The web is made of links.Don’t break them.A method to gradually transition a large siteto a CMS on your own timetable and ...
We’ve had a website for a long time – since April 1995.
Our first sitemap. It’s a web of links! Get it?!? Guess what – it still is.
Upper level pages recently redesigned and using a CMS. Only 1% of total pages though.
Some of our 90’s-era sites still get a lot of traffic.
All of whom had varying web skills (if any) and were allowed to do anything they wanted.115known contributors
Defined as pages that have a different design then the top-level visit-oriented pages.115known contributors88current sub-s...
We’ve ended up with a LOT of content in 18 years.115known contributors88current sub-sites27,482total web pages
Plus an unknowable amount of browser bookmarks & print references.115known contributors88current sub-sites27,482total web ...
Screenshots of our collection homepages in 2010. Definite branding and usability issues.
The master plan. (BTW, the web office has a staff of 2.75 FTE)
Um, yeah.Reality check #1We will never have enough time or staffto update it all at once.
Time to panic.Reality check #1Any CMS we choose will have a different wayof writing links and will break our old URLs.Real...
Don’t waste your time fighting this. Let your new CMS do its thing.Bad idea #1: We have to get our new CMSto follow our ol...
This is not a solution. This still breaks stuff.Bad idea #2: Let’s squirrel away all of our oldcontent to an “archive” are...
You’ll need to admin access to your servers to try this yourself.This is how we handled it.
Just one CMS? Nah, let’s make it interesting and run two!
A reverse proxy allows multiple servers to deliver pages using the same URL space.
We chose to use Apache, but any reverse proxy/gateway will do.
Setting up a proxy on Apache is pretty simple, but read the documentation for more details.Apache mod_proxy ModuleRewriteR...
Tell the proxy what is on your legacy server and serve it immediately if there is a match.
Be thorough - list every possible legacy directory path in your conf file. (We have 137.)Configuration File Rewrite RulesR...
Our legacy server happens to run IIS. YLMV.
If the page requested is not on the legacy server, send it on to your main CMS.
The CMS will serve the page if it is housed on that system.
If the page is not on your main CMS either, send it on for further processing.
Redirect app built in-house with PHP/MySQL backend using CakePHP framework for GUI.
The app can send it to other systems (if you go that route) or redirect offsite.
Be sure to terminate with a 404 if it truly is a bogus link.
Plug in your legacy/CMS situation and hopefully this can help you.
My awesome coworkers. Couldn’t have pulled this off without ‘em.CreditsTaylor WilsonWeb DeveloperWarren BrownEnterprise Sy...
Contact me if you have any questions or want more techy details.Sarah Fazenbakersfaze@flmnh.ufl.edu@sfazeThanks!
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The web is made of links. Don't break them.

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Contemplating a move to a CMS can be paralyzing when you are dealing with an established educational site with thousands of static pages and even more incoming links. Is it worth breaking all of those to move to a modern platform? What do you do when you can't possibly upgrade everything at once? The Florida Museum of Natural History is in the middle of a multi-year transition to content management spread over three different production server environments. Get an overview of the challenges we were facing and then learn how we are making this all seamless to the visitor while keeping every old link to our 27,000+ pages intact. [Presented as a lightning talk at the HighEdWeb Florida Regional conference on April 23, 2013.]

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The web is made of links. Don't break them.

  1. 1. The web is made of links.Don’t break them.A method to gradually transition a large siteto a CMS on your own timetable and keep ittransparent to your visitors while doing it.
  2. 2. We’ve had a website for a long time – since April 1995.
  3. 3. Our first sitemap. It’s a web of links! Get it?!? Guess what – it still is.
  4. 4. Upper level pages recently redesigned and using a CMS. Only 1% of total pages though.
  5. 5. Some of our 90’s-era sites still get a lot of traffic.
  6. 6. All of whom had varying web skills (if any) and were allowed to do anything they wanted.115known contributors
  7. 7. Defined as pages that have a different design then the top-level visit-oriented pages.115known contributors88current sub-sites
  8. 8. We’ve ended up with a LOT of content in 18 years.115known contributors88current sub-sites27,482total web pages
  9. 9. Plus an unknowable amount of browser bookmarks & print references.115known contributors88current sub-sites27,482total web pages501,170incoming links from other sites
  10. 10. Screenshots of our collection homepages in 2010. Definite branding and usability issues.
  11. 11. The master plan. (BTW, the web office has a staff of 2.75 FTE)
  12. 12. Um, yeah.Reality check #1We will never have enough time or staffto update it all at once.
  13. 13. Time to panic.Reality check #1Any CMS we choose will have a different wayof writing links and will break our old URLs.Reality check #2We will never have enough time or staffto update it all at once.
  14. 14. Don’t waste your time fighting this. Let your new CMS do its thing.Bad idea #1: We have to get our new CMSto follow our old URL scheme!New: www.flmnh.ufl.edu/visit/shopping/butterfly-plant-sales/Old: www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflies/plants.htm
  15. 15. This is not a solution. This still breaks stuff.Bad idea #2: Let’s squirrel away all of our oldcontent to an “archive” area of the site!http://archive.yoursite.org/old-stuff.htm
  16. 16. You’ll need to admin access to your servers to try this yourself.This is how we handled it.
  17. 17. Just one CMS? Nah, let’s make it interesting and run two!
  18. 18. A reverse proxy allows multiple servers to deliver pages using the same URL space.
  19. 19. We chose to use Apache, but any reverse proxy/gateway will do.
  20. 20. Setting up a proxy on Apache is pretty simple, but read the documentation for more details.Apache mod_proxy ModuleRewriteRule (.*) http://www.flmnh.ufl.eduProxyPassReverse / http://iiswww.flmnh.ufl.eduMore info: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mod/mod_proxy.html
  21. 21. Tell the proxy what is on your legacy server and serve it immediately if there is a match.
  22. 22. Be thorough - list every possible legacy directory path in your conf file. (We have 137.)Configuration File Rewrite RulesRewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/annualreports(.*) [OR,NC]RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/anthro/caribarch(.*) [OR,NC]RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/caribarch (.*) [OR,NC]RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/bats(.*) [OR,NC]RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/birds(.*) [NC]More info: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/current/configuring.html
  23. 23. Our legacy server happens to run IIS. YLMV.
  24. 24. If the page requested is not on the legacy server, send it on to your main CMS.
  25. 25. The CMS will serve the page if it is housed on that system.
  26. 26. If the page is not on your main CMS either, send it on for further processing.
  27. 27. Redirect app built in-house with PHP/MySQL backend using CakePHP framework for GUI.
  28. 28. The app can send it to other systems (if you go that route) or redirect offsite.
  29. 29. Be sure to terminate with a 404 if it truly is a bogus link.
  30. 30. Plug in your legacy/CMS situation and hopefully this can help you.
  31. 31. My awesome coworkers. Couldn’t have pulled this off without ‘em.CreditsTaylor WilsonWeb DeveloperWarren BrownEnterprise Systems CoordinatorAndy LievertzSystems Administrator
  32. 32. Contact me if you have any questions or want more techy details.Sarah Fazenbakersfaze@flmnh.ufl.edu@sfazeThanks!

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