Blog

ServiceNow CMS Development

What is the ServiceNow CMS?

The ServiceNow Content Management System (CMS) is a ServiceNow application that primarily enables users to create a custom interface for the ServiceNow platform and ServiceNow applications. The CMS application is powerful and flexible, so customers have used it for a wide variety of projects from creating entire websites to integrating with other products.

ServiceNow Berlin OOB CMS

Many CMS sites are designed similar to a company's intranet website.  Colors, layouts, and fonts from the company's website are all used to build a CMS site.  Other times a CMS site is built to hold new applications that have a easy layout to use.

How to keep a CMS within budget?

Keeping a ServiceNow CMS project under control comes down to a few important factors:

  1. Scope.  Establish requirements and get sign off before the development begins. 
  2. Know your experience. You can blow the roof off with ServiceNow CMS and build some amazing things.  Only trouble is when the next developer comes along and has to decipher that matrix of pages and iframes.  Think of your staff's abilities and the maintenance of what is built.
  3. Set Deadlines.  Along with scope, setting deadlines on testing and new requirements can help keep the ServiceNow CMS within budget.

Tips for learning CMS Development

Here are some tips for building your first CMS website with ServiceNow.

  1. Build a standard website.  You might not have time to do this, but if possible build a few standard websites on the internet before starting ServiceNow CMS.  I had built at least 15 websites before starting a ServiceNow CMS project. Even a basic site can teach you basic css, html tables, links, and anchor tags.
  2. "Adjust" a sandbox environment.  Go out to a ServiceNow sandbox environment and make all kinds of adjustments to prepare yourself for a first ServiceNow CMS site.
  3. Use a new login id. when you are ready to build your first ServiceNow CMS site in a development instance, use a new login id so that you can easily find items you created.
  4. Create a New Application.  In your ServiceNow Dev instance, create a new application to hold the new CMS site.  Applications are nice if you create a CMS site you dislike. You can delete the application and it will also delete all the CMS items you created.  Nice if you are experimenting with different CMS items.
  5. Copy the OOB Employee Self-Service Site.  Don't adjust the OOB site that comes with a ServiceNow instance.  Click the "Copy Site" button on the site and leave the OOB site alone.  Be aware copying a site takes a while sometimes and also can timeout the screen, but does copy the site.  Copying a site allows you a way out if you create a site you want to delete later.
  6. Use a short site name.  Don't name your new site a long name, like "Mike Awesome Site of 2014".  Keep it simple and short like initials of the company.  The page names have size limits and other issues with long site names.
  7. Learn Login Rules.  Learn login rules and other tricks to manage multiple CMS sites.
  8. Backup your site. Use an update set and backup your site to XML as needed.  You may need to delete the site or go back to previous version and you work through the development process.
  9. Learn how to delete your site.  Deleting a site isn't as simple as deleting the main site.  You have delete all the related pages and records.   You can delete all the CMS files you created by deleting the application you made.  Otherwise using an new login id will help to identify all those records for deletion. Common records created with CMS are:
  • content_block
  • content_block_detail
  • content_block_flash
  • content_block_header
  • content_block_iframe
  • content_block_lists
  • content_block_menu
  • content_block_sized
  • content_block_programmatic
  • content_block_static
  • content_config
  • content_link
  • content_css
  • content_page
  • content_page_meta
  • content_page_rule
  • content_site
  • content_theme
  • content_theme_css
  • content_type
  • menu_item
  • menu_section
  • sys_ui_macro

ServiceNow CMS sites are great and I hope you enjoy building your site.  Look forward to the new CMS design I have seen in the Eureka version of ServiceNow.

Mike