When you update content in ExSite, a new revision is created. The
previous revisions remain on file, so that you can roll back to any
previous revision if you choose. The system will track an
unlimited number of revisions, so the system can store the complete
history of every piece of content on your site.
Note that a single page consists of numerous independent pieces of
content. These include your text copy, images, multimedia files,
design graphics, stylesheets, and so on. Every one of these is
handled separately, and will have its own list of revisions.
For each piece of content, there are two special revisions among all the revisions on file. The newest
revision is the most recently added revision (ie. your latest update),
and is what administrators will see in previews. The active
revision is the most recently published revision, and is what regular
website users will see. These
newest and active revisions will often be the same revision, if you
have published recently. All other revisions are simply
archived, but are not otherwise used by the system.
While you are working on revising content, your newest revision and the
active revision are different. The public continues to view the
active revision, while you are making changes. When you are happy
with your changes, and publish them, the newest revision and active
revision become the same, and the public will now see your updates.
Every revision carries a timestamp and comment describing the
changes. With some simplified editing tools (such as My Website
the comment is generated automatically, but with others (such as
) you can customize the comment to include specific
information about your changes. That can make it easier to find a
revision of interest when browsing through the archives.
To see the contents of a specific revision, use the Website Manager
to click into the content object. You will see a list of all the
revisions on file, with dates and comments. Select one to view
its contents. The revision preview shows you a representation of
what is in that revision, in isolation from all other content.
If the content contains HTML, it may not render correctly if:
- it is an incomplete HTML snippet with missing opening or closing tags
- it is affected by the Website Manager's CSS settings
- it includes other CMS tags that are not expanded in the preview
In these cases, it may be more useful to click "View as raw HTML" to see the raw code for the revision.
If you decide that an update should be reversed, you can roll back to
the previous revision. This is equivalent to deleting the newest
Different CMS tools have different ways of executing rollbacks:
- In My Website, the optional functions for each page include a rollback button. This button will roll back the content of the page body.
- In Website Manager you
can roll back any content object, not just the page body. To do
this, click all the way into the content object of interest. You
will see a list of the revisions on file. From the Update menu,
If you rolled back a revision that was published, you should
republish to make sure that the public content accurately reflects the
new revision state.
To undo a rollback, look for the deleted revision in the trash bin, and recover it from there.
If there is an old revision that you want to make use of again, you do
not have to roll back every intervening revision to get back to
it. Instead you can restore the old revision back to the top of
the heap. In the Website Manager
click all the way down to the preview of the revision that you want to
restore. Then from the Revision menu, select "Restore
Revision". This creates a new revision, copied from the
original. It will be flagged as unpublished, even if the original
was published, so you will have to republish to take this revision
live, just as if it were a normal update.
Sometimes you want to see exactly how a piece of content changed
between two particular revisions. To see this, visit your
reference revision in the Website Manager
Then select "View Changes" from the Revision menu. You will be
presented with a list of all the other revisions on file. Select
one of these to compare to. For example, to see the most recent
change, visit the current (top) revision on file, then select "View
changes" and choose the next (2nd) revision in the list.
In the view of changes, old deleted content (content only present in
the earlier revision) is shown in
, with strikeout marks. New
added content (only present in the newer revision) is shown in
underlined. Unchanged content is shown as regular unmarked
text. If the text has changed too much, the Website Manager may
not be able to find much in common between the two revisions, and will
tend to show a rather random selection of deletions and insertions.
Viewing changes always shows the raw HTML code because changes may have occurred in the HTML tags or attributes, not just in the visible
text. If you view changes between non-text revisions (for
example, between two images) you will see the differences in their HTML
representations (eg. in the IMG tags), not in the actual files.
If your archives are growing too long or messy, and you decide you
don't need that much historical information, you can select "Clean up"
from the Revisions menu. This allows you check off which
revisions to discard, and which to keep. By default it selects
for removal any old revisions which were never published. Deleted
revisions are moved to the trash bin.
You can implement a simple workflow system for approving
revisions. Every content manager (or website administrator) has
one of three CMS roles: editor, designer, or administrator.
Editors are allowed to update editorial content, and designers are
allowed to update design content. Only administrators are allowed
to publish content.
Since unpublished content is not shown to regular users, publishing is
equivalent to approving content. To restrict approval of content
to a limited set of content managers, grant the "administrator"
privilege only to those users who should have that power. Regular
editors or designers can then make updates in the CMS without
accidentally taking things live.