This is the first in a series of recommended practices, covering Templates and _Standard Values. These recommended practices have been gathered from performing Sitecore solution reviews in the field, reviewing reviews that other Sitecore professionals have performed, Sitecore documentation, as well as information gathered from various blogs regarding the subject.
I encourage people to comment, so that this series of recommended practices will stay dynamic and current.
Templates and _Standard Values
- Naming conventions – When naming templates, fields, and sections use simple, relevant, and easy to understand names. By default, Sitecore displays the names you provided to both technical and non-technical users. Choose names that business users, such as content authors, will easily recognize and understand. Folder structure – Provide a folder structure to classify by web site, site section, section content, function, etc. This will make for easier navigation and finding of a given template.
- Good use of inheritance – Commonly used sections and fields should be placed in their own template, so that more specific templates can inherit them. For example, the fields page title and page text are used in multiple different content templates. Rather than duplicate theses fields in each content template, simply inherit the page title and text template.
- Avoid duplicating field names. Even though sections separate fields, do not reuse a field name within the same template. Be careful of not have two fields with the same name in the inheritance chain either. If you really need two fields with the same apparent name in the Content Editor in different sections, use the Title field of the field definition item. Whenever this field is set it is used by the Content Editor instead of the name.
- Assign icons to templates – Provides a visual clue to the type of item that will be created.
- _Standard Values – Define layout details, initial workflow, and insert options to a template. This will reduce administration and centrally manage system settings, rather than setting them on individual items.
- _Standard Values – Provide default values using tokens that are meaningful and provided clues to business users, such as content authors, as to what information is expected in a given field.
- _Standard Values – Use tokens, such as $name, to reduce the amount of text that a content author is required to enter when creating a new item.
- Image Fields – Define the source field to show the point in the media library that is relevant to the item being created.
- Rich Text Editor Fields – Set the source property to a profile (found in the core database under /sitecore/system/Settings/Html Editor Profiles) that only shows the controls you want to make available to your business users.
- Do not override, or delete any templates located under /Sitecore/Templates/System.
- Use the Help option in the individual field definition items to provide extra information to users about fields. Also consider using the “Title” field of the definition item to present to the user a different name for the field.
- Remember that the name of your templates will appear as the insert options. Try to use something meaningful to the users. Use the Display Name to provide a different text to the user to the name of the template.