What’s New with SharePoint 2013 WCM – Major Improvements and Features

Microsoft has taken a huge leap in WCM space with SharePoint 2013. Microsoft recently released refreshed version of TechNet IT Pro Ignite Videos for SharePoint 2013 RTM. Last winter and this spring, as I was reviewing Preview version of these videos along with SPC12 videos, I had posted article for What’s New in CSOM and REST API, What’s New in Social, and What’s New in Office Web Apps for SharePoint 2013.

I had also taken various notes for another major investments like IT Pro and WCM features. As I was reviewing refreshed material, I thought it would be great to post my notes here on my blog for others to enjoy.

Having said that, here are major highlights of new investments & features introduced in SharePoint 2013

Easy content authoring and management

  • Variations and Content Translation using Machine Translation Service
  • Rich Text Editing Usability especially clean copy-paste

Cross-site Publishing

  • Author content in multiple site collections and aggregate that using content by search web part across site collections, web applications, or even farms
  • Different than traditional content deployment approach, instead it uses Search as opposed to export-import methods, works with non-publishing content as well
  • Driven by managed metadata – tagging of content enables reuse through search
  • Requires planning – location of authoring & publishing sites,
    location of asset libraries, search settings, security & permissions, managed metadata etc.
  • Pattern – Authoring.contoso.com (en-us) -> Translate -> Authoring.contoso.com (Fr-fr) -> Search Index Crawl -> Contoso.com shows data using Content By Search web part

Catalog enabled libraries

  • Requires cross-site collection publishing feature – enabled by default on the product catalog site template, can be turned on using PowerShell on other site templates
  • Can be created from pages libraries, document libraries, asset libraries, or lists
  • Requires at least one single-valued managed metadata column
  • Only HTML & text content is indexed by default, documents-images-videos are considered as BLOBs
  • Requires an incremental crawl to be discoverable as a catalog, New result source is added with the query isolating items from the catalog
  • Catalog connection is link to search index based on managed metadata indexed terms
  • Use CSWP or managed navigation to reuse content from catalogs
  • You can use catalog-enabled sites for scenarios such as content repository, knowledge base, or product catalog

 Content By Search Web Part

  • Similar to content by query web part but search index based and cross-site collection support
  • New presentation template model for easy content presentation using HTML display templates, not XSLT based
  • Easy editors like query helpers as web part editors for defining planned query and previewing results

Managed Navigation, Clean URLs, & Topic Pages

  • Drive your navigation and URLs based on term store hierarchies
  • Clean friendly URLs created for each page for actual end users, friendly URLs uses term store hierarchies
  • Pages are added for terms & term set added to navigation
  • Pages are based on category page definition, category pages are page layouts, new category pages can be created and designated for use with specific terms in the term store
  • Provides dynamic topic pages capability for minimizing amount of physical pages for catalog type sites. e.g. same page renders different experiences unlike in SP2010, you have to create different pages with same page layout

Refiners and Managed Metadata driven faceted navigation

  • Define refiners for catalog content drill down in catalog driven scenarios
  • Provides easy filtering capabilities for catalog information
  • Content editors can define which managed properties are available as refinements
  • UI rendering can be customized for each refiner
  • Different data types have different rendering options

Search Engine Optimization Improvements

  • Numerous improvements in site and page level
  • Clean friendly URLs, no “pages” in URL
  • No Home Page redirects to /pages/default.aspx, no HTTP 302 redirection
  • Country code top level domains (e.g. .com, .mx, .fr etc.)
  • XML sitemaps – automatically generates robots.txt for external search engine crawler
  • SEO properties for meta description, browser title, and meta keywords
  • Webmaster tools integration

Variations and Multi-lingual enhancements

  • Support for automated or manual translations in variations
  • Supports both content (pages, documents etc.) and terms in term set
  • You can manually export the XLIFF file or send cloud based machine translation service for automated translations

Image Renditions

  • Image transformation dynamically in SharePoint, great for large images to optimize page load
  • OOB four image rendition templates available , every image has 4 renditions by default
  • Thumbnails are actual thumbnails
  • Resizing will resize actual image, not only it’s presentation
  • Takes advantage of blob caching, blob cache configuration is required at the web application level, image renditions are cached when image is first accessed
  • While adding images on WCM publishing pages, you can select different renditions for select image

Video Renditions and Embedding Improvements

  • Enable easy enterprise podcast scenarios
  • Embed video to any content page including internet videos like YouTube
  • Thumbnail generation, any image from video
  • Renditions also supported for videos, different than image renditions, each rendition is separate asset, allows different codex-format-bitrate-resolution of same video
  • External video support to store
  • Multiple encoding for single video
  • Video player is HTML 5, no longer Silverlight by default, it will fall back to Silverlight with older version of browser like IE 8 or earlier

Usage Analytics & Recommendation Web Parts

  • Built to scale from group up
  • Analytics changed to be search driven – based on usage counts, click through, and item relationships
  • Personalized search queries based on user or usage analytics data e.g. recommended for you
  • Includes preconfigured Content By Search web part e.g. Top Pages

Design Manager and general rendering changes

  • Empowering web designers, completely revamped CSS classes
  • Web parts rendering with DIVs, not tables
  • Site design and branding based on standards like HTML5, CSS, and JS using their preferred tools like Dreamweaver
  • Design manager to assist with templates, modifying master pages on fly, and export-import design package from 1 site to another

Device Channels

  • Target different designs based on user agent string for different devices
  • Different channels defined at the SPWeb level
  • Define channels for single devices or group of devices
  • Assign alternate “Master Pages” per channel
  • Selectively include or exclude portion of page layouts per channel
  • Preview while designing and authoring
    • Specific control to define mobile rendering areas in content, if you want to use same master page for multiple devices
    • By default, It will fall back to browser device channel if it can’t find any specific device channel implementation, you can also define default device channel

Additional Resources

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2 Responses to What’s New with SharePoint 2013 WCM – Major Improvements and Features

  1. Pingback: What’s New for IT Pro in SharePoint 2013 – Major Architectural Investments | Nik Patel's SharePoint World

  2. Pingback: Creating a Public Facing Website on Office 365 – Part 1 | TechBlurt.com

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