CMS Lite Overview

  • Current Application Build: v2.7.2
  • Browsers Supported:  Mozilla Firefox v55+ and Google Chrome v61+ (the most up-to-date versions for both browsers)
  • Article Modified: Sep 19, 2017
  • Article Keywords: CMS, CMS Lite, Content Management, Design, Templates, Mock-ups, Wireframes, Overview, gov.bc.ca BC, Province of BC, Canada
  • Article Description: An overview of The Province of B.C.'s content management system - CMS Lite

Background

Launched in April 2012, CMS Lite is a custom, in-house developed content management tool used to manage content on www2.gov.bc.ca and other CMS Lite-based sites.

Many ministries are currently in the process of migrating their content to www2.gov.bc.ca using this application (as outlined by the Internet Strategy 2.0 initiative). However, there are some that have yet to start the process. This article has been written to help you understand how CMS Lite, gov.bc.ca and your content come together to provide the high quality experience B.C. residents and all site visitors expect.


Article Features:


Ministries and Topics

The current set-up of the government website is based on our "16-8-8-8” rule. There are 16 main Themes (the 1st level of navigation). Each Theme can contain up to 8 Sub-themes (the 2nd level of navigation). Each Sub-theme can contain up to 8 Topics (the 3rd level of navigation). The first two levels of navigation are managed by the Corporate Online Services (COS) division within GCPE. Ministries are responsible for content starting at the Topic level (3rd level). Ministries have the ability to build unlimited content from their Topic level down to the lowest level of the site's Information Architecture (IA) — which is the 8th level.

Using your evidence-based research and working with COS, we can assist you in determining the best location for your content in the site’s IA. By doing so, we can provide you a secure area within CMS Lite, where you and your web team can exclusively manage your content. We can also help make connections for you with other ministry content authors if you require content to appear in existing topics not managed by your security group.

Features

CMS Lite has many features found in your typical content management system. However, COS has gone a step further, and customized it to serve the unique requirements for managing the B.C. government website.

Features of the tool for CMS Lite users provide the following functionality:

  • New! Only secure (https) content will be allowed when embedding videos, Flickr, maps and data visualization. 
  • New! You can now filter by page-type on the CMS Lite homepage
  • New! Implemented the ability for CMS Lite users to prevent our Google Search Appliance (GSA) on gov.bc.ca, as well as Google and other search engines from indexing page content
  • Support the display of multi-lingual content (French, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese and Korean). A number of (formerly) hardcoded labels in Topic, Theme and Search pages now reflect the language selected upon page creation
  • Ability to clone a parent page, and all of its descendants
  • Ability to revert content back to a previous version from a click of a button
  • When creating links to assets, you have the ability to force them to be downloaded, or allow them to open within the browser
  • When users unlock your pages, you will be notified about the action by email
  • Ability to create links that look like a button
  • Ability to add display and hide dates and times to Alert banners
  • Ability to visual see the content and data of a previously published (versioned) page
  • You are now required to accept the Terms of Use (TOU) before using CMS Lite
  • Each page type now includes a running log (history) of actions performed on each page
  • Ability to run a Link Checker (to confirm live/dead links) on a per page basis
  • A new Manager role has been implemented to allow ministries to manage their own security group
  • Ability to embed Enhanced Search into your pages
  • Ability to include an optional message on pages, advising your colleagues about the changes you are making to the content
  • Ability to include in-page alert messages
  • Ability to clone an existing page up to 20 times
  • Ability to create up to 20 new pages at one time
  • Functionality has been added to the CKEditor (WYSIWYG tool) to allow for the embedding of web accordion (expand/collapse) content
  • A Usage Tab has been added to the Asset Settings pane to provide a list of page(s) that an asset is attached to in CMS Lite
  • Up to 500 assets totalling no more than 100 MB may be uploaded at one time
  • Improved response of the Metadata term type-ahead and term picker search to display results. Results appear five times faster
  • For content managed on www2.gov.bc.ca, you can revert the body of content to what is found in production. That means, if you make multiple changes to a page, and you want to go back to the original copy, you now can do that
  • www2.gov.bc.ca URLs are now human-readable (HRU), instead of the GUID-based URLs (GBU)
    • Modifiy the HRU (to use a specific label or to shorten the path name)
  • Secured content management at the Topic level
  • WYSIWYG tool, CK Editor
    • Paste from MS Word
    • Standard formatting features, such as bold, italics, ordered and unordered lists, text alignment, links, anchors and bookmarks
    • Embedding of images, tables, YouTube and BC Gov videos, Flickr albums and Google and Government developed maps
  • Create content in the content well (middle of the template) and right column
    • Ability to re-arrange the right column components, as desired
  • Save a page without filling in all mandatory fields
    • Note: All mandatory fields must be filled in prior to publishing content
  • Publish up to 100 MB worth of assets and pages during a single deployment session
    • You can also see the file sizes of individual assets and assets contained within folders
  • Manage a Topic's hierarchy (the Information Architecture or left navigation)
  • Create custom vocabularies, and within that, terms, related terms and alternate terms
  • Tag content and assets with COS-developed and self-developed metadata
  • Create custom tag collections
  • Publish pages or assets – immediately or at a specific time
  • Unpublish pages or assets – a flag is set to not show the content in PROD, but it remains in CMS Lite
  • Search for pages or assets
    • A successful keyword search will display results if assets or folders contain the keyword
  • Open pages or assets using a URL or GUID
  • Lock and unlock pages and see who has a page locked
  • View modified pages in QA and PROD from the application

Developed for Mozilla Firefox; Certified with Google Chrome

You must install the latest version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to your workstation to use CMS Lite. COS will only support clients who use these browsers. Please ensure you upgrade your browser(s) frequently, so that you have the most stable and reliable application running.

Internet Explorer is not a supported browser for CMS Lite

Currently, no version of MS Internet Explorer/Edge or Apple Safari is certified to work with CMS Lite. Therefore, you must install the latest version of Firefox or Chrome to your workstation/PC to use CMS Lite.

Note: Mobile devices are not certified to work with CMS Lite.

Ready-made template

A key aspect of the Internet Strategy is the vision – “One Domain, One Design, One High-Quality Citizen Experience”. This statement, though short, is powerful and a vision COS strives to achieve and maintain for the province.

We have developed a template that provides ministries the ability to adhere to a common design, but have built in flexibility to allow you to customize your content to meet the informational needs of your line of business. This template – Topic template – renders the content that you see on Gov, today.

There are many ways to develop your content with this template using CMS Lite.

Here are just a few examples of different page layouts you can make using the standard Topic template:

CMS Lite also has business logic built into the Topic template that prevents the publishing of a page to production that does not meet certain criteria. For example:

  • All required fields that have an asterisk next to the field label are required
  • At a minimum, all topics need to have a title, nav title, body of content, and metadata
  • Up to four optional Right column boxes can be used on a page, but if used, they have their own mandatory fields

Save = QA; Publish = Production

When you build a page in CMS Lite, you are using the production version of the content management tool. When you create your content and save it, the file is stored to a database table which will allow you to view it on the QA (Quality Assurance) web server—a pre-production, secure website that only individuals with security can access. The QA environment allows you to preview the content (with the Topic template), and allows you to navigate around your Topic prior to you committing the page to production (gov.bc.ca). When all mandatory fields are filled in, you can publish the page immediately to production, or set a future time/date.

You will not be provided a test or development CMS Lite environment (or access to any test or dev websites). The environments we provide you are the only ones you need to manage your content.

Mock-ups or Wireframes?

As mentioned earlier, CMS Lite already has the template you need to onboard your content to gov.bc.ca. You (or a UX design firm you work with) SHOULD NOT design or develop new templates, or modify the existing Topic template to support your content. You need to fit your content into the Topic template COS provides you.

If you are working with a UX design firm, they may propose to “mock-up” or provide you “wireframes” of what your Topic will look like. We recommend simply using CMS Lite to generate these mock-ups. Design firms should not introduce new designs, features or functionality that is not part of the existing CMS Lite service offering or style/layout of gov.bc.ca.

Future development

CMS Lite is an evolving application with many features still to come, including requests from both COS and the Internet Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC recommends features it would like to see in CMS Lite and gov.bc.ca.

If there is a new template, feature or functionality you want, let the IAC know. If the idea is scalable, meets the business needs of other CMS Lite users and aligns with Government Communication and Public Engagement (GCPE), Government Digital Experience (GDX)strategic web objectives, and has the backing of the IAC, it may get developed.

Further reading

Please continue to read through this section — gov.bc.ca/cms — which will help you develop your I.A. and pages, as it relates to CMS Lite. You can also search the CMS Lite Manual.


  • Article Keywords: CMS, CMS Lite, Content Management, Design, Templates, Mock-ups, Wireframes, Overview, gov.bc.ca BC, Province of BC, Canada
  • Article Description: An overview of The Province of B.C.'s content management system - CMS Lite