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Sites and sections

Content Repository supports multi-site and multi-section content publishing. This means that a content piece may be re-used several times on multiple sites and sections (sections belong to sites).

Tide Site module provides an ability for Editor to publish content to selected sites and sections.

How it works

Sites and sections defined in a single vocabulary Sites with the maximum depth of 1, making root-level terms to become sites and terms of depth level 1 to become sections. The module has code to provide back-end validation to prevent creating of terms with depth more than 1.

We decided to use Drupal taxonomy for sites and sections for multiple reasons:

  • Taxonomy terms are fieldable entities. This means that Frontend Websites can extend per-site properties as required, exposing them to the API.
  • Taxonomy terms support hierarchy, which helps to define site-section relationship, and, as a result of this, easily filter associated content by site.
  • Taxonomy terms can be selected in UI using one of the existing contributed widgets.
  • Taxonomy terms have full Token and Pathauto support, which makes it easy to use them for building content URLs based on IA.
  • Taxonomy terms have full JSONAPI support and can be queried by Frontend Websites in the same way as any other entities.
  • The concept of using taxonomy terms to group content is easy to understand.
  • The concept of using taxonomy terms to store per-site settings is easy to understand.

Content may be shared between sites, but never between sections, as this would lead to the same content being served from different URLs, which is highly discouraged by search engines.

Primary site

To mitigate the problem when the same content is shared between different websites, a selection of Primary site is required, which will be used to generate canonical URL for the content piece. As a result, every content type has 2 fields created automatically: site and primary_site. Both fields are compulsory. Editors are expected to select destination site and section for each content piece.

Site and Section Fields

To provide site and section-specific information through API, every Site taxonomy term has a set of the following information fields:

Field Description
Domains Multiline plain text field to specify site domains. This is used by Ripple to match on the domain where the request is coming from. One domain per line. Wildcards supported.
Title Text field to specify site title.
Slogan Text field to specify site slogan.
Logo File field to upload site logo.
Footer message Text field with WYSIWYG support to specify site footer message.
Main Menu Per-site and per-section menus may be helpful to build section-based navigation experience.

Site admins may associate existing or create new menu with every site term.

This is an entity reference field.
Footer Menu Per-site and per-section menus may be helpful to build section-based navigation experience.

Site admins may associate existing or create new menu with every site term.

This is an entity reference field.

Note

Since Frontend Websites information is stored using fieldsable taxonomy terms, it is possible to add more fields to capture site information in the Content Repository. The data stored in these fields will become automatically exposed through API.

Per-site and per-section menus may be helpful to build section-based navigation experience. They allow to provide custom menu items for specific sites and sections.

Site menus automatically created when a new Site taxonomy term is created.

Basically, instead of creating a site and then manually creating a menu on the separate screen, we automatically create and assign a menu for each site within the site creation screen by checking relevant checkbox on Site term ctreation page.

Expand for Site menu creation flow diagram

Multi-site URL rendering

When content piece belongs to multiple sites or sections, it may have links to it from other content pieces of the current domain or other domains. Drupal has to render these links with correct domains as a part of url, so that Frontend Websites could output these links as-is.

Example of multi-site URL rendering

For example, if we have:

  • 2 sites first.com and second.com
  • 2 pages page1 and page2
  • page1 has a link to page2
  • page1 belongs to first.com
  • page2 belongs to both first.com and second.com; the primary site is set to second.com

When the visitor is on the page first.com/page1 and follows the link /page2 she should end up on first.com/page2 and not second.com/page2. This is because she is currently on first.com domain and continues browsing the same domain.

And if the visitor comes from Google search to page2, she should end up at second.com/page2, because second.com is a primary site for page2.

This is just an example of the part of the problem. There are more use-cases and they are explained below.

For content exposed through API, the links may come from different places and we need to be able to extract internal entity id:

  • For link fields, this should be fairly straightforward: the user enters the link and we have an internal entity id.
  • For links entered in WYSIWYG, we need to use the LinkIt module so that we can extract an internal entity id.
  • For links entered in WYSIWYG within referenced entities (for example, field on the paragraph belonging to the page) the API output will contains the path alias.

For all links presented to the user:

  • Internal links should be rendered as a relative path. If the link is to a page available on the current site, either primary or not, render as a relative link.
  • External links (including links to other sites/section) should be rendered with an absolute path.

For links within WYSIWYG, Drupal has to extract, analyse and replace links before rendering it through API. For this, we use an enhancer (special piece of code to manipulate content output before it is rendered through API) to scrape the content, then render the relevant link.

Implementation details

The content is extracted from the raw contents of WYSIWYG filed using Link Extractor.

Link Extractor scans HTML and extracts all links. This happens before Drupal sanitizes WYSIWYG field output. Every extracted link is then passed to a Link Resolver.

Link Resolver takes node id, loads up the path alias using some complex logic (see diagram below) and then swaps it within the href. Resolved URL is then passed to Link Replacer.

Link Replacer replaces old extracted links with new resolved ones within contents of the WYSIWYG field. The processsed field contents is then passed to API for normal rendering as JSONAPI response.

For links coming from Link fields, the above applies, but starting from Link Resolver (there is no HTML to extarct teh link from , so Link Extractor is not required).

The following diagram describes URL processing and link resolution in detail.