The website manager is the application that is used for:
- managing (creating and deleting) sites
- managing pages, templates, and content libraries
- updating content (by editing or uploading new revisions)
- revision management
- inserting dynamic content into pages
This document serves as a guide to the various site editing features contained within the Website Manager.
There are two ways to enter the Website Manager:
- From an editable page preview, click on one of the content
management buttons. This will take you to the Website Manager screens
for that content. The button takes
you to an update screen, whereas the button takes to you a revision management screen. You can also get
into the Website Manager from the menu bar at the top of the editable
If you do not see these buttons in the editable page previews, that
may be because your CMS is set up to use a different CMS tool for
editable previews, such as MySite.
- From the Administrator Webtop, launch the Website Manager by
clicking on its icon:
Overview of the Website Manager
The website manager looks like this:
The important features are:
- Escape buttons: these are available on every screen, and close
the Website Manager, or open up a help popup.
- Bread crumbs: this shows you where you are in your site and
content hierarchy. You quickly navigate back out to higher levels by
clicking on these links.
- Configuration: the left sidebar shows you configuration
information about the site/page/content that you are currently
viewing. This configuration data can be modified by selecting the
configure option from the menu above.
- Content View: the content objects that are available from
your current location are displayed in the main part of the website
editor window. Normally they are shown as icons, but alternative
views are available in some cases. To work on a content object,
simply click on its icon. The different icons and their meanings are:
- Content Browser: related content, pages, and sites can be
seen in the small browser at the upper left. You can quickly jump to
other parts of the CMS here, rather than navigating solely through the
- Menu Bar: the options in the menu bar will change
depending on where you are in your site and content hierarchy. These
options allow you to reconfigure your site, pages, and content, add
new content, remove old content, preview pages, and so on. The
options that are available in the menu bar change depending on your
permissions, so not all of the features described in this document may
be visible to you.
In the content view area, you will find icons representing various types
of objects in the CMS. Simple click on one of these icons to
open up that object and view its contents:
- a web site.
- a web site template (a predefined site map that can be used to preconfigure new sites).
- a web page.
- a page template.
- a content library (collection of reuseable content, such as images).
- editorial content (eg. body text)
- design content (eg. images, stylesheets, templates)
- a content revision
- move back one step in the content hierarchy (eg. from page view to website view).
Web content has a nested structure:
- Websites contain Pages.
- Pages contain content objects.
- Content Objects contain Revisions.
This can be represented graphically as follows:
When you view your website content, you can view it at the level of
a site, page, content object, or revision. The administration screens of
Website Manager displays the contents of whatever "object" you are
viewing, as described in the next section.
Your site's content can be viewed at five different levels:
- Top View: shows all of your sites
- Site View: shows all of the pages, templates,
and libraries defined in a particular site.
- Page View: shows all of the content items defined
in a particular page (or template, or library).
- Content View: shows all of the revisions
of a particular content item.
- Revision Preview: shows a particular
revision of a particular content item.
Your position at each level is displayed in the "Bread crumb" view,
shown above. For example:
Top > My Website > index.html > body > 99
This means that you are in site "My Website", inside the
"index.html" page, working on revision 99* of the page body. If you are
not so deep into the content hierarchy, fewer levels will be displayed.
* Note that the "99" in this example does not mean the 99th revision
of the page body. 99 is simply an ID number that is assigned to this
revision of the page body. Every revision of every content item in the
system is assigned a unique ID number, so they will not necessarily be
sequential for a particular content item.
The top view displays all of the websites and website templates
that you are permitted to work on. (Note: If you only have access to one
site, and the CMS.skip_topview configuration parameter is
set, then you will automatically be promoted to the
To open a website to work on its pages:
Click on that website's icon.
To create a new website:
Select Websites > New site from the menu. This starts the
Website Wizard, which leads you through the following steps:
- Website Details: provide a site title and description, and set
the website type, which can be one of:
- native website: publishes to the default document root for the webserver
- stand-alone website: publishes to its own document root, but on the same webserver
- remote website: publishes to its own document root, on a different webserver
- website template: defines a set of pages that can be used to preconfigure a new website
- Location: specify this site's relationship to other sites in the
system, and its publication location.
- Pages: select a website template to preload your site with pages
from, and select a template to format those pages with. Templates may
be previewed using the preview links.
- Webmaster: define who is permitted to manage this site. You can
either create a new website manager account, or re-use an existing
one. (You can also do both.) In either case, define whether the
manager has editorial, designer, or administrator privileges. This
determines which content items the manager is allowed to work with,
and what operations they are allowed to perform on those items.
If there are websites in the system, but you cannot see them in the
top view, that means that you haven't been granted access to those
sites. See the User Management Guide for more
The website view displays all of the templates, pages, and
libraries known to a site. It is the second level in the
"Bread crumb" display.
To open a page, template, or library, to work on its content:
Click on the page, template, or library icon.
To view a structured site map instead of the icon view:
Select View > Site Map from the menu. Note that the site
map is often handier for finding pages in a larger site site, but
unlike the icon view, it does not show:
- hidden pages
The site map view can be made the default using the CMS.pageview
To change the site configuration:
Select Website > Configure site from the menu. This
allows you to change the options that were originally selected in the
website wizard, above.
To delete a whole site:
Select Website > Delete site from the menu. You will be
prompted to confirm the deletion, with links to every database record
that will be irrevocably deleted. Choose "Cancel" if you change your
The Delete Site function cleans all site data out of the database, but
does not delete files that have already been published to disk.
To create a new website that is a child of this website:
Select Website > New sub-site from the menu. This will lead
you through the website wizard, as described above.
To create a new web page:
Select Website > New page from the menu. This will start
the page wizard, which takes you through the following steps:
- Page Details: set your page's title, description, keywords, menu
label, and configuration parameters:
- status: only active pages are treated as part of the live site.
Inactive pages can be retained for working on, or for archival
- accessibility: pages can be publicly accessible, or restricted to
members (logged-in users), or administrators.
- static/dynamic: determines whether the page is published to a
flat HTML file, or is rendered dynamically on request. Note that
restricted access pages must be dynamic.
- page visibility: determines whether you want the page to appear in
site maps and auto-generated menus.
- parent page: determines where in the site map this page is placed.
You must also set the page's file name that it will publish to.
Typically this is a name such as "filename.html", but if you want the
published page to be run through PHP, it can be named "filename.php".
The filename acts as a "handle" for the web page (ie. a unique name by
which the page can be referenced), and so you must define it even in
cases where the page is dynamic and not published to a file at
- Template: select a template to format this page with. You can
preview the available templates, by clicking on the preview links.
- Body: you can select from a set of pre-defined page bodies, if any
have been set up in this installation. If none have been defined, you
will only have the option of a "normal body, fully editable".
Once the page is created, it will appear in the website view, and
can be operated on normally.
To create a new library:
A library is just a place to store shareable and re-useable content
(such as logos or generic images). Select Website > New
library from the menu. Enter the basic configuration information
for the new library, including a name, description, and directory name
to publish the library files into.
Once the library is created, it will appear in the website view, and
can be operated on normally.
To create a new template:
This is can be an involved procedure, depending on how complicated
your template is, and how it relates to other templates in the system.
Begin by selecting Website > New template or Template > New
template from the menu. Full documentation is provided in the
ExSite Templating Guide.
To change all pages in the site to a different template:
Select Template > Change for all pages from the menu.
Select the site-wide template from the options presented.
To publish the site:
Select Publish > Publish site from the menu.
It will report on the status of every file that is published.
Note: because ExSite dynamically determines whether to link
to the static or dynamic revision of a file based on whether or not that
file already exists on disk, the first time you publish a site, many of the
site links will point to dynamic pages because those pages haven't
been saved yet. To change these to the correct static links, simply
publish the site again. ExSite will see the static web pages the second
time through, and will point to those instead.
The page view shows all of the defined content elements in your page.
It is also used to display the content elements in templates and libraries
(which are treated internally as similar to pages).
For simple pages, you will only have a body element to
manage. For complex templates, there may be dozens of images,
stylesheets, scripts, and other elements to manage.
To preview this page:
From the View menu, select:
- Preview: display this page in a separate window
- Editable preview: shows the page, but with editing tools embedded in it,
for easier content management.
- Non-editable preview: shows the page, but with editing tools explicitly
- Edit mode on: sets a flag so that editing tools will be embedded in
not only this page preview, but also in every other site page that is
navigated to from the preview.
- Edit mode off: un-sets the edit mode flag, so that you get normal
previews instead of the editable previews.
To update a particular content element:
From the menu select Update > Update XYZ, where "XYZ" is the
content element you want to update. This will lead you through the
Update wizard. Click here for details on the
To add a new content element:
Select Page > New content item from the menu. In the first
step, you define and configure the new content element. The remaining
steps follow the update wizard.
To publish this page:
Select Page > Publish page from the menu. This also works
to publish the contents of templates and libraries.
Note: because ExSite dynamically determines whether to link
to the static or dynamic revision of a file based on whether or not that
file already exists on disk, the first time you publish a page, many of the
site links could be left pointing to dynamic pages because those pages
haven't been saved yet. To change these to the correct static links,
republish the page once the other pages have been saved.
To change this page to a different template:
Select Template > Change Template from the menu.
To change this page to use a preconfigured body:
Select Template > Change body from the menu. Preconfigured
bodies are not available in all sites.
To jump to the template used by this page:
Select Template > Go to template from the menu.
To change the configuration parameters for this page:
Select Page > Configure page from the menu.
To delete this page:
Select Page > Delete page from the menu. You will be
prompted to confirm the deletion of the page and all associated records
from the database.
The content view displays all known revisions of the selected
content item, ordered with the most current revisions on top, and the
oldest at bottom.
To preview a particular revision:
Click on the desired revision.
To update this content (add a new revision):
Select Update > Update from the menu. This will
lead you through the Update wizard.
To cancel an update:
Select Update > Rollback from the menu. This will
delete the most current revision, restoring the previous revision.
To remove old revisions:
Select Revisions > Clean Up from the menu. You can select
which revisions to keep and which to discard.
To reconfigure this content:
Select Content > Configure content from the menu. This
allows you to redefine the types of content that will be
accepted, and the types of users who can work on this content.
This view displays a particular content revision. Note that the
content is displayed outside of the context of its page, so it will be
drawn with different style rules than it normally uses, and may appear
slightly different as a result.
To remove this revision:
Select Revision > Delete Revision from the menu.
To restore this revision:
To restore an older revision to the position of current revision,
select Revision > Restore Revision from the menu. This creates a
copy of the older revision, so the older revision also remains in its
To edit this revision:
NOTE: to simply update the content, choose update. This makes a
new revision. To change the details of the current revision (eg. to
revise its mime-type), select Revision > Configure Revision
from the menu.
There are several ways to update a particular piece of content:
- Click on a button in an editable page preview.
- Select the item to update from the Update menu in the Page View
- Select Update > Update from the menu in the Content View.
- Creating a new content item will also lead you into the update
wizard after you define the basic content parameters.
There are several methods for updating a piece of content,
described below. ExSite selects the method that it believes is most
appropriate for the context, but you can change the method using the
update method selector. Warning: changing the update method
will revert the content to the last saved revision. If you want to
change the update method, do so before you have made any changes to
Edit using WYSIWYG HTML editor
This method provides a rich text editor (WYSIWYG = "What You See Is
What You Get") that gives you a lot of control over how your text is
The HTML editor has many features, which are documented in a separate help file>.
Edit using a simple text editor
This method shows your text in raw mode, with all HTML tags explicitly
displayed. This is useful in certain circumstances:
- The WYSIWYG editor cannot perform a certain effect, but you know
how to do it manually
- You want to delete or edit some HTML tags that you cannot see directly
in the WYSIWYG editor
- You are an HTML hacker who prefers working with raw formatting codes
- You are working on a template and need to work with CMS tags directly.
The editing functions in this mode are primitive, and may vary
Upload new revision in a file
You can upload an entirely new revision of your content in a file, and
it will completely replace the old revision. This is the normal method of
updating images and other content that rests in external files.
Point to file on server
You can point to a file sitting on your webserver. This is not
recommended, because the file is not in ExSite's control, and can be
moved or changed without notice.
Point to URL
You can point to an external URL on a remote website. This is not
recommended, because the URL is not in ExSite's control, and can be
moved or changed without notice. There may also be copyright issues
to deal with.
Completing the Update
After you have entered your new content, ExSite prompts you for
some additional information to complete the update.
Content Type - ExSite makes an educated guess as to the
MIME-type of the content you entered. It usually guesses correctly,
but you should verify that it got it right, or your content may not
render properly. One case where it can guess wrong is when you enter
text without any special formatting or mark-up. In this case, ExSite
doesn't have many clues to go by, and may choose "text/plain" or
"text/html" -- double-check the result or your content may be oddly
Attributes - in the case of uploaded images, ExSite
allows you to specify some optional attributes that can be included in
the tag. This can be used to, for instance,
specify height and width attributes, borders, and so on. These
attributes are only inserted if the image is referenced using the
<!--&content(image-name)--> notation. If you use the
notation, then you are
responsible for explicitly specifying all of your attributes.
Comment - ExSite maintains an audit trail of content
updates, and a brief comment is required so that content managers can
recognize the purpose and effect of each update. A default comment
is provided if you have nothing special to say.
Templates are a complex subject, and are fully detailed in their own
section of the ExSite Manual, Templates.
A library is similar to a page in one respect - it holds content
objects. However, a library has no public view, like a page does. It
is an administrative tool that allows you to bundle related content
for organization purposes. There are several reasons you might want
to do this:
- store images, logos, etc. where the image
tool can find them, and where they can be shared by multiple pages.
- store content that can be accessed not only by the current site, but also by any child sites.
- create image repositories that can be used as galleries or photo albums.
- create document repositories that can be managed similarly to photo galleries.
- manage collections of body templates for creating pre-formatted pages
Libraries are created from the website view,
using the Website > New library menu option. Inside a library,
new content objects are created exactly as in normal pages.
Libraries are automatically searched for matching content when the
content is not found in the current page or its templates. The search
proceeds through libraries in the current site, and then through
libraries in the parent site, and so on.
Libraries are automatically published to disk when you select
Publish > Publish site from the site view.
When you reference a library content item, it will automatically use
the disk revision, if it is available, but will resort to the internally
stored database revision if not.
Libraries of pre-formatted page bodies
When you create a new page, ExSite allows you to select from a list
of page bodies to preformat your page contents. The default is a
blank page, which may be edited using the standard update tools. You
can add new preformatted page bodies into the system, to increase the
options that are available in this list. The usual reason to do this
is to include some preconfigured web application pages, which simplifies
the process of creating advanced web application pages. Otherwise,
the casual site editor must know how to select the appropriate web
application using the web application tool,
and provide it with appropriate parameters.
ExSite finds the list of preformatted page bodies by searching the
libraries in the current and parent sites for all "body" content
objects. To add a new preformatted body, simply create a new "body"
content object in one of these libraries, and update it with some
appropriate content. Be sure to give it a unique description, since
that is how the bodies are distinguished in selector menus. The new
body will be displayed in list of available page bodies, the next time
you create a page, or select Template > Change body from the page view.
If you have a standard set of page bodies, it is a good idea to
keep them all under a single library, to make them easy to find. One
problem, however, is that when you open this library, you will see
numerous content objects with the same name ("body"). However, if you
mouse over each body, you should see a tooltip distinguishing each
Libraries as image galleries
Libraries can optionally be used as image galleries, if you want
those images to benefit from the full features of the content
management system. The images can be referenced individually, using
the image tool. If you want to view them all
at once, you can use a Photo Album web application that does this
Libraries as document repositories
Libraries can be used to store documents or other files that don't
normally display directly on the web (eg. spreadsheets, PDF files, zip
archives). In your document library, simply create a content object
for your document, give it an appropriate name, and upload the current
revision of this file.
A link to download the document or file will be automatically
inserted into your pages wherever ExSite encounters the content