We’ve been investigating a new product launched by the Kentico team called Kentico Draft.  The main aim of this new product is to simplify and streamline the content production process for a new website build (irrelevant of the chosen CMS).

At NetConstruct, we’ve noticed that a number of our new clients underestimate the amount of time and effort that is actually required when preparing content for their new website.  Sometimes this means we’re ready to push the new site build live, but unfortunately the content required to populate the site isn’t ready and/or approved by the appropriate parties involved.  We are always exceptionally happy with the quality of our work, so when a client has spent a lot of money on a brand new website, the last thing we want is to prevent it from being seen by their own visitors.

This is where Kentico Draft comes into play, we can assist the client with preparation of content for their new website much earlier in the development process.  As soon as we have an agreed website specification, we can set up Content types in Kentico Draft which will mirror fields against the Page types when the website has been built.  With these fields matching so closely, when the website requires some content entered, we can use the integration tool Kentico have provided (Kentico Draft Import) to import the content directly into the Kentico website instance.  Since this process is automated, it removes any potential human error due to copy and pasting incorrectly, etc.  The Kentico Draft Import tool itself is very easy to install (through a nuget package), and once installed is listed alongside other modules inside the application list.

Kentico Draft offers many useful features beyond just basic content entry.  Some notable features are:

  • Ability to assign content items to other content entry users with appropriate messages.
  • Apply approval workflows for content items, meaning only approved work which has been processed by the required team members will migrate itself to the CMS.
  • Deadlines can be set up for certain documents (including notification emails when they are overrunning).
  • Users can annotate sections of content for others to see, important for informing others why a piece of content has been written a specific way, to raise questions or recommend changes.
  • Kentico Draft essentially has its own version control, when content is changed it is automatically saved in the cloud, and revisions are kept so you can keep your focus purely on the content entry itself rather than worrying about information getting lost.  Revisions are really useful for seeing who and when changes were made.

We’ve been working closely with the Kentico Draft team, and recommended some extra functionality we feel would improve the software.  When importing pages through the Kentico Draft Import you are required to select a page type, but not a page template.  So if you are using a page type without a default template (or you simply want to use a different template to default, like changing from a two column layout to three), then currently you need to change the template manually yourself after the import has taken place.  During discussions with the Kentico Draft team, they have promised it will be added in the next release, which we are happy to see as it shows Kentico Draft is committed to meeting client needs.

Another recommendation we have passed to the Kentico Draft team would be to expand on the Kentico Draft Import process to allow for importing into certain widgets and webparts.  At the moment the system is restricted to importing into page type fields, metadata and media libraries.  I would say that the majority of our clients like to make changes directly in the page, rather than the form tab so the ability to import directly here would be beneficial.  The Kentico Draft team have suggested they are going to take this on board and investigate potentially expanding the data import destinations.

We are eagerly awaiting future development and improvements to be made to Kentico Draft.