Tridion has two main methods for publishing information to websites:
Both publishing strategies have already been explained in previous posts. However the fundamental differences between both strategies deserves some additional attention.
Publishing chunks of content (dynamic)
In tridion chunks of content are called component presentations. For this publishing strategy the Tridion rendering tree is traversed until step 4. The result of the rendering is a chunk of XHTML/XML/plain text/ etc. which is subsequently published to the broker DB on the presentation server.
On the presentation server the broker DB will be queried by a website based on ASP, ASP .NET or Java which will use the pre rendered content to create a fully rendered page for the visitors.
Publishing whole pages (static)
In this publishing strategy the full Tridion rendering tree is executed. The result of which can be a file of any type, but usually has one of the following extensions: ASP, JSP, HTML, CSS, XML etc. To get the required results you will need to implement both Component Templates and Page Templates.
Which one to choose?
I recommend the dynamic approach. The static model is quickly becoming obsolete in an era of monthly website updates and personalization at the top of everybody’s wish list.
A good illustration of why the static model is useless is an update we recently made to the navigation and layout of a website based on the static model (and NO it was not created by me or one of my colleagues). When you make changes to the templating in the static model in Tridion you will need to re-render all of the pages which make use of these templates. In this particular case there were over 2500 pages in the top publication which was blueprinted over 10 times and each blueprint contained an average of 500 local pages.
I needed to explain to the client on several occasions that the go-live was a ‘process’ which would take the better part of 3 days and three nights. The re-rendering of 30K pages would take approximately 60 hours. During this period the website would slowly go from the old look and feel to the new.
Feel free to share your views on this subject in the comments …