Implementing Large University Sites in Cascade Server CMS by Greg Polit

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This session will cover tools, techniques and lessons learned in developing very large university websites, using Indiana University’s Academic Bulletins project as one example. IU’s Cascade Server based academic bulletins contain over 20,000 course descriptions and nearly 10,000 pages of content. Business process for bulletin updates used to involve 1,000 page printouts with hand written comments being sent via campus mail, which was very time intensive and error prone. Now all the workflow is accounted for in the WCMS. Join us as Greg discusses how to create one master content repository that can be displayed on multiple sites in their respective templates and outputs (Web, Mobile, HTML e-mail, Mobile e-mail, text e-mail, print, PDF).

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  • http://www.iu.edu/~uirr/reports/standard/factbook/
  • Printed versions of the bulletin were being sent campus mail, corrections were done on paper and sent back to the bulletin editor who worked with a designer to incorporate them via a desktop publishing tool. This was an iterative process. Once all the revisions were made file was sent to a commercial printer which produced the final print publication. Web version is a copy/paste. Needs to be “programmed”. Content errors were often introduced.
  • Most of the time a simple permissions based system is used without complex workflows. Publishing to a test site is often used as a review step.
  • We work closely with SES 2,000 item limit on indexes
  • Phase two will include regional campuses and other schools, departments and units
  • Implementing Large University Sites in Cascade Server CMS by Greg Polit

    1. 1. Tools and Techniques for Implementing Large University Web Sites Greg Polit Director, Informational and Emerging Technologies IU Communications e-mail: gpolit@iu.edu September 17, 2012
    2. 2. About Indiana University • Eight campuses ( seven administered by IU ) • 110,000+ students • 19,000+ employees • $3+ billion annual operating budgetHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    3. 3. About IU Communications • Mission: Communicate the tradition of excellence and future promise of Indiana University • Includes an internal fee for service add agency ( project management, creative, Web development ) • 100+ staff, 20 in our Informational and Emerging Technologies team • Offices on two core campusesHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    4. 4. About IU Communications • Partner with central IT on Marketing & Communications systems and services including: – Web Content Management – Digital Asset Management – Digital Signage – Constituent Relations Management System – Tablet Publications PlatformHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    5. 5. CascadeServer @ IU • CascadeServer selected as IU’s WCMS through RFP in 2008 • Converting University Academic Bulletin’s from print to WCMS version was one of the pilot projects • In 2010 the first all IUPUI Campus Bulletin launched ( 20+ schools, IUPUC )Hannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    6. 6. Web Sites Created by IU Communications • Dozens of large Web site implementations with original design and unique backend functionality • Many awards including two Webby Awards for School of Informatics and ComputingHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    7. 7. Original Print Bulletin Workflow Up until recently we continued to follow a workflow that hasn’t changed in over 100 years • Print Bulletin – Corrections to previous version of the bulletin were done on paper and sent via campus mail – Final version was sent to a commercial printer • Web Version – Introduced in 1999 – Created by a copy/paste from the print version – Labor intensive, error prone, not user friendlyHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18 2012
    8. 8. The New WCMS Workflow • Workflow – Content is organized by an information architect – Previous Bulletin content is entered as a starting point – Content is edited with WCMS • Content is edited by content owners ( schools ) • Schools may delegate edits of certain sections to departments/units within that school – Content is published as Web and PDF versionsHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    9. 9. Bulletin Course Descriptions• Courses – Courses are entered as structured data – Course folder includes a dynamic course listing• Bulletin course pages – Course listing is inserted into a page – XSLT is used to format the course listingHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    10. 10. Bulletin Course Descriptions• School/Department pages – Similar to bulletin pages course feeds can be inserted into other CascadeServer pages – Course feeds could also be inserted into non WCMS pagesHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    11. 11. Bulletin Course Descriptions• SIS export (Student planner) – CascadeServer database publishing is used to publish courses to a MySQL database – A php script generates a text file that is imported into PeopleSoft – SIS validates content against existing data and adds course info to the student plannerHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    12. 12. Mission Accomplished? • Over 60 academic bulletins published • All seven IU campuses • Over 22,000 course descriptions • Over 32,000 pages of content • Move from print to web bulletins ( change from 2 year to annual publishing cycle ) • Significant cost reductions • Process improvementHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    13. 13. The Bulletin Pilot Project Issues •2,000 page index limit •Performance issues •Web PDF vs. Print PDF •Time consuming setup Solutions •Database publish ( SIS courses ) •Web services ( template copy ) •Index optimization ( analytics )Hannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    14. 14. Web and PDF Bulletins http://www.iu.edu/~bulletin/iub/music/2012-2013/Hannon Hill Users Conference September 2012
    15. 15. Course Feeds on School Web sites http://www.music.indiana.edu/departments/academic/strings/courses.shtmlHannon Hill Users Conference September 2012
    16. 16. Print PDF vs. Web PDFHannon Hill Users Conference September 2012
    17. 17. SIS Course Export ( PeopleSoft ) • Database Publish ( MySQL ) • Database Extract ( text files ) • Course import and data validation • Error reports and data correctionHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    18. 18. Course DescriptionsHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    19. 19. Course folders and cascading metadataHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    20. 20. Adding course feeds to bulletin anddepartmental pagesHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    21. 21. Developer Tips • Use the nomenclature of "_folder-name" for supporting assets (e.g., _php, _internal ) • Use a custom metadata set for folders with a "Show in Navigation" radio button (Yes/No values) • Use same concept when multiple navigation types are needed (e.g., "Show in Audience Navigation") • Apply similar metadata set to pages, allowing for them to be indexed but not display in navigationHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    22. 22. Developer Tips • Favor Structured Data/be wary of the WYSIWYG – Always use data definitions and custom content types extensively, even if its just for a single page – WYSIWYG entry is prone to errorHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    23. 23. Developer Tips • Minimize the number of assets being rendered – Use a Content Type index if possible (exclude blank asset factory items) – Use relative indexes when building navigation • Attach indexes to a Template Region (rather than pages Data Definition) • Create templates with many regions, as opposed to rendering everything in the main regionHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    24. 24. Developer Tips • Set up a post-processing stylesheet ( attach to the template itself, not a region) – This stylesheet runs against the page after all other regions have been rendered – Save rendered content as a variable and output the content elsewhere • Set up a configuration set that includes only the pages default region and has no transformation (invaluable for debugging)Hannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    25. 25. IU’s new Communications System • Goal: Consolidate existing news and internal communications systems for IU • Phase one ( due in 2012 ) includes: – IU, IU Bloomington, IUPUI Newsroom – Six school newsrooms – Four internal communications Web sites • Requires migrating three different WCMSes to CascadeServerHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    26. 26. Functionality • News release may be published to one or more Newsrooms, each having distinct look and feel • News releases need to be syndicated to university unit and departmental Web sites • News releases need to be e-mailed to media outletsHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    27. 27. News ReleaseHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    28. 28. Syndicator News Team indicates which topics are relevant and what external Web sites should get the news release CascadeServer web service creates the respective teasers. Units can come in and change story order and teasers without having direct access to news releases.Hannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    29. 29. Import Content from Legacy WCMSesHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    30. 30. Share Content Across SitesHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    31. 31. Internal Communications Sites/Newsletters http://inside.iu.edu/about/newsletter-archive/inside-iu/2012-09-12.htmlHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    32. 32. External System Integration • HTML e-mail, text only e-mail and Newsletter versions distributed by our e-distribution/CRM software ( WhatCounts/Talisma ) • Photos & Videos managed by our Digital Asset Management System ( by NetXposure ) • News published to Digital Signage ( FourWinds ), and external Web sites via syndicatorHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012
    33. 33. Questions Greg Polit e-mail: gpolit@iu.edu twitter: @gpolit www: communications.iu.eduHannon Hill Users Conference September 16-18, 2012

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