Reason 101

What is Reason?

Reason is a web content management system — a tool for managing web sites using your web browser.

What is content management? How is it different from creating web pages by hand?

  • Don't need to know anything about web servers, file transfer, directory structures, etc.
  • Focus is on editing and formatting content rather than troubleshooting html
  • Content is reusable
  • Many things are taken care of for you:
    • Navigation
    • Institutional styles
    • Accessibility
    • Correctly formed web code

What are the organizing principles of Reason?

  1. Carleton's web presence is broken up into multiple sites; each site has its own contents. A site, then, is like a basket.
  2. Within each site, there are several kinds of items you can manage. These are like the contents of the basket. Depending on the site, these may include:
    • Pages
    • Images
    • News Items/Posts
    • Events
    • Assets (e.g. documents)
    • Forms
    • …and more!
  3. It is possible to share items between sites if needed.
  4. Pages are a special kind of item — they provide the structure of the site, and are the most commonly used items in Reason. The rest of this lesson will focus on how pages work in Reason.

How do you edit a Reason page?

  • Log in at
  • If you have access to multiple Reason sites you will see a page that looks like this.
    Reason Welcome Page
    Choose the site you would like to work on from the menu on the left side of the page. For today's lesson, choose "Reason Training"

  • If you only have access to a single site, you will skip this welcome page and go directly to that site's management page.

The site page:

  • The initial page you see when you choose a site looks like this:
    Reason Site Management Page
  • The Add/Edit menu links to different kinds of resources that you can manage: pages, images, blurbs, assets. This may vary depending on how your site is set up.
  • The "Go to Public Site" link shows you what your site looks like; keep open in a separate window or tab.
  • The Sites Dropdown menu provides access to other sites you manage

Editing a page

  • Choose Pages from the Add/Edit menu.
  • You should now see the a page the lets you manage the pages on the site. It looks like this:
    Reason Page Management (Add/Edit Pages)
  • What is on this page?
    • Hierarchical view of all existing pages
    • Use the Filters to quickly find pages in a large site
    • Add Page creates a new page at the top level
    • Functions on existing pages:
      • Add Child creates a new page below an existing page
      • Edit allows you to modify the content of a page
      • Preview shows summary information (not used much)
    • Current/Deleted/Pending pages
  • Choose Add Page or Edit. You should now see a form that looks like this:
    Reason Page Editing Form
    • What is on this page?
      • Both content and metadata
      • What is metadata and why to we need it?
        • Provides different ways of finding and categorizing web content
        • Makes searching work better
        • Makes reusing content easier
    • Content parts:
      • Title
        • The full title of the page
      • Content
        • The main content of the page.
        • The page may contain other information, depending on the Type of Page.
        • See below for more information about content formatting.
      • Type of page
        • Determines how page is laid out and what is on the page
        • There are examples of each of the different layouts on the training site.
      • Metadata used for navigation:
        • Link Name
          • Used in the navigation of the site; usually shorter than the full page title
        • Description
          • Used by Google and other searches; also used in some other cases as a "teaser" for the page
        • Parent Page
          • Determines the page's position in the hierarchy of the site
        • Page URL Name
          • Used to assemble the full address people use to access the page
          • This page is located at
          • The Page URL Name of this page is "101"
          • The parent's Page URL Name is "training", and so on.
        • Show this page in navigation
          • "yes" means it will show up on the left-side navigation bar
          • "no" means it will not show up on the left-side navigation bar, but it may still be linked to in other manual or automatic ways.
      • Metadata used for searching and managing content
        • Author
          • Who actually wrote the content of this page? If it's someone other than you, enter their name. If it's you, enter your name. If you don't know, don't enter anything.
        • Keywords
          • Used by search engines to understand the content of the page. Enter the main concepts of the page and variants on those words that you think people might search for when they want to find the page.
        • State
          • Pending means that the page won't be linked, but you can still view it
          • Live means that it shows up in the navigation and anyone can find it.
      • Using the controls in the Content window
        • Requires Mozilla/Firefox (Mac/PC/Linux) or IE (PC only)
        • In most cases, first select the text you want to work on, then click on the button you want to use.
        • Looks like this:
          Reason Text Formatting Area
        • Text formatting controls:
          • Bold/Strong Button Bold
          • Italic/Emphasis Button Italic
          • Heading Button Headline
          • Line Break/Carriage Return Button Line Break
          • Horizontal Rule Button Horizontal rule
          • Alignment Buttons Text alignment (Left, Center, Right)
          • Numbered and Bulleted List Buttons Numbered and Bulleted lists
          • Indent and Outdent Buttons Indent and Unindent
        • Other controls
          • Insert Image Button Insert Image
          • Insert Link Button Insert Link
          • Insert Anchor Button Insert Anchor
          • Insert Email Link Button Insert Email link
          • Insert Link to Asset Button Insert link to asset
          • Spellcheck Button Check spelling
    • Page Saving Options
      • Reason's workflow acts like this: Edit -> Associate -> Finish
      • Links on the left show current point in workflow
      • Use the buttons at the bottom to save changes and move to next step
      • To see the effects of your changes, save the page (using Save and Continue Editing) and then click "Preview" to see this:
        Reason Page Preview

Things to think about before starting to build your site

  • What pages do you want to have, and how do they relate to each other?
  • What other content (images, files, etc) do you want to include?