How the service works

For the technical individuals, or the merely curious, here’s an overview of how our model of the Cascade Content Management System works. Hannon Hill, the creator of Cascade, has its own terminology with regards to some of the elements that go into creating what eventually become your web pages.

Components of the CMS

  • Configuration Sets – defines what type of file will be outputted (HTML, PHP, ASP, etc).
  • Content blocks – the Content Library offers several different pre-programmed, pre-styled widgets to use on a single page or the entire site. These can be configured and then attached to various places on a page.
  • Custom Cascading Style Sheets and JavaScript – within the structural framework created for two template styles, users can attach custom CSS, JavaScript, and dynamic code to add additional presentation and functionality to a single page or an entire site.
  • Data Definitions – a collection of XML data, written raw or through the wizard builder, that describes how sets of data will be structured. They are used by Cascade Server to create form-based input fields for users to create and edit page content that are then attached to various regions in the Template.
  • Internal Page – is the combined presentation of the configuration sets, content blocks, CSS, JS, data defintions, metadata sets, self-content index blocks and templates that give the user a near-identical view of what will be published to the Web.
  • Internal Page Content Type – groups the Template, Configuration Set, Data Definitions and Metadata Sets together into one element, then sends it to the Internal Page.
  • Metadata Sets – used for the same purposes as meta tags in HTML -- to describe page content and assist in SEO efforts. Also attached to the Template’s named regions.
  • Processor formats – a checklist that is called when a page is created to see what elements are attached that require XML processing. As necessary, it sends calls out to Individual processor formats, Utilities formats, Block processor formats and the page formats to transform the XML and insert the results in the regions specified in the Template.
  • Self-content index block – is the combined XML data from the Admin section that is sent to processing.
  • Template – is designed containing explicitly named regions.
How the CMS works

The diagram illustrates the process used when a page template is built. The elements displayed in the Admin section pertain to those used to build and configure a page, while the Processing section shows how those elements are programmatically transformed from raw content in a form-based block to dynamic, formatted and functional content in the final rendered or published page.