What’s new in August & September 2017
The big news in this post is that on September 14th we launched the Watson Content Hub Standard Edition product. We announced this a couple of months ago, and this edition provides marketers with new tools to directly manage the web experience. In addition, we also deployed a selection of new fixes and smaller updates, building on what we shipped in January, February, March, April and May/June and July.
We’re really excited by this new edition, and we are evolving Watson Content Hub at a very fast pace. As a reminder, we now have two editions of Watson Content Hub.
- Essentials Edition. This is our Headless CMS product, with a great contribution user interface, APIs, CDN and Watson services built-in.
- Standard Edition. We build on Essentials Edition with tools for marketers to manage customer experiences, working together with their front end development team.
Click on the banner or this link to take the free 30 day trial to see for yourself.
Features for Standard Edition only
Watson Content Hub Standard Edition is now available. As I’ve described before, this enables business users to manage a website on top of the headless CMS. This is a really important step. Some people see Headless CMS as being for developers and it’s our philosophy to offer our customers a best-of-both-worlds approach. We offer great APIs and content modelling features to support headless scenarios, but also business user tools for the web channel.
Here is some information about what we launched. Take the free 30 day trial to see for yourself.
Starter Site Template – “Oslo”
We have launched our website capability with a beautiful, fully responsive starter site template. The starter site is pre-installed in all trials. This Angular 4 app enables you to immediately use the site management capabilities of Watson Content Hub, and you can customise it to apply your branding and create your own templates. You can view this site template here, and access the whole samples gallery here.
Watson Content Hub provides a site manager, so the business users can manage the site structure. Here, they can manage the site structure, create new pages and access page properties. When creating new pages, users can choose from either the pre-developed templates that IBM supplies, or those that their own developers can create.
Managing Page Content
You can manage page content in the sidebar, using a simple templating system. Business users use this to create new content or select from content already created in the system. We provide a scaled down content authoring experience in the sidebar, and the screenshot shows this being used to select an image to add to the page. You can see that the content items in the expanded palette (in the red box on the right) are the same ones that feature in the screenshots earlier in the post.
I have used a green box in the screenshot to highlight the context menu, from which commenting and review can be launched, as well as access to draft content and pages.
Click to view
Customizing the Starter Site & Angular SDK
Your application developers can customise the starter site template. To do this, they will need commonly available front-end development skills. We supply an Angular 4 site, but we do not restrict you to this framework. To facilitate development in Angular, we provide a small SDK that you can use to encapsulate the Watson Content Hub API calls you need to integrate your site with the CMS. In the near future, we intend to provide samples using other popular frameworks that will accelerate your development if you don’t want to use Angular.
We will publish more samples on this blog in the coming weeks and months – keep your eyes open for new assets to help accelerate your delivery!
Watson Content Hub now supports creation of a custom host name. With this feature you can configure a custom host name. In this scenario the tenant ID is no longer required in the URL. For example, without a custom host name, the URL would look like this https://my.digitalexperience.ibm.com/b9e91e4b-cf95-40c1-b182-01f32f183bdb/#/home – but when one is configured you will be able to have a URL like https://www.watsoncontenthub.io/#/home
Note that this feature is not available in the free trial.
Features for Essentials Edition and Standard Edition
Some of the features that we launched are available to both Essentials Edition and Standard Edition.
Many people have requested the ability to restrict publication of WCH content to authorised users. Our first step towards this is to enable a simple solution that works well for headless content architectures. In this approach, we define a secure token that must be passed in the HTTP header in order to retrieve published content. In order to keep the token secure, we advise the use of a proxy application that would serve up the end user experience. This is illustrated in the diagram below.
There is no user interface to configure this: if you wish to apply this to your WCH instance then simply raise a ticket and we will apply the configuration for you.
We have added several useful features to assets in WCH. Firstly, and most importantly, assets can now have a draft status. You can now use the same simple lifecycle with both content and assets. Secondly, you can now instruct Watson Content Hub to re-analyse an asset to update the tags.
In the image below, I have highlighted drafts with a red outline, and re-tagging with a green one.
Tagging in Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and Italian
Watson Content Hub now returns tags from Watson cognitive services in Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and Italian. You can set your hub’s default language to one of these in general settings – once this is done, our image analysis capability will return tags in these languages, if they exist.
Review and commenting
We have introduced a simple comment and review feature to Watson Content Hub. This allows an author to initiate an informal review of a content item, and gather comments and approval statements from various stakeholders. In the screenshot below, I highlighted the commenting user interface.
Dependency resolution on publish
When a content item refers to another content item or an asset, publishing now resolves dependencies on unpublished or incomplete items. Content authors can use this to ensure that a consistent set of items are published together, without needing to manually follow all dependencies.
From the card and list views, it is now possible to select multiple items to publish all at once. This pattern will form the basis for further bulk actions in the future.
Standard Edition Add-on – Non-Production Environment
In September, we launched a new add-on for Standard Edition, which is a non-production environment. This reduced-price part has the same specification as Standard Edition, except for the ability to specify a custom host name and it is delivered from a single data centre. The non-production environment, as the name suggests, is designed to support your development lifecycle. Now you can have WCH instances to support your other non-production environments at a price that reflects the non-production usage.