Advanced Topics in CMS: Course Syllabus

This is a course taught by Deane Barker for the Masters in Content Strategy program at FH Joanneum in Graz, Austria.

This course is designed as an introduction to multiple topics around content technology. The goal is a broad base of familiarity with the capabilities, limits, and challenges of content technology, with an emphasis on the continuing theme of practical implementation versus theoretical perfect.

This course is targeted to non-developers. Some experience with CMS as a user is helpful, but not required.

The primary goal of the course is

This course is comprised of:


The course is graded as follows:

(Note to potentially confused non-Europeans: this is the European grading system of 1-5, not the North American grading system of A-F.)

I do evaluate assignments, and reserve the right to request resubmission, but I do not check attendance for the lectures, nor do I verify that you have completed the reading (aside from competent completion of assignments based on the reading). I assume you are taking the course to learn the material, and therefore I trust you will complete the work.


Designing Connected Content: Plan and Model Digital Products for Today and Tomorrow (“DCC”)

Carrie Hane and Mike Atherton
New Riders

You will read this entire book at your own speed. It needs to be complete by the end of the class.

Purchase from Amazon

Lectures / Lessons

Lesson 1: Text Encodings

Digital representation of text. Encodings, from ASCII to Unicode.

Lesson 2: Rich Text, Formatting, Layout, and LMLs

How to allow and manage rich text amidst more templated information. Why rich text can be a problem. Different ways of managing the drawbacks of rich text. How narrative composition changes rich text and provides new options. How LMLs can be used to control rich text.

Lesson 3: Full-Text Search

Indexing vs. searching. Parametric vs. full text search. The timing of indexing. Tokenization. Stemming. Lemmatization. Stopwords. Scoring and biasing.

Lesson 4: Localization

Localization vs. internationalization. Challenges with partial site translations. XLIFF and automated translation workflow. Methods of language identification. Language fallback and negotiations

Lesson 5: APIs and Extensibility

Products vs. platforms. The scope of extensibility. Event-based programming. Batch processing. Webhooks.

Lesson 6: DevOps

Technology stacks: PaaS vs. SaaS, hosting accounts, reliability and uptime, monitoring, performance and load testing, data residency

Lesson 7: Personalization and Multivariate Testing

Rules-based personalization vs. intent-based personalization. Available contextual markers. Usability and indexing issues. A/B testing patterns.

Lesson 8: Media Management

Media modeling. Content association and media scoping. Digital asset management systems. Image renditioning.

Lesson 9: Content Integration

Common scenarios for content integration. Patterns of content integration. Development vs. runtime risk. Common packaged integrations. Real-time vs. batch integration patterns. Velocity and latency concerns.

Lesson 10: Page Composition

Page object-mapping. Content elements, regions, and zones. The effect of page composition on content modeling. Usability and migration concerns with page composition.


This course was developed by Deane Barker. If you have an interest in re-distributing or re-using this content, please contact me. Note that some supplemental content of this course may be copyrighted by others.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.