10 Reasons: Why you should choose SDL Web for your digital strategy

By Pankaj Gaur

In this over-crowded space of Web Content Management System (WCMS) where more than 2500+ options are available, choosing a best partner for your digital strategy is always a challenge.

Most of these WCMS system are capable of creating a high performing, dynamic, device (mobile, digital signage, panels etc.) friendly and content rich website; but below listed 10 reasons differentiate SDL Web from its competitor and turn out to be an obvious choice considering most of these features/options are not available in most of the offerings out there and provides a real value for your digital implementations.

1. Blueprinting

Blueprinting is a Trademarked feature of SDL Web. Blueprinting allows content sharing and re-use of the content across different pages in your website or even across multiple websites. The content repository (known as publications) are managed in a hierarchy exhibiting parent-child relationship. Any content created in parent repository can be reused in child such that all or part of the content can be re-used.
So you can for example:

  • Create content for marketing campaign for a US region website
  • Re-use the above content for a India Region website while keeping text, images being same and just changing the currency and denomination
  • Re-use the above content for US Region website in the Spanish language while keeping the image same but changes the text
  • Re-use the above content to completely change in terms of text and image but keep the metadata intact

2. Technology

SDL allows it’s owners to chose any sort of technology stack, Java,  .NET or Front-end, even Perl 🙂 Does not matter.  This is another feature in SDL Web which is available only with SDL Web and no other WCMS system – you want to implement your website in .NET and Microsoft Technology Stack you can do that with SDL Web; and if you want to use Java and related tech stack for your website, you can do that as well.

So you can for example:

  • Choose a Linux based server and have a Spring MVC based website powered by SDL Web
  • Choose a Windows based server and have a ASP.NET MVC based website powered by SDL Web
  • Choose an Amazon or Azure based cloud with either Linux or Windows as OS and Java or .NET based website as per your need
    You can choose a combination of one or more of above

3. Translation

SDL undoubtedly is pioneer in translation service – their AI powered translation services are unmatched with any other service provide – that’s what SDL meant and known for – Software and Documentation Localization.
Now SDL’s translation services can be integrated with SDL Web through out-of-the-box Translation Manager which enable sending content for translation to SDL’s translation service as well as manages the entire translation workflow and approval process.

So you can for example:

  • Select content in SDL Web, send it for translation to SDL’s Translation server, receive the translated version in SDL Web, let it pass through approval workflow
  • if approved, use it in your website; if rejected, sent it back to for re-translation
  • Integrate this as part of your content management workflow.

4. Latest Version – Always

If you worry about the effort it takes to upgrade an on-premise software tool, then worry not! With SDL Web Cloud which is a version-less system. This means you will always be on latest version of the WCMS system – the quarterly release of the software will be patched as per an agreed scheduled by SDL and you can relax and be free from “Upgrade Plans”

5. Extensibility

One of the biggest advantage with SDL Web is that it allows you to extend most of its features – GUI, Publishing Process, Link Resolving process, Storage Mechanism, Content Saving process, Workflow process – almost everything.
So you can for example:

  • Extend the GUI to have few custom menus there with custom functionality to ease the Content Author
  • Extend the default process of publishing and may choose to inject some custom logic before, during or after the publishing of content
  • Extend the storage mechanism while publishing content – you may choose to save the publishing content to file system and/or database and/or can define a new storage type altogether and/or choose to store published content in some custom DB like Mongo DB and/or search engines like Solr, Elastic Search, AWS Cloud Search etc.
  • Extend the content save process and choose for an example to send an email whenever a component is saved
  • Extend to capture almost any event corresponding to any activity you do and can customize the process

6. Third Party Integrations

SDL Web has a rich set of APIs, which can be used to access any content – published, unpublished, under workflow process, everything.

It could be a WCF based service that can be used to access pages, content and other building blocks of your website, the user, groups and other admin related information; it could be an OData based service exposing all “published only” content; it could be a dll or jar file that you can reference in your web application to interact with SDL Web or it could be a special library to connect with external content provided by third party applications – possibilities are limitless.

So you can for example, integrate your SDL Web based website with:

  • Salesforce creating leads and opportunities
  • Applications like Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot etc. submitting information collected via various forms on your website
  • Sharepoint to access docs or intranet information
  • Tools like Documentum, Flickr, AWS S3 Bucket etc.
  • Integrate with SOLR, Elastic Search, AWS Cloud Search etc. to index and search content
  • Integrate with Brightcove, Vimeo, Ooyala to access and play videos on your website

7. Asset Management

SDL Web allows to create multimedia content (images, video, documents etc.) of almost all types and allow to manage even large amount of assets in SDL Web CMS itself – I actually had an experience where we have imported millions of assets from a popular asset management system and handle/deliver them solely from SDL Web without any issue and acceptable performance.

If you need full-fledged Digital Asset Management (DAM) system with advanced features of Asset Management system like out of the box Content Delivery Network (CDN), resizing, cropping, multi-channel media (different size, different format) etc., then you can choose to configure SDL Media Manager which comes as a part of SDL Web suite and integrates easily with SDL Web.

8. Document Management

You can create documents by uploading documents as a multimedia component within SDL Web directly, however, if you are looking for a full fledged Document Management System (DMS) based on DITA format, you may use an SDL’s structured content management tool SDL Knowledge Center (formerly Live Content) provided by SDL and integrates with SDL quite nicely and easily.

SDL Knowledge Center

SDL Knowledge Center is an enterprise solution for creating, managing and delivering high quality structured content for technical documentation and self-service support.


9. Multi-channel Campaigning

If you need to create a multi-channel campaign, you can certainly implement within in SDL Web system; alternatively, for a full fledged Campaigning system, you may opt for SDL’s Campaigns product, which allows users to create customer segment and combine everything you know about your customer into a visual dashboard – this gives you a full picture of your customer and allows you to engage with your customer through targeted campaigns across multiple channels

10. Community

The ever growing community of SDL Web is awesome – the community has added a real value to the product. The SDL Community has been able to bring following value addition on the table:
Alchemy For Tridion (A4T)
This is essentially an add-on for SDL Web and is serves majorly two purpose – provides a framework to extend the GUI of the SDL Web and allow to configure and setup those GUI extensions by mere drag and drop on SDL Web interface. Second, it provides a web-store containing hundreds of plug-in created and shared by the community and can be re-use – and all this is free of cost. You can read more about Alchemy For Tridion and gather all necessary resource at Alchemy Webstore
Dynamic Delivery For Tridion (DD4T)
DD4T is a development framework which enables the use of MVC Architecture in SDL Web based website. It comes in two flavours – DD4T with .NET and DD4T with Java. The DD4T stores the pages and content in Database as a data instead of code files on file system – you can use the REST APIs to fetch this data in your web application and render on views.
Digital Experience Accelerator (DXA)
DXA is another development framework or rather a website implementation tool-kit owned and supported by SDL and actively enhanced by the community. DXA comes with a basic website using standard best practice out of the box which can be re-used, extended or built upon for faster development cycle. DXA is also available in two flavours – DXA with .NET and DXA with Java
DXA at its core utilizes the DD4T framework – there are efforts in place to merge the DD4T with DXA so as to have a more powerful combined package available for use.
Search Integration For Tridion (SI4T)
SI4T is another open source project developed by the community which allows you to index your published content into Web App Search Engines like SOLR, AWS Cloud Search etc. which can be further used to enable fast enterprise search and filtering of content on the website
Tridion Stack Exchange Website
Tridion Stack Exchange website (https://tridion.stackexchange.com/) is a Q and A website for Tridion developers, administrator and architects. You can visit this community website for any query related to a implementation and the rich community will try to answer generously

The SDL Web community is quit active in blogging and hundreds of blogs are out there which can be referenced and gain knowledge from.
A partial list of such blogs and other online references can be found on Tridion Stack Exchange
MVP Program
To encourage the active participation in the community and to thank all those active community members who made the community great, SDL runs an MVP (Most Valued Professional) Award, in which all active members are identified and awarded with this prestigious award every year.