Plone at the University of Washington

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Plone at the University of Washington

  1. 1. Plone at the University of Washington Melody Winkle Web Collective October 27, 2010 Plone Conference 2010
  2. 2. University of Washington● Large research university● 3 campuses● 47,000 students● 30,000 faculty and staff● 140 departments● $1 billion in research funding● 900,000 pages indexed by Google
  3. 3. What was the Project?● Move the central UW web site into Plone● Centrally supported pages – For everybodys use – Maintained by UW Marketing team● Most sites at the UW are maintained by local development teams
  4. 4. Goals of Project● Centrally support a CMS for common navigation and branding● Looks like everybody is part of the university● Web site creation and maintenance easy for users● Provide features not available to people coding HTML in Notepad
  5. 5. Ultimate Goal for Plone support● Provide Plone sites for any group who wants one● Central support (hard to charge money)
  6. 6. The Idea of a Central CMS● People still want autonomy, but support and buy in for central CMS has been strong● People are clamoring for tools
  7. 7. Economic Realities● People want to play but dont have resources● Departments are losing resources● Need for central CMS became even greater● People want to be part of the brand, but they need help and tools to do it
  8. 8. Achievements● Home Page maintained in Plone● Hundreds of central pages created, served from Plone● More editors are being added to the site
  9. 9. Agile● Project management methodology● Iterations● User stories – features are expressed in user stories "As a web manager, I want to understand the best option for blogging in Plone so that editors will be able to easily create and maintain blogs."
  10. 10. More Agile● Acceptance tests – Objective statement of functionality: "The proposed blogging solution can support use of categories (controlled vocabularies)"
  11. 11. Agile Meetings● Daily standup – People working on the site meet together for 15 minutes (longer, discussed requirements)● Demo Reviews – Live demonstration of finished stories – Discussion – Retrospective
  12. 12. Agile Meetings● Iteration Planning – Choosing stories for the next go-round – Estimating and prioritizing
  13. 13. Project Stats● 12 iterations● 2 weeks in length● Launch prep – Design changes – Templating – Performance work
  14. 14. Team for the Project● UW Marketing team – Gina Hills - Associate Director, Web Communications – Tim Chang-Miller - Web Producer – Jeff Hendrickson - Web Editor – Chris Heiland - Web Developer
  15. 15. UW Marketing Team, cont– Kilian Frey – Graphic Designer– Dane Odekirk – Web Programmer– Frank Fujimoto – Software Engineer, UW Information Technology
  16. 16. The Team, continued● Web Collective team – Melody Winkle - Project manager – Derek Hoshiko - Project manager – Bryan Wilson – Developer – Ross Patterson - Developer (consultant for Web Collective)
  17. 17. One Site vs Many● One site for unified navigation● One site is more complex – Bigger – Many template exceptions – Need to manage more permissions
  18. 18. Site Software● Plone 3.3.5● Zope (latest)
  19. 19. Installed Products● Theming – Web Couturier Dropdown menu 2.0 – Plone JQuery Tools Integration 1.0dev● Navigation – Portlet Navigation Extended 1.0.2● Editing – TinyMCE Editor Support 1.1rc9
  20. 20. Installed Products● Syndication – Feedfeeder 2.0 – Products.fatsyndication 1.0.1● Multimedia – Flowplayer 3.0b3 – plone.app.blob: ZODB Blob support 1.1 – plone.app.imaging 1.0
  21. 21. Installed Products● Forms – Form Criteria 2.0dev● Maps – Maps 2.0.3● Authentication/Authorization – WebServerAuth 1.5 – LDAP support 1.1 – UW Plone LDAP 0.1
  22. 22. Installed Products● Custom Products – UW Marketing Theme – UW Marketing Site 0.2
  23. 23. Hardware● Slicehost● 4 GB RAM● 2 instances● 1 ZEO
  24. 24. Architecture
  25. 25. Site Visits● 350,000 visits/week for the live Zope pages● 450,000 visits/week for the Home Page
  26. 26. Site Statistics● 50 users● 15 groups● 3200 objects in the site
  27. 27. Workflow/Roles● Simple Publication Workflow● Managers – core Marketing team● Other groups – Editors – Readers
  28. 28. XDV● Theming was done with XDV● Theme HTML file● rules.xml file● Compile with XDV complier into XSLT file● XSLT file is used by Apache
  29. 29. Approaches to Theming● collective.xdv● Deliverance● XDV with mod_transform
  30. 30. XDV● Apache mod_transform● Used dv.xdv server● Workflow – Make change locally – Commit change – Update on uwplone2 – Rerun theme buildout
  31. 31. What Were Doing with XDV● Using mod_filter – Lets us specify different transform sets based on location – Hoping to use it for content types – Got Plone to return the content type in the header – Needed a new Apache module to use it
  32. 32. More with XDV● Did a lot of work outside the rules.xml file● Complicated transforms● Editing XSL
  33. 33. Custom Features● Tiles – Blades on Home Page – Portal tiles● Portal Types – Spotlight story (page) – Tiles – Portlets● Portlets - Edit Portlet
  34. 34. Tiles● Blades on Home Page● Tiles on Portals
  35. 35. Portals● Custom type● Top section● Middle tiles● Bottom portlets
  36. 36. Portlets● Edit Portlets● Lots of portlets
  37. 37. Successes● Two very strong developers● Communication – Standup – Face-to-face meetings, training – Time with developers – Web/sysadmin part of team
  38. 38. Successes● Training – Bryan learning XDV a few weeks ahead, but still teaching – Chris, Tim learning Plone and XDV – Good decisions in where to spend time around training – UW team now responsible for site
  39. 39. Successes● Attitudes – People all dedicated to the project – Everybody worked together● Quality – Pleasure to work on a big project with a team that has high standards
  40. 40. Challenges● Communication – more face time earlier – remote debugging hard – remote communication more difficult – primer on terminology
  41. 41. Agile Process● User stories were confounding● Bryan came in later to a massive backlog and designs from DNA● Translation between design and stories would have helped● Looking at the whole process more broadly - avoid the tunnel vision
  42. 42. Learning Plone● Demo at beginning – User Interface – Back end● Best way to learn is to use the tools
  43. 43. Content● Helps to get real content in as soon as possible● Start with content type that makes up 90% of content, rather than the specialized type
  44. 44. Design● Design – initial design changed a lot● Many design iterations while developing theme● Design changes were in response to testing and political realities
  45. 45. Development● Complex project – new features would cause earlier ones to break● Issues wouldnt get fixed until later
  46. 46. Testing● Challenging to get features tested right away● Unit tests didnt cover everything● More testing after rollouts● Longer debugging period
  47. 47. Launch● More time for launch● Lots of content going in● Many design changes● Performance issues
  48. 48. What UW Team Wishes Plone Did ● More portable portlets ● More portable URLs – ResolveUID caused some problems ● Image handling – Cant always delete images – Credits field as option ● Easier editing – More drag-and-drop for layout
  49. 49. More Wishes for Plone● Dropdown that would allow a editor to change the layout or theme their site/section uses would be ideal.
  50. 50. Future Plans● Move to Plone 4● Move to in-house dedicated boxes● XDV for theming? mod_transform is fast, but development workflow is hard because of complexity
  51. 51. Future Plans, cont.● XDV to theme non-Plone sites – Drupal implementation – Wordpress implementation – Hand-coded header/footer
  52. 52. CMS at the UW● Plone just one of several● More sites on Drupal – Cheaper, simpler hosting – Harder on the users● Joomla dying out● UW Medicine, Business on Sharepoint
  53. 53. Any Questions?● http://www.washington.edu/● http://www.webcollective.coop/● melodyw@webcollective.coop

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