Designing Architecture for Cross Site Publishing

Office 365 Cross site publishing has been rapidly becoming popular in enterprises. I got opportunities to architect cross site publishing, which inherently implements Search Driven Architecture, for many enterprise clients in Banking, Insurance and Healthcare domains. There are several attributes/artefacts I found common when designing architecture for them. Here is the list artefacts/attributes/high level use cases to be considered when designing cross site publishing portal:

  1. Findability: Decision on what type of findability fits the given requirements should be made at early stage. It could be like eBay or Google. Based on what is decided here other artefacts are added to system.
  2. Site hierarchy: Plan authoring site hierarchy very carefully. Analysing and architecting this properly will prevent creating 100s of catalog connection on the publishing site.
  3. Content types: design inheritance and permission model based on sites and sub-sites.
  4. Site assets: Chris O'Brien has written a series of articles on this topic. Managing site assets is very important when Publishing sites are accessible over the internet.
  5. Terms and term sets for tagging content in order to achieve personalization and other purposes such as filtering on publishing site.
  6. Managed navigation: Design Global and Local navigation in the taxonomy in such a way that client side JS code should be able to query it efficiently (this optimizes performance if OOB navigation doesn’t suffice the UI requirements).
  7. Content search web part is very powerful component (though I am expecting few more features in next releases); take utmost advantages of its all features.
  8. Personalization: Custom Preference based personalization is often expected by most of the clients. Again CSWP provides several ways to render personalize content.
  9. Performance and Scalability: Office 365 does not allow server side code. Portal designers need to have performance and scalability strategy in place from day one. Take a look at custom distributed caching solution here.
  10. Localization: This is not as straight as in on premise environment. Office 365 web parts hardly provide multi-lingual UI out of the box.
  11. Governance: Content Approval, archival plays an important role when defining governance.
  12. Audience targeting: Content tagging on the authoring site is significant here.
  13. Content type hub: this becomes little complex in a multi-tenant environment.
  14. Deployment: another super important attribute when designing architecture for cross site publishing. I found portals failing in integration testing if deployment strategy isn’t in place.

This is a very short-note for artefacts/use cases listed here; there are many parameters which drive the design and implementation decisions.