Wednesday, March 7, 2012

UGC - User Generated Content - Part 1

A few months ago I was named UGC SME thus I had to prepare a presentation to be given to my colleagues at SDL WCM as part of a bootcamp. I had just two or three days to prepare it all (myself + UGC working environment + presentation), despite two/three days is a short time to prepare a matter that I hadn't even heard of, it was actually enough.

I got much help from Daniel (Romania) who is part of the Content Delivery team in R&D, without him likely I wouldn't be writing these lines. Daniel, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you for your support and understanding.

Last week in a great 2012 kickoff/bootcamp in Orlando I intended to expand the work I did around UGC together with another two colleagues, Taras (Ukraine) and Fredy (USA). We tried to get to work a SpamFilter with no luck, you might be wondering what a SpamFilter is, be water my friend. Did you realise how international our team is?

In this post I will explain the following:
  • What is UGC
  • What can we do with UGC and where can be found in the CME
  • UGC History in SDL WCM
  • Where you can find documentation
In my next post I will write about the following:
  • UGC Architecture in SDL WCM
  • Installation on Content Manager and Content Delivery
  • Security - WhiteList and SpamFilter
  • Creating a SpamFilter, getting a fully working .NET solution.

What is UGC

As you can see in the title of this post UGC stands for User Generated Content, so the first questions I asked myself during the gathering information phase for the presentation were, where can I find user generated content? how often is it used? do I actually use that "thing"? will companies be keen with the fact that their clients or users (clients anyways) will be generating content more or less freely?

Let's address those questions one at a time...

Where can I find user generated content? Everywhere... absolutely everywhere, do the websites below look familiar?


How often is it used? did you already guess it? Many millions of people use it every day.

Do I actually use that "thing"? Well, I use it everyday and you surely do too.

Will companies be keen with the fact that their clients or users (clients anyways) will be generating content more or less freely? Sooner or later in one way or other, the truth is that most companies will have UGC on their websites.

What can we do with UGC and where is found in the CME

I will let some screenshots speak for me...

This is the new and shiny dashboard

This is the new UGC item in the navigation tree

In every page and component there are two new tabs: comments and ratings

Let's have a look at what the three different operations that a visitor could do: add a comment, like or dislike a comment and rate a component or page.

Adding a comment
 Like or disliking a comment

Rating a comment or a page 
 When the visitor add a comment a cookie is created to identify him. If he comeback to the same page/component he will be identified as the author of the comment and thus given permission to remove and edit the comment.

UGC History in SDL WCM

It was first released as part of 2011 GA.

With the 2011 SP1 release Content Manager wise the main change is the awesome dashboard. Content Delivery wise the SpamFilter was the only new feature.

Where can you find documentation?

It is only available in SDL Live Content 2011 SP1, I think that this documentation provides great detail about UGC installation and configuration.

In order to implement UGC you need to add some markup into your DWT TBBs, this syntax is not yet documented at all.


  1. Nice post! Looking forward to part 2. I was looking out for more hands on information about UGC

  2. Thanks a lot! As far as I know there isn't any "real" implementation using UGC yet, but at some point there will some be for sure.

    From my point of view the most interesting part of my next UGC post will be the architecture overview and of course a fully working example of a SpamFilter. Hopefully I'll get this post out in the next couple of weeks...

  3. Good article Asier! I've implemented UGC and the moderators part it's not properly working :-(. We keep receiving an error when trying to change the status for a comment. Have you got UGC up and running correctly? ¿Sabes algún truco o configuración que debamos aplicar? No soy capaz de hacerlo funcionar ni siquiera con la ayuda de Support!!!
    Gracias! Emma

  4. Hola Emma,

    Describeme paso a paso lo que estas haciendo y puedo intentar reproducirlo en mi entorno.

    Un saludo!

  5. Hi Asier,

    Thanks for sharing this nice overview. I am also looking forward to part 2. When do you think it will be ready?

    Kind regards,

  6. Hi Asier,

    Nice article :)

    Can you share piece of code to access rating of one the component in C# TBB or any reference ?


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