How To Select The Best Method To Access Content - Fluid Topics

Category
How To
Audience
public

Business need

Links must provide reliable access to the expected content regardless of the status, end-user, application domain, or content production process. When creating a link, it is necessary to choose the method that best provides this access.

Overview of the solutions

The following methods are available to create a link to Fluid Topics content:

  1. Search results provide a link to a set of documents and topics.
  2. Default URLs provide links to documents and topics using the identifier that Fluid Topics generates automatically when they are first published.
  3. Deep links provide stable links to documents and topics using metadata.
  4. Pretty URLs provide stable and meaningful links to documents and topics. Pretty URLs are automatically generated from Pretty URL templates based on metadata.

Search results

Fluid Topics' powerful search engine provides easy and intuitive access to any content based on keywords and/or filters. Search relevance ensures that the document most closely matching the search criteria is always at the top of the list of results.

Pros

  • Intuitive.
  • Copy a link with a single click.
  • Provide access to multiple results.
  • Robust and stable if the search parameters are used correctly.

Cons

  • The result is an entire set of documents that may include too many documents.
  • Even if the result is a single document, it is not opened automatically.
  • The result depends on existing metadata.

Use Case

Search results are the best way to access content in the following situations:

  • Customer support needs to help an end-user. Providing multiple documents as possible answers to a question gives the end-user multiple options to find an acceptable answer.
  • Training materials can reference entire document sets, providing users with multiple documents to study.
  • As documentation changes, the exact links may change as well. Providing a search result will always display all relevant documents without having to update individual URLs.

Procedure

  1. Create a search query.
  2. Enter keywords in the search field.
  3. Select the appropriate filters/facets.
  4. Select Copy link.
  5. Share the link with the user.

Default URLs

Fluid Topics defines unique URLs for each published book, topic, and unstructured document regardless of whether pretty URLs are defined. This URL depends on a number of parameters, such as the following:

  • The source through which the content is published.
  • The names of the files in the archive.
  • The structure of the archive.

Default URLs are used in a number of places (the address bar, the Share URL button, etc.) if pretty URLs are not defined.

Here is an example of a default URL:

https://my.fluidtopics.net/dummy/r/I9fhdBIl2ZkXokNbaZ8~pg/Gg03cyJcpCGIjbiZ9DzI_w

Pros

  • Fluid Topics automatically creates default URLs without any need for configuration.
  • Default URLs are very easy to access and share with a single click as long as Pretty URLs are not defined.
  • Default URLs are always unique.
  • If a topic is missing or has been removed, the user is redirected via a mapID or the root.

Cons

  • Default URLs do not exist prior to publication.
  • They may change if the document's structure is revisited or if the filename is modified.
  • If pretty URLs are defined, only users with ADMIN or KHUB_ADMIN role can access ID metadata.
  • Although there is a reason behind the URL's structure, it is not possible for end-users to understand it.
  • Default URLs do not indicate anything about the content.
  • They are inefficient from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.

Use case

Default URLs are used for documents that are never updated or in the interim while a Pretty URL template is being created.

Procedure

Default URLs are available for documents, topics, and unstructured documents.

Documents

  1. Open the document.
  2. Select View all metadata.
  3. Find the ID field.

The Default URL for the map is:

<domain>/r/ID/root

Topics

  1. Open the document.
  2. Scroll to the topic.
  3. Select Topic metadata.
  4. Find the Document ID and ToC ID fields.

The Default URL for the topic is:

<domain>/r/Document ID/ToC ID

Unstructured documents

  1. Open the unstructured document.
  2. Select View all metadata.
  3. Find the ID field.

The Default URL for the map is:

<domain>/v/u/ID

Deep links

Overview

Deep links use metadata values to provide access to content. Sometimes, different combinations of metadata link to the same content. To differentiate content, it is possible to use the following types of metadata:

  • CCMS internal ID
  • Map name
  • Version
  • Audience
  • Language
  • Product ID
  • Title
  • etc.

Because the syntax implies access to the metadata, deep links are not intended for public use. If the combination of metadata values link to the same content, Fluid Topics displays the document or topic with the latest publication date.

Deep links use the following structures:

  • Documents:
    https://<domain>/access/sources/SOURCE_ID/map?METADATA=METADATA_VALUE&METADATA=METADATA_VALUE&...
    
  • Topics:
    https://<domain>/access/sources/SOURCE_ID/topic?METADATA=METADATA_VALUE&METADATA=METADATA_VALUE&...
    

The following is an example of a deep link for DITA content:

https://my.fluidtopics.net/acme/access/sources/dita/topic?dita:mapPath=reading_material.ditamap&dita:topicPath=how_to_fix_your_computer.dita 

For more information, see Deep Links.

Pros

  • Very stable if the metadata is carefully selected.
  • Very predictable, allowing deep links to be defined prior to publication.
  • Perfect for use in third-party applications, portal homepage tiles, etc.

Cons

  • Manually creating deep links comes with the following requirements:
  • Access to the content's metadata,
  • Access to the source,
  • The KHUB_ADMIN or ADMIN role,
  • Experience.
  • There is no one-click method to share the link from within the portal.

Use case

Deep links are useful in the following situations:

  • Pretty URLs cannot be used because they have not yet been defined or will change often.
  • Links are based on previous naming standards and practices.
  • For an inline help and self-help portal.

Procedure

Create a deep link to a DITA topic based on the DITA map and topic filename.

  1. Select the required metadata and metadata values.
  2. The document is created using DITA, so the SOURCE_ID is dita (the value of the ID parameter of the source).
  3. The map filename is sample.ditamap, so the dita:mapPath value is sample.ditamap.
  4. The topic's filename is topic1.dita, and the topics are located in a topics subdirectory, so the dita:topicPath value is topics/topic1.dita.
  5. Build the link as follows:
    https://<domain>/access/sources/dita/topic?dita:mapPath=sample.ditamap&dita:topicPath=topics/topic1.dita.
    

Pretty URLs

Overview

Pretty URLs are meaningful links that make it easy to share content. They are either defined within the source document or generated by Fluid Topics based on templates configured by an administrator.

Pros

  • Easy to share with a single click.
  • Very SEO-friendly and predictable because they contain metadata related to the document.
  • Versatile because the URL remains the same even after the content has been modified.
  • Pretty URLs remain stable for "current version" and "latest version".
  • Can be a combination of source-defined and template-based metadata.

Cons

  • It is necessary to select metadata carefully in order to ensure that each Pretty URL points to only one document.
  • Certain situations require complex template structures.

Use case

If a document's title is "Flying Machines", the pretty URL might be /r/Flying-Machines, for example. If the document discusses machines that fly, the SEO bots immediately identify the subject matter of the content by simply parsing the document's pretty URL. If several versions of the "Flying Machines" document exist in the portal, it is important to add metadata restrictions while configuring the pretty URL templates so that each pretty URL is unique: /r/Flying-Machines (latest version) vs r/Flying-Machines-v1.0 (a previous version).

Procedure

Choose whether to create pretty URLs manually within the source content or have Fluid Topics generate them automatically based on templates.

Manual

  1. Open the source document.
  2. Define the appropriate metadata for the source. For more information, see Pretty URLs at a Glance.
  3. Publish the content.

Automatic

  1. In the documentation portal, select the Pretty URL menu item in the Knowledge Hub section of the Administration menu.
  2. In the Pretty URLs for documents section, define a URL template.
  3. Select Add metadata requirement.
  4. Select a value for the requirement, then select Save.
  5. Add as many metadata requirements and templates as necessary.
  6. Select Save.

When using the automatic generation method, keep in mind that template order matters. Fluid Topics applies the templates from the top to the bottom. For more information on Pretty URL template creation, see Configure Automatic Pretty URL Generation.