Marketpath CMS Developer Tutorial Series

Authors

Last Updated 3/6/2018

Authors provide both attribution for intellectual work and a way to group "related" content together. One of the simpler concepts in the CMS, do not underestimate the value and utility that they provide.

One of the first things you will notice about authors is that, while there is a variety of information that users can enter about authors, there are only two required fields - Name and Title. Remember that Name refers to the internal name and probably should not be displayed, which only leaves Title. This is intentional in order to make it as simple as possible to create new authors.

That does not mean that the template developer should ignore the other fields. On the contrary, if a user fills out any other fields for authors, they are probably doing it specifically for display on the website and the template developer should honor that. While this may make for a messier template (lots of {% if entity.field.is_valid %} statements), it also makes for a cleaner editor and website experience which will pay off over a short time.

A seemingly obvious omission to Marketpath CMS authors is social media accounts. This too is intentional, since the social media requirements for sites varies so dramatically that it would not make sense for us to determine what accounts are relevant to all sites.

Does that mean that we think social media accounts are unimportant for authors? Of course not! It just means that the template developer will need to determine what the important social media accounts should be and add them as custom fields to the author template  - which we strongly encourage you to do.

One of the main challenges with authors is that they can be associated to so many different content types that it can become difficult to determine what should be displayed on the author's page and how to display it. This should be discussed early in the website design and development process so that everyone understands and agrees to the same requirements prior to building anything. The exact solution you decide on will likely depend on how you plan your content strategy.

For example: Many sites will only care about authors of blog posts, so those author pages only need to display blog posts that the author has written. If your site utilizes authors to organize datastore items, calendar entries, or documents, you may need to display those on the author page as well. Even then, however, you may need to decide whether to display all of those items in a single "feed" or in separate "sections" of the author page. You may even decide to create multiple pages for each author so that each page only deals with a single concern - whether it is authored blog posts, authored calendar entries, or one of many other possible options.

Does every website need authors and author pages? Probably not. There are many sites who only have a single author - or who curate all content as a team and do not want to draw attention to individual team members. In such cases, it is OK to ignore authors in your templates. For virtually all other sites, though, it just makes sense to tackle the author template confusion - even if it does nothing more than display the author information and the list of blog posts they have written.

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