Media Net Link

Creating a Corporate Standard Site

How do you manage a large and complex web site, such as one for a Fortune 500 company? A professional web site has a consistent look and feel, and every page must conform to a standard. Ensuring that every one of those pages adheres to the company standard can be a daunting task, and when those standards change, updating all the pages on the site is even more daunting.

Media Net Link was called in to help manage a sitewide look and feel update of a major Fortune 500 company's site. In just a short period of time, Media Net Link's engineers completed the sitewide update and implemented a system to make future updates simple and easy. How? By using templates to separate the data from the look and feel.

Most dynamic web pages display information, often personalized data, to users in a certain fashion. Usually, these pages are created by scripts that are responsible for generating the data and presenting it to the user. Media Net Link implemented a templating system to separate the data from the presentation, which allowed all the files describing the look and feel of the site to reside in a place separate from the content.

The templating system uses XML (Extensible Markup Language) to encapsulate dynamic data and XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) templates to describe how that data is displayed to the user. Instead of having dynamic pages handle the data generation and display, Media Net Link redesigned them to form data into XML, which is then translated into HTML using the XSL templates.

Thanks to Media Net Link's efforts, sitewide updates to look and feel standards are now being made quickly and effortlessly. Instead of having to edit every single page on the site, designers can simply modify the XSL templates and update the site presentation. Creating new dynamic pages is also made easier; with the data generation separated from the presentation, developers and designers have more freedom to work independently with the knowledge that the templating system will seamlessly merge the two parts together.