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How does web content management work?

RisukelRisukel Registered User new member
edited March 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys -

I'm looking at interviewing at a company where I'd be doing design work. I've been doing print design for a while now, but they're looking for a purely web guy, who has some familiarity with back end content management. Unfortunately, i've never really worked on anything much larger than a small, personal site in dreamweaver, with a few linked files. Even then, I have a tough time with managing simple site hierarchies, to be honest.

The thing is, this is a job I would kill for. I REALLY want this one. They're not looking for a tech person, but I'm not sure what exactly large scale content management involves - and I don't want to ask a really dumb question and disqualify myself for the job.

So - what exactly does this type of content management software entail? I imagine it's simply uploading or releasing files with a certain naming convention to be published on a specific site or page. I can't find any information on how a designer uses that type of software though. Can anyone give me a rough idea of what I'd need to know/learn to qualify for this job?

Risukel on


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    TaximesTaximes Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I wouldn't say asking a question like that in the interview would be considered dumb at all (unless the info is available to you somewhere, like on their site).

    If you're worried about presenting yourself in a bad light, just avoid saying something like "I'm inexperienced with websites" and try to phrase it generally. "Can you tell me more about this job's specific responsibilities?", etc. An interview doesn't always have to be about you the entire time.

    I don't have experience in the field professionally, but from the way you described it, it sounds to me like naming conventions and hierarchies are what they'd expect of you (unless they expect you to build the site code-wise, too, which wouldn't make a lot of sense given your background).

    Taximes on
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    PhilodoxPhilodox Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    It depends on how large scale you're talking about. There are content management systems that let you control the theme, navigation, etc. of your pages through a central management console rather than having to go in an edit each file individually. It could also mean being responsible for deploying updates to the site and ensuring that nothing breaks.

    I would ask them specifically what they're looking for and what the job entails.

    Philodox on
    That's a Freudian mansex if I ever cocked one.
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    RisukelRisukel Registered User new member
    edited March 2007
    Thanks for the responses guys. The site would be on roughly the scale of something like, but with less interactive content.

    I'd primarily be responsible for visuals, so it shouldn't be a job where they expect me to know a ton of coding. It's good to know I'm probably not totally in over my head :)

    Risukel on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    If the job description mentions content management, then they are talking about CMS applications. These range from things like Blogger and Wordpress up to full blown CMS like Joomla and custom built applications. Essentially, they let a designer build a site that one or more users can then easily update content inside, usually through a web-based interface that operates similar to something in between this forum and a wordprocessor.

    To design for CMS applications, you really need to know XHTML and CSS for the layout and styling. If they expect you to build custom CMS apps then you'll need to know stuff like PHP, MySQL, possibly even Ruby and Java and so on - actual web application development environments.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Part of my job is to manage the content on my company's web page using a program called Content Management (soon to be replaced by Microsoft Sharepoint), its alot like updating your web page using MS Word. You build the graphics on what ever program you'd use to create them and then upload them through Content Management.

    The program itself is idiot proof, but of course you're still responsible for knowing how the graphics you're building are going to behave once uploaded to a page.

    MagicToaster on
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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Yeah, it's a lot of communication/organization than actual technical. Depending on the company, of course. But gennerally you'll be gettign the content (let's say weekly TV schedules) from the Schedule Girl, and you'll be responsible for uploading to the pre-built Schedule page. You just have to make sure everything works, and probably do some basic proof-reading, etc.

    Good time management is important, as well as communication, since you may have to hunt that lazy bitch down if she doesn't send you the schedule.

    Take a look at Macromedia (F*sk Adobe!) Contribute for a basic CMS.

    MichaelLC on
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    japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    The "Back end" of CMS apps is usually some kind of database (MySQL, Access, PostGreSQL, Oracle, etc). You set up page templates with some scripting language (like PHP, Ruby, C#, etc.) that generate (X)HTML pages filled with content pulled from the database.

    I'd make sure that you're very clear on the terminology they use, because some organisations refer to everyone who does "Web Stuff" as a designer, even if they're, for example, purely a PHP coder. Just make sure you have a clear idea of what they're asking of you, and what you'd be required to do. It might be coming up with template designs that are then handed to a coder to implement.

    japan on
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    jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Just to throw a monkey wrench into things, content management could also refer to something like Microsoft Visual Source Safe, which is a database in which all your files sit. Users check out a file, edit said file, and check it back in when they're done. These programs allow you to make your changes without worrying about other users overwriting your changes or you overwriting theirs. Most of them also record comments relevant to why a file was checked out and what's different about this version than the previous one.

    If this is what they mean, you'll just need to familiarize yourself with the use of their CMS app of choice, and they're all pretty simple to use. Administration or maintenance, on the other hand, can be difficult.

    jclast on
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    AftyAfty Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I work for a "creative media agency" basically we make websites, but they like to be lar dee dar ..

    Anyhoo my job here is to take visuals from designers and build them with html and css. Our CMS is built to read info from a database and is then styled by the templates i build.

    Our designers dont touch code and i generally can build anything they come up with.

    I would guess that they just want you to be aware that the content you create wont nessicarily be the content that ends up in the site.

    If you want to get some brownie points do a little reading on web accessibility, our designers are shit as far as accessibility goes and its frequently a nightmare.

    Afty on
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