Adobe Experience Manager Hints & Tips
Got yourself a job as a new AEM author? Congratulations! Here are some great tips compiled from my recent work at Finning.com to help you on your way:
1. Using Dual Monitors.
Corporate environments can be challenging places to work in sometimes. A lot of money gets spent on the licensing fee, project management, server setup, and maintenance. When it comes to the humble author, you know, the guy or gal who is going to be doing all the button pressing then they can often be overlooked in the grand scheme of things.
Absolutely insist on a dual monitor setup. A dual monitor setup is important because compressed images need to be compared using the same monitor display. You can’t compare a compressed image across two different display screens (monitor/laptop) because they will look totally different. It’s an essential step to making sure you have the optimal resolution for your images.
Using dual monitors also makes for rapid copying and pasting, comparing text passages, comparing pages and a whole lot more. It’s an essential requirement for this line of work.
2. Follow The Content Plan Spreadsheet.
When you are working on your own website, the order in which things get done can be “ad hoc” and messy. You get an idea, you research your keywords, you make the page and then figure out how to add images and make it look pretty. In AEM everything is structured which makes page creation easy but you do need to keep a record of everything you’ve created.
Ideally, you’ll have a master content spreadsheet from which to work. You should fill in the details to indicate whether page thumbnails have been created, page headings, meta description, content is complete or draft, waiting for approval or feedback. Without this, content creation will become an unstructured mess, particularly if you have two or three stakeholders/managers firing requests at you who all have urgent deadlines to meet.
Do yourself a favour and insist everyone stick to the spreadsheet format and keep it updated.
3. Moving And Deleting Files
This is one of the key features of AEM that you’ll need to master very quickly because getting it wrong can cause a lot of broken links in short order.
a) Create a new page from your page template. Call it templatepagenew.html. Do not overwrite the existing page.
b) Delete the old page
c) Move your newly created page to templatepage.html
This method is totally opposite to traditional web authoring where you would first rename your target page to .old or .backup. If you do that you’ll take all the existing page references with it as well. Not cool. Now you’ll have to fix each page affected individually and there could be hundreds of them!
4. Digital Asset Manager
This is where Adobe Experience Manager excels. Images and image management is made very easy with the digital asset manager. You will need to keep the DAM tidy though otherwise you’ll quickly be unable to find images in the huge pile. Find and remove unused images using the tools>references command and make plenty of folders and subfolders to store your images in. make sure you come up with an easy tagging system to make your images searchable.
5. Image Creation
Finding original images that are approved for use can be a challenge. Depending on your AEM setup you should make all the sizes that may be required in the future whilst you have the original image loaded up in photoshop. Going back trying to find original source imagery is probably the biggest time drain in the whole page creation process.
6. Be good At Collecting Documentation
What can seem the most trivial information today can be important tomorrow. Keep a record of build numbers and the changelog so that you know when components have been updated or altered. If they start to display incorrectly you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact cause. Collect any author guides, user access to image libraries and other documentation together and find a home for it on a shared drive or sharepoint folder.
7. Useful Chrome Extensions
This extension will clear your browser cache with a single click and reload the page without removing other items you want to keep like cookies, downloads etc. Use it to make sure you are viewing the most current version of the page because images will usually be cached.
Page ruler lets you measure the exact display size of an image so you can crop and scale it to the correct dimensions. Useful when you don’t want to lose resolution or image focus.
3. Fill form inputs
Fill form inputs will fill all the form fields on a page with dummy data. Useful for form testing.
4. Image size info
Image size info will give up the image information by hovering your cursor over the image.
Ensure text doesn’t contain basic grammatical errors.
Will tell you what CMS platform and framework a website is running on.
Pick colours with an eyedropper and reveal their hex notation. Useful for matching colours.