the frontend.
In this matter it makes more sense to bind content and presentation structure together.
· You seldom want to use the same content structure on different devices. When constructing sites for mobile devices, you probably want to have a simple flat hierarchy, which is different from your normal site.
Therefore it makes more sense to me, to have two different structures optimized for the presentation on the different devices.
· Often the editors want to be able to edit the presentation. If they create a list in a rich text, they probably want to be able to decide how this list is presented – hence you bind content to presentation. This is allowed in the rich text field. By nature WYSIWYG editors is bound to presentation. What you create is what is presented. Should you avoid rich text fields completely?
· If content from rich text fields should be independent from what devices it is presented on, it requires editors to consider this, when they create their content. For instance a table with a lot of data expanding over 320 pixels wouldn’t look good on an iPhone, so the editor has to be more aware of the technical limitations of the devices or limited to use memo fields.
All in all I find that you on some level always want to bind the content to the presentation, allowing more flexible content and giving editors a more intuitive way of creating content.
I agree that you can construct a Sitecore solution that separates content from presentation completely, by developing a solution consisting of a big repository of memo fields, which can be pulled on to a presentation item… But this wouldn’t be very user friendly.
So why is it so important to separate content from presentation and does it make any sense?