While walking, I started listening to Jeff Eaton’s
Insert Content Here podcast, episode 25:
Noz Urbina Explains Adaptive Content. People must’ve looked strangely at me because I was smiling and nodding — still walking :) Thanks Jeff & Noz!
Jeff Eaton explained how the web world looks at and defines the term WYSIWYG. Turns out that in the semi-structured, non-web world that Noz comes from, WYSIWYG has a totally different interpretation. And they ended renaming it to what it really was: WYSIWOO.
Jeff also asked Noz what “adaptive content” is exactly. Adaptive content is a more specialized/advanced form of structured content, and in fact “structured content”, “intelligent content” and “adaptive content” form a hierarchy:
- structured content
- intelligent content
- adaptive content
- intelligent content
In other words, adaptive content is also intelligent and structured; intelligent content is also structured, but not all structured content is also intelligent or adaptive, nor is all intelligent content also adaptive.
Basically, intelligent content better captures the precise semantics (e.g. not a section, but a product description). Adaptive content is about using those semantics, plus additional metadata (“hints”) that content editors specify, to adapt the content to the context it is being viewed in. E.g. different messaging for authenticated versus anonymous users, or different nuances depending on how the visitor ended up on the current page (in other words: personalization).
Noz gave an excellent example of how adaptive content can be put to good use: he described how we he had arrived in Utrecht in the Netherlands after a long flight, “checked in” to Utrecht on Facebook, and then Facebook suggested to him 3 open restaurants, including cuisine type and walking distance relative to his current position. He felt like thanking Facebook for these ads — which obviously is a rare thing, to be grateful for ads!
Finally, a wonderful quote from Noz Urbina that captures the essence of content modeling:
How descriptive do we make it without making it restrictive?
If it isn’t clear by now — go listen to that podcast! It’s well worth the 38 minutes of listening. I only captured a few of the interesting points, to get more people interested and excited.1
What about adaptive & intelligent content in Drupal 8?
First, see my closely related article
Drupal 8: best authoring experience for structured content?.
Second, while listening, I thought of many ways that Drupal 8 is well-prepared for intelligent & adaptive content. (Drupal already does structured content by means of Field API and the HTML tag restrictions in the body field.) Implementing intelligent & adaptive will surely require experimentation, and different sites/use cases will prefer different solutions, but:
intelligent_contentmodule for Drupal 8: allow site builders/content strategists to define custom HTML tags (e.g.
<product_description>) to capture site-specific semantics. A CKEditor Widget could hugely simplify the authoring experience for creating intelligent content, by showing a specific HTML representation while editing (WYSIWOO!), thanks to HTML (Twig) templates associated with those custom HTML tags.
adaptive_contentmodule for Drupal 8: a text filter that allows any tag to be wrapped in a
<adaptive_content>tag, which specifies the context in which the wrapped content should be shown/hidden.
- The latter leads to cacheability problems, because the same content may be rendered in a multitude of different ways, but thanks to cache contexts in Drupal 8 and the fact that text filters can specify cache contexts means adaptive content that is still cacheable is perfectly possible. (This is in fact exactly what it was intended for!) cache contexts
I think that those two modules would be very interesting, useful additions to the Drupal ecosystem. If you are working on this, please let me know — I would love to help!
That’s right, this is basically voluntary marketing for Jeff Eaton — you’re welcome, Jeff! ↩︎