dotCMS is a Content based CMS - not a page based CMS. This is a powerful and important concept. Content in dotCMS does not live on ANY HMTL page. Rather, when you add or edit content in dotCMS, it is stored in a central content repository and merely linked to HTML Pages that call upon the content to display as the front end page is rendered. This allows for content in dotCMS to be reused across different pages, sites and delivery channels such as XML or RSS feeds. When rendering a page in dotCMS all of the moving parts of the page are put together, like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, instantaneously as the page is visited. Here is an example diagram of the way that all the pieces are chain-linked together.
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In dotCMS, content is added to fields whose permissions and formatting are controlled by Structures. Much like form fields on an HTML page, Structure fields accept only certain types of data in each field.
Content is added and organized in the dotCMS through the use of content Structures. Each Structure is used to form pieces of Content. Each piece of Content that is made through the use of a particular content Structure belongs to the same Content type. Think of the content Structure as a form. Once that form is filled out and saved, the information in it makes up a piece of content. All pieces of Content made with the same form are of the same Content type. Depending on the specific details of a Content Structure, fields can range from text entry fields, to drop down list selections. The dotCMS developer can also assign "required" status to certain or all fields.
Within a piece of Content, information is broken down into various fields. For example, the "Title" field is separate from the "Body" field and can be displayed independently of each other. This way, one piece of Content can be used in multiple locations by displaying different fields in each location. The fields in each structured piece of Content are completely customizable and determined by a dotCMS developer in conjunction with dotCMS Administrators within your organization.
It is important to remember that Content in the dotCMS does not live on html pages or in files or templates. In the dotCMS, Content in the dotCMS lives in a Content repository - a database that can be searched for and reused as needed across your web site or even across different websites that are maintained by the same dotCMS installation.
The following documentation illustrates how to create, edit, and manage Content using the dotCMS.