The multifaceted siteaccess

I thought I'd write about one of eZ Publish's core features, siteaccess. Like all my blog posts I intend to write for non-techies (aka. normal people) for the purpose of showing how eZ Publish can work for you, so this is not a “how to” tutorial, if you are looking for one of those I'd recommend the this 2010 siteaccess how to which is still relevant.

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I find many of our clients refer the each siteaccess as a side, eg. they might refer to the public, admin or staff “side” of their website and in many ways this conveys the purpose of a siteaccess quite well.  It allows use to show different faces or do different tasks depending on the siteaccess been used.  One analogy is to think of each siteaccess as a window to your website and each window can be used to present different perspectives.  Each siteaccess can use the same content and design either in part or full, this seemingly simple concept makes eZ Publish very flexible in the way we can use it. The siteaccess function can allow us to run multiple websites from a single eZ Publish installation.

Here are a few examples to explain further;

Standard website

All default eZ Publish websites are deployed with both a public siteaccess and an administration one. The content is the same however the functionality is very different with the public one been focused on content sharing and the administration interface focused on editing tasks.

Multilingual

Sharing the same content in multiple languages is a common need which eZ Publish excels at. Each object (page, image etc) can be rewritten into different languages in eZ Published. While there are some great free tools like Google Translate http://translate.google.com/ which will translate any site instantly into 65 different languages instantly, we used this on http://www.disabilityliving.org.au with great results. However if you want perfect control of the translation or to even have different content and layout per translation then that is where eZ Publish siteaccess can help.  One client, Lifestyle Assistance & Accommodation Service use this for Greek and English. Clicking the flag icons (top-right) toggles the language while retaining the current page, eZ Publish even supports multilingual URLs (addresses).

Multinational

It is becoming increasingly important to localise your content and present it differently whether for costs, services or branding it can be done using siteaccesses.  For example you might have visitors from Britian, Australia and New Zealand and even though the language is identical you still need to localise content.

PC, Mobile, Tablet

Its now very common to produce device dedicated content layouts to provide optimised versions of your site for tablet, phone and desktop users. Again siteaccess assists by giving us the tools and framework to deliver the same content but optimised and presented differently.

Sub websites / sections

At times an organisation may have affiliates who require a small website presence, this was the case for AAMT who wished to support their smaller Tasmanian associate, we used a sub-domain for them http://mat.aamt.edu.au and eZ Publish siteaccess to allow MAT to control their own small site directly with no negative impact on AAMT even though it runs on the same database.

We've used the same principle to deliver functional differences also, for example the Australian transcription company OutScribe needed to add a dedicated client work area to their website.  We created it for them again using a sub-domain address, https://secure.outscribe.com.au which provides their clients with a tailored work area different to their promotional website but it all runs on the same eZ Publish installation.

Naturally there is much more to siteaccesses, but I hope that gives you an appreciated and insight into an important facet of eZ Publish.

More information of a technical nature can be found here and here.
https://confluence.ez.no/display/EZP/Siteaccess+Matching
http://doc.ez.no/eZ-Publish/Technical-manual/5.x/Concepts-and-basics/Configuration/Site-management

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