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Open Source Digital Asset Management With TYPO3 CMS

Thanks to Jam from OSP for sharing!

Managing digital assets in a CMS can be challenging. But with TYPO3, an extensible, open source, enterprise-grade CMS platform, you can integrate managing, sharing, and using images, video, and other digital assets right into your existing workflows and processes.

This article was written with contributions from Fabian Stein from GmbH in Karlsruhe, Florian Maier of the b13 agency in Stuttgart and Ekkehard Gümbel, Managing Director at Bitmotion GmbH.

What is digital asset management (DAM)?

Digital asset management (DAM) means the processes and tools needed to organize media and files for one or more websites. The media and file types might include images, audio and video, PDFs, and so on. For example, Airbus uses TYPO3 to manage a digital media gallery of thousands of assets to illustrate communications about the quality of their products and services.

If you want to be able to effectively enable store, index, categorize, retrieve, and publish or distribute digital media assets, you need some kind of Digital Asset Management. DAM software should include some way to manage metadata, taxonomies, tagging, and search functionalities to make content assets easy to find and reuse. It should also offer capabilities around data control and protection, letting users make the most of their digital content while protecting copyright and license holders’ rights.

An example of a DAM service is Bynder which companies can use as a brand portal or media library. This can help maintain a consistent brand identity with channel partners or help staff with creative content production that meets quality requirements. They sponsored and gave a talk at TYPO3 Camp Venlo. Watch the video about DAM with TYPO3 + Bynder from about 3 hr 23 mins below.

Tip: There is also a TYPO3 Bynder extension available.

The business value of open source DAM

Digital asset management in TYPO3 CMS streamlines integrating, managing, manipulating and publishing assets like images. The entire process, from managing data sources to distribution, is all in one place. This makes developing and maintaining websites easier for web developers, content authors, and designers.

For site owners and businesses, digital asset management helps create an intuitive, streamlined hierarchy of digital media, making it easier to access files of all types, sizes, and extensions. It also enables more efficient cooperation between creative and business teams when your DAM solution provides a unified set of storage repositories and metadata capabilities supporting file retrieval.

TYPO3 CMS offers excellent and mature support for massive multisite installations. Integrating DAM workflows into an installation powering dozens or hundreds of sites lets you control asset sharing and use throughout, keeping subsites on brand, while allowing local editors and admins to customize elements where necessary.

TYPO3 DAM out-of-the-box

TYPO3 CMS offers a number of out-of-the-box features for a great DAM solution. It supports image management and manipulation; upload an image once and reuse it and its variants for every device and display situation.

TYPO3 offers tools for file management such as scheduling publishing and unpublishing; federating content across multi-site installations; permission handling; distribution models; search functionality; and a file abstraction layer.

Tip from the version 9 FAL API documentation: Although FAL is part of the TYPO3 CMS Core, there is a system extension called "filemetadata", which is not installed by default. It extends the "sys_file_metadata" table with fields such as copyright notice, author name, location, etc.

Extending TYPO3’s DAM features with external data sources

One of TYPO3’s main strengths is that it is widely adopted open source software. If the TYPO3 core doesn’t do what you need, there are multitudes of extensions to add functionality. And TYPO3 CMS is backed by a large community of service providers who can customize and extend the system to meet your needs even further.  

TYPO3 CMS’s core file module isn’t optimized for dealing with very large files. For example if you run to this issue, you can integrate services like Nextcloud into TYPO3 to make managing these large files easier. Anytime you have big files or need to reuse assets multiple times, integrating storage services with open APIs can be a big help. Nextcloud is an open source, self-hosted file share and communication platform.

That’s where a key weapon in TYPO3’s DAM arsenal comes into its own: The File Abstraction Layer (FAL). FAL is available through version 8, and it became a file abstraction layer API in version 9 onwards. Because FAL is an extensible system, you can use it to connect any online data source to your TYPO3 installation. Read more about FAL Adapters. Alternative data sources could be a Google Drive directory, Owncloud, Nextcloud, Amazon S3 bucket, Dropbox, and much more. Your website treats them all as part of its local file system, making it possible to use them for storage, collaboration, and manipulation of assets in your overall DAM scheme.

Metadata about media files helps search for and identify the files you need. The TYPO3 extension called Extractor - Metadata and content analysis service will detect and extract metadata about your files. You can get metadata from thousands of different files types and bring that data into TYPO3 natively when files are uploaded. Metadata, such as EXIF or IPTC information from images, or XMP information from images or PDFs, identifies properties of a file to make it easy to categorize and search files.

Streamline your DAM processes with TYPO3

TYPO3 offers powerful DAM tools out of the box. Because TYPO3 is open source, if it only covers 80% of your needs out-of-the-box, you can customize it to get the remaining 20% done.

Feeling excited about the possibilities for asset management in TYPO3? Want some help getting it all set up? Contact TYPO3 GmbH team now to discuss your project needs. They will help connect you with a qualified and experienced TYPO3 GmbH official partner today.

Need help with Digital Asset Management? Contact TYPO3 GmbH.

Further reading and resources

Here are some resources to learn more about implementing digital asset management in the open source TYPO3 CMS.

Existing and potential FAL Adapters for connecting to remote file systems (TYPO3Wiki)