As developers, we are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of our work and start working on the custom elements of websites quicker. Alongside the Yeoman Generator that Rich has created, I have been spending my divergence time building us a Kentico Web Template.
A Kentico Web Template is a great way for us to kick off the development of our sites as it allows us to save time and effort by doing all the common pieces of set up in one go.
When setting up websites, there are certain settings that need changing within Kentico’s admin panel, which will affect us both during development and when we hand the code over to our live environment.
These are all general settings for the site such as setting up where new pages are placed in the content tree, the default page to go to when you type in the web address and SEO options to make sure you are getting the most out of your content.
Having these settings applied when we build the site instead of having to enter each one manually saves us a good hour of the site set up.
There are certain pages which need to be in every site. Your “Page Not Found”, “Site Map” and (most importantly) “Home” Page. Starting off a site with all the common pages we use means that we will be sure to have them included when we move onto that part of the development. It is also easier to delete the unnecessary pages at the start of the project than to have to add them later on in the project cycle.
I have added in a couple of users to the site which have different privileges to new sites. This will make it easier for us to test what our clients will see when they log into the system and also help when we demo to our clients how to use the Kentico system.
Ashley’s recent work in creating an Email template has been implemented into Kentico. All the standard widgets and templates that are used in the creation of dynamic newsletters and branded email are added into the solution, allowing our Front End to customise them to the needs of our client.
It is relatively simple setting up a web template to use on Kentico sites. All it boils down to is exporting the base site using Kentico admin panel and set it up to be imported as a new website on the new instance that we have just created.
We can add the exported site into the Kentico Installer folder and it will appear in each of the new installations we build. This means it only has to be copied once from our central storage and it will be added to each new site. Plus when the template gets updated with additional features, we just have to update a single folder.
While these templates greatly decreases the time it takes us to set up a new Kentico site, it isn’t perfect. While we can add the web template to the installer, we still have to spend a few minutes setting up the new Web Template in Kentico’s admin panel when we create a new instance. This is purely because the files are copied across but haven’t been registered in Kentico’s Installer program.
Kentico’s Web Template may have been intended to make creating multiple similar sites on the same instance of Kentico easier and quicker. By utilising part of the functionality in the Kentico Installer, we are able to create a template which we can use to create all our new sites which have all the settings we require and will speed up the Set Up time of our projects, leading to more time being available for the custom elements of the website.