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Distributed Web Development Model

A paper to assist web professionals in managing larger or complex Web sites that contain sub-sites and/or have multiple content contributors.


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A Content Explosion


Remember the good old days when companies had only a few web pages—or just a single web site? According to a January 2001 Forrester Report Managing Content Hypergrowth, web content is growing like “wildfire” with 79 percent of firms expecting their web sites to grow—many doubling in the next year. More and more companies find themselves trying to maintain and coordinate the explosion of web sites, pages, and people who create or contribute to them.

Many web administrators find themselves trying to organize and manage the efforts of dozens or even hundreds of Web content stakeholders (individuals throughout their company or organization who contribute content or other data to their organization’s web site). If, as many companies do, your company maintains more than one web site or your web site contains several sub-sites—all with their own set of web stakeholders—the administrator’s role can become even more challenging.

Chances are, you’re in search of an effective way to integrate and organize the people who contribute to your web site. Forward-thinking planners should look for tools that allow them to work with complex site structures and can support a hierarchy of content contributors.

Moving Beyond Traditional Web Development Models


The approach to site development and maintenance that most organizations take towards the need for ever-growing and evolving web sites has traditionally created two types of development paradigms: pipeline and anarchy. While each has its advantages, both cause significant problems.

In the pipeline model, a single webmaster or department has primary control over the web site(s). While this approach minimizes problems with coordination (since one area or individual is ultimately responsible for actually implementing changes to the site), it tends to create “webmaster bottleneck.” Each group involved in contributing to the site must depend on the previous and next groups in the pipeline. This model also tends to consolidate considerable power over the web site in the hands of those farthest down the pipeline.


The anarchy model involves multiple people or areas controlling pages or sites in a decentralized. The advantage to this approach is that launching new sites or making updates is generally easier and less cumbersome. However, the result can be anarchy with discordant or even conflicting information on different areas within a site, disconnected graphical design and navigation, and difficulty communicating among the individuals or teams working on different sites.

A Better Model: Distributed Content Management


For efficient web management, site managers need tools that streamline site development and sidestep delays, yet also allow you to coordinate, guide, and, if desired, even control site development or maintenance workflow.

The distributed model of site development illustrates how multiple authors and other stakeholders can work on a site simultaneously with graphic designers, HTML programmers, and technical staff—avoiding any bottlenecks.

At the same time, a central site administrator or administrative team is able to oversee the whole development process, managing the work of all teams. Using this more productive workflow, the result is a unified web presence that can be rapidly developed, deployed, and maintained.

A Better Model: Distributed Content Management


For efficient web management, site managers need tools that streamline site development and sidestep delays, yet also allow you to coordinate, guide, and, if desired, even control site development or maintenance workflow.

The distributed model of site development illustrates how multiple authors and other stakeholders can work on a site simultaneously with graphic designers, HTML programmers, and technical staff—avoiding any bottlenecks.

At the same time, a central site administrator or administrative team is able to oversee the whole development process, managing the work of all teams. Using this more productive workflow, the result is a unified web presence that can be rapidly developed, deployed, and maintained.


Types of Content Management Systems
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