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Amplience Hierarchies: Empowering Modern Content Management

Sculpting Digital Experiences with Amplience Hierarchies
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  • Introduction

    As a developer, you’re well aware of the constant evolution of digital experiences and the demand for versatile content delivery across a wide array of channels and devices. In this digital landscape, traditional management systems often fall short. That’s where Amplience, a powerful headless content management system, comes into play. Amplience takes the headless CMS concept to the next level, offering developers a set of powerful tools and features tailored to the demands of modern digital experiences. One of its key features is 'Hierarchies,' which provides an efficient content management solution and opens up an improved approach for handling content tree-based scenarios.

    Hierarchies: What is it?

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    One way we can use Amplience Hierarchies is to address the common issue of time-consuming content navigation. Content managers often find themselves clicking through multiple content levels without context, which hinders productivity. Hierarchies offer a solution by organizing nested content into hierarchical trees, providing a comprehensive view that simplifies content management and saves time. Now, content managers can easily browse, select, and implement changes without unnecessary navigation hassles.

    Hierarchies introduce a new approach to connecting content items. These hierarchies consist of regular content items that are interconnected. The key distinction is that within a hierarchy, each content item maintains a relationship with its parent. To easily traverse the tree and find the children of each node, Amplience introduced a new API called the filter API where the contents of the hierarchy are retrieved just by using parent IDs.

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    To leverage hierarchies for the benefit of developers and business users, the initial step involves asking the right questions. What content types are to be assigned the hierarchies trait, and what are the valid child content types?

    Working with Hierarchies

    Amplience Hierarchies prove invaluable for numerous use cases, with one of the most common applications being site navigation and page structures for websites.

    In our previous project, we created two major Hierarchical content types: one for (1) managing the website’s content pages and another for (2) managing the layout of the website's header mega menu. This approach allows for a more modular and organized development process, where page content and the layout of the mega menu are handled separately, making the project easier to maintain and update.

    Here’s a sample structure illustrating our implementation of hierarchies, which is designed to manage the creation of the site's content pages. Each node in this structure corresponds to a specific website page, defining the URL slug and the required content slots for that page.

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    As for the mega menu layout, we assigned each node to represent an individual category in the header where the contents for each column in the mega menu are defined.

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    Hierarchies Watchpoints

    When dealing with hierarchies, it's essential to exercise caution when dealing with a large number of nested nodes in the tree. As previously mentioned, traversing the tree involves using the Amplience filter API, which necessitates sending a request to the filter endpoint for each parent node. This can result in an excessive number of API requests.

    Additionally, when there are numerous child nodes, it's important to note that the filter endpoint can only handle a maximum of 12 items per request. Therefore, if the number of child nodes exceeds this limit, it becomes necessary to make recursive API calls to retrieve all the required data.

    Furthermore, it's essential to consider the impact of hierarchical structures on your website's performance. While hierarchies offer tremendous advantages in content management, they can also introduce complexities. A large number of nested nodes or excessive API requests can strain your website's resources, affecting its speed and responsiveness. Prioritizing efficient coding practices and optimizing your queries can mitigate these challenges. By carefully balancing the benefits of hierarchies with performance considerations, you can ensure a seamless user experience.

    Final Thoughts

    The method we implemented above is the one we found to be best for our project and might not be compatible with yours. To harness the full potential of Amplience Hierarchies, it's crucial to have an efficient strategy in place. Start by clearly defining the hierarchy structure that aligns with your content management needs. Consider how your content is organized and which parts benefit most from the hierarchical approach. Identify the key content types and categories that should be part of the hierarchy. As you build your hierarchies, ensure that your team is well-versed in the management tools provided by Amplience. Training and documentation can go a long way in making the most of this powerful feature. Keep in mind that Hierarchies aren't a one-size-fits-all solution; they should be tailored to your specific content and project requirements. By approaching your hierarchies with a well-thought-out strategy, you can streamline your content management, improve productivity, and provide a better user experience.

    If you’re eager to begin working with hierarchies and explore updates to Amplience’s filter API, detailed documentation on Hierarchies is available on their site, complete with further information and illustrative examples.

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