dotCMS 2.3 : Responsive Design, Theme Library and new Developer Tooling

May 06, 2013

Miami, Florida | Boston, Massachusetts – May 7, 2013 – dotCMS, an open source, Java-based content management system, is proud to announce the release of v2.3 – which continues to add features that address real world challenges faced by content managers, web developers and java developers in the modern enterprise.  

For business users, dotCMS 2.3 provides a WYSIWYG Template Designer that can be used to visually layout and preview responsive pages in a variety of mobile devices. 2.3 also provides a Content Time Machine, which gives users a way to browse snapshots of their sites as they looked in the past, or how they will look in the future.

For web developers, dotCMS 2.3 introduces the idea of themes that use responsive design.  Themes are modular, shareable skins that provide a consistent, responsive look and feel for all visitors.  In building themes, web developers are not locked into a specific framework and are free to work with their preferred CSS/JS libraries.   Additionally will host a Theme Library where users can download, contribute and share themes developed for the system.   To help users get started, dotCMS 2.3 provides sample themes for (Twitter’s) Bootstrap, Foundation and YAML responsive frameworks.

dotCMS 2.3 also introduces a plugin that offers runtime support for Sass css compilation ( Web developers can modify css and sass code in the sytem and the dotCMS plugin will automatically compile it and serve the compiled version - allowing for rapid web development iteration.

For Java developers, dotCMS 2.3 continues to strengthen its position as an open source content platform for rapid Java web development.  In dotCMS 2.3, a developer can now hot-deploy entire web application frameworks such as Wicket and Spring Web Flow within dotCMS.   Developers can also hot-deploy new portlets, admin tools, rewrite rules and scheduled jobs all without a server restart.

“It is essential for todays’ sites to work seamlessly across every PC, tablet and smartphone without having to design a separate “channel”, site or application for each device,” said Will Ezell, CTO of dotCMS.  “With 2.3 and the introduction of Responsive themes, dotCMS now provides a simple, powerful tool to rapidly build content rich sites that work on all devices and is still flexible enough to support any responsive css frameworks, now and moving forward”.

For a complete list of features, improvements and changes, see the change log available on dotCMS’s site.

Overview of Changes

Themes and Responsive Design

  • Themes provide a portable, sharable way to apply a common look and feel across a site or sites.

  • dotCMS has standardized our starter site to leverage theme based layout on Twitter’s Bootstrap for responsive design.

  • Out of the box, dotCMS ships with 2 responsive, Bootstrap based themes.

  • Themes can be shared within a host and across hosts.

  • Themes are not tied to any CSS or JS Framework.  Users can write themes that use any available HTML Frameworks.


Template Builder/Designer

  • Allows basic users the ability to create dotCMS templates without any knowledge of HTML code.

  • The Template Builder/Designer is used in conjunction with themes.

  • You can use existing themes, create your own theme, or download a third party theme to create a new design template.


Automatic Link Checker

  • The new Link Checker workflow automatically checks links in WYSIWYG content before saving it, to avoid external link errors.

  • Also, there is a new portlet called Broken Links that can run an external link check on all content structures and creates a report of all broken links.

  • This process can be scheduled using a cron expression, which then sends an email with the link errors found to the content editors.


Time Machine / Static Snapshot

  • Time Machine allows a user to browse a snapshot of how a site has looked historically or will look in the future, based on publish and expire dates.

  • The Time Machine also allows a user to take a snapshot, or static copy, of selected hosts and save it as a "bundle" in dotCMS.

  • This bundle can then be used to run a static copy of your sites on a non-dotCMS web server.

  • Multiple snapshots can be taken for any dotCMS managed host.


Scheduled Publishing

  • Users can assign Publish dates and Expire dates to content structures which would automatically publish or expire content based on those dates.


Dynamic Deployment of Portlets (OSGi)

  • Further expansion and customization of the admin portlets -- allowing developers to hot deploy without a server restart.


New Navigation Tool

  • dotCMS ships with a performance friendly way to develop custom menus, crumbtrails and sitemaps with your own HTML and styles.

  • This tool will build a navigation given a path and return a list of items.  


Wiki Tool

  • Users can now easily, reuse wiki content from TWiki, Media, Confluence, etc.

BETA - Remote Publishing

  • 2.3 introduces a new Remote Publishing framework which will enable remote publishing with an easy to use interface.  Users will be able to publish content, pages and even whole sites to one or more dotCMS server or dotCMS clusters that can be geographically distributed. This beta functionality will be supported for Enterprise customers in the 2.3 version and will be finalized in the next dotCMS release. 

About dotCMS

dotCMS is a content management system that helps global enterprises with multiple brands, subsidiaries, and franchises manage, optimize, and scale content across languages and channels.  Brands such as Dairy Queen, Newell, Firstmac, Telus, and Comcast have chosen dotCMS for its unique ability to manage thousands of sites and consolidate multiple CMSs onto a single, unified instance of dotCMS to streamline content management across teams while saving money on platform costs.

dotCMS’ universal approach to content management also means that companies have the choice to deliver content traditionally or headlessly. Headless developers can work within the front-end framework of choice while still providing marketers with visual editing tools so they can go to market with their business-critical content and decrease their dependency on technical teams.