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Content Dark Launch in Wordpress - WordCamp Raleigh 2017

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We’ve given the content owners of our big, complicated, custom WordPress intranet a great way to safely stage their pages on a private site, then move changes over to the live site without having to copy the entire database.

But when they need to launch a new section of the site, things get very complicated – and deploying a lot of new content to the live site on launch day is a stressful and time-consuming process. Content owners quickly get in over their heads when they try to manage a launch, so developers spend precious hours planning and executing content launches.

Dark launch to the rescue! Borrowing ideas from software companies that use feature flagging of new software to test the waters, roll out gradually, or roll back quickly – we’re gradually moving new content areas over to the live site well before launch day, as the new content is developed.

The cool thing is, no one knows the new content is there until we decide to make it available – not even the search engine – unless we tell them exactly how to find it.

Content dark launch is saving our sanity and giving hours back to our developers, and I’ll explain just how it all works.

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Content Dark Launch in Wordpress - WordCamp Raleigh 2017

  1. 1. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Content Dark Launch Taming big launches on the SAS intranet
  2. 2. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. I work on an intranet It’s old enough to vote and drink, and has 1.3 million pages (maybe) • So far we’ve moved some of it into WordPress: • 423 pages with parent-child relationships, • Plus another 482 posts that are custom post types. Employee Information LIFE CAREER Jobs Benefits Career Resources Recognition Health & Wellness My Health Life Insurance Retirement Time Away & Leave Employee-paid Optional Benefits Memorial Flowers or Donation New Employees Exploring Careers Self-Reflection Anniversary Recognition InsideSAS November 2016 Policies Business Title Change Requests Home Contact Information Emergency Contact Changes Salary and Pay Information Payroll HR Find It Fast Medical Dental & Vision Prescription Drugs FSA Important Notices COBRA Step Therapy FAQ Prescription Drug FAQs Domestic Partner Benefits & Affadavit Working Spouse Domestic Partner Premium Guide Prescriprion FAQ Generic Incentive Program Non-Preferred Brand Name FAQ Prescription FAQ Prior Author. Prescription FAQ Quantity Limits HCC Pharmacy FAQ HCC Pharmacy Mail Order or 90 Day Process Mail Order Services FAQ Prescription Benefit FAQ FSA Benny Card FAQ Notice of Marketplace Coverage Notice of Privacy Practices COBRA Rates Termination of Employment Employer Safe Harbor FAQ Fidelity Consultations Pre-Retirement Checklist Absence System Flexible Work Arrangement Automobile & Homeowners Insurance YouDecide.com Orientation Welcome Ambassadors New Employee Department Welcome SAS Virtual Orientation Program Orientation Department Level Orientation Dates & Agenda Benefit from the Buddy System HQ New Employee Checklist Regional & Remote New HireChecklist Diversity Sales and Technical Academies Interns Advice for New Interns Hiring Managers Hiring a Contractor Hiring Manager FAQ Manager New Hire Checklist iCIMS Hiring Mgr Training iCIMIS login (Hiring Mgrs) Recruitment And Hiring Process Performance Career Resources FAQ Leading Change What Is Change Mgmt Process? How Effective Am I as Change Leader? How Do People React to Change How do I Lead so Others Commit/Comply Workday Performance Help Goal Setting With your Team Check-in Conversation Tips Giving and Receiving Feedback Intern Employment FAQ Intern Program Specialist The Interview Tips for Managing Interns Women and Minority Intern Program - R3 Using Goals Using Feedback Using Activity Stream Using Documents Competencies/ Skills Competency Proficiency Scale SAS Staff Favorites Career Planning Discussion Worksheet Managers OUR COMPANY Benefits Contact Info SAS Library We Celebrate Anniversary List CEO Award Of Excellence HR Contacts Employee Resources (HR) Flexible Work Arrangement Information Technology R&D Around SAS Job-related Policies Compensation Overview Global Career Framework Tips, Tools & Resources People Insights Name Change Instructions Workday Verify Employment Building Skills Making it Happen LMS Networking Basics Career Mentoring Tips Personal SWOT Analysis Employee Referral Program Internal Mobility Specialist Assist with University Recruiting Contact outreach specialist Best Workplace ForWomen Best Workplace For Grads Pro Patria Award US Veterans At SAS Using Goals For Managers Exploring Our Brand Expressing Our Brand Sales & Marketing Portal About HCC About RFC Setting Up a Home Office Manager tips for Anniversaries Volunteerism Holiday Closings 2015 Intern Bios Intern Expo Resources for Outreach in Schools HR Business Partners HR Contacts Open Enrollment Summary Plan Descriptions My Money Adding & Dropping Dependents Health Benefits Forms Health Benefits FAQs Insurance ID Cards Updating Pers. Information Mail Order Process, Current Health Employee Vendor Program Guidelines Regional Employee Discounts Retiree Discounts Blood Drive Team Development Retirement Resources Discounts by Category Employee Vendor Program Discounts A to Z Discount Center Campus Conveniences Alterations Banking Book Exchange Campus Cuts Car Detailing Dry Cleaning LeBleu Water Delivery Massage Therapy Nail Salon Personal Shipping Racquet Stringing Shredding Skin Care Tax Prep The Foot Matters The Produce Box Massage Questionnaire Payroll Deduction Form LeBleu Delivery Schedule Nail Salon Questionnaire Microderm- Abrasion consent form Skin Care Questionnaire Fitness and Leisure Guide to The RFC Adult Swim Instruction Aquatics Campus Trail Guides Court Schedule Field Schedule Group Exercise Schedule Recreation & Leisure Regional RFC Programs Sports Yoga Classes RFC Newsletter Reserve a Court Arts, Crafts And Hobbies Kid activities/ Sports Special Events And Outings Picnic Packs RFC Clubs RFC Clubs Guidelines Health Care Services Adult Health Maintenance Cary HCC Services HCC Pharmacy Hot TopicsForms HCC Policies Primary/Urgent Care Regional Employee Services Caring Closet Wellness Biofeedback Employee Assistance Program Guided Relaxation Health Care Seminar Archives Meals & Recipes Mental Health Resources Mind Body Classes Nutrition Resources Nutrition Seminar Archives Nutrition Smart Phone Apps Seminar Calendar Stress, Balance & Life Skills EAP Confidentiality EAP Program Benefits Plan Your Plate Mental Health (Adults) Mental Health (Children & Adolescents) Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Family Support Breastfeeding Support Adoption Eldercare And Aging College and Careers Relationships Marriage & Divorce Grief & Loss Caregiving Resources Housing Options Making Marriage Work Resources (Adults) Resources (Children) Family Life Medicaid & Medicaire Benefits Family & Medical Leave Policy Advanced Directives SAS Library Work/Life Reader list Education Vendor Discounts SAS Scholar Award program 2016 College Series Recording Link On-Time College Help Child Care Camps @ SAS SAS Scholarships Child Care Policies Community Subsidy On-Site Child Care Regional Subsidy Child Care Handbook SAS Child Care Health Policies Camp Registration STEM Camp Specialty Camps Cary Academy Application Application Instructions About Work/Life Feedback Form Location Staff Front Desk & Reception Adoption Mentoring Program Adoption Articles & Resources Online Resources Breastfeeding Seminars OTC Drugs Nursing Buddies Pump Room Scheduling Test Prep Options Online Resources Seminar Archives Parenting Emerging Adults Children 0-12 Tweens & Teens Special Needs Parenting Building Blocks Of Parenting Communication Conflict Resolution Parenting During Divorce The Divorce Process Admission Forms Early Care Sign Up Day Care Menu Preschool Menu Parent Advisory Committee Subsidy Reimbursement Counselor In Training Summer Camp Winter Camp For Sale Locker Rooms Medical Clearance Staff Sundays At the RFC Aquatic Sport Leagues Aquatics Class Descriptions Family Swim Guidelines Natatorium Rules & Information Calendars Aquatics Class Schedule Fitness Program Personal Training Group Exercise Program Fitness Manuals & Resources Runners Depot Move of the Month Mobile Fitness Apps Training Program Archives Weight Room Policies & Guidelines Incentive Programs Commit to Quit Contract Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines My RFC Dollars RFC Dollars RFC Dollars Draft Form Outdoor Adventure Program Kids Corner Aquatic Programs Kids Release Forms Kids Activity/Sports Programs Teen Training Teen Training Guidelines Community Sports Courts and Equipment Disc Golf Free Play The Players’ Club Disc Golf Course Disc Golf Scorecard Discount Center Fitness Planning a Cary Visit Wellness Reimbursement Guidelines Reimbursement Application Programs T’ai Chi Program Hang 10 Yoga Strike a Pose Archive Regional Discount Ticket Request Form Patient Survey CDC: Hepatitis C Screening Understanding Prostate Changes Is a PSA Test Right for You Pros & Cons of PSA Testing Pap and HPV Screening Pharmacy Staff What if I’m not A Primary Care Patient? Pediatric Primary Care Primary Care Enrollment Primary vs Non-Primary Services Travel Immunizations & Advice Patient Testimonials Primary Care FAQs Urgent Care After Hours Check Out an Item Meet the Staff About Our Staff Giving Back Charitable Contributions Communications Guidelines Education Initiatives Giving Tuesday Staff Policy Documents SAS Brand Time Away Policies Time Away Forms Bulletin Board Café Menus Job Descriptions Job Postings
  3. 3. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. We’ve given our content owners a way to stage content And then move it over to the live site Ideally… without developer intervention. Stage Live RAMP
  4. 4. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Each section is a launch
  5. 5. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. The old launch process • Try to plan with incomplete information • Spend hours on a Skype call in crisis / boredom mode on launch day • Have visibly broken stuff on the live site for periods of time, frantically fix • Collapse
  6. 6. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Problems 1. Stuff we didn’t know about isn’t discovered until it’s obviously missing after RAMPing 2. Stuff is broken after RAMPing 3. RAMPing takes a looooong time.
  7. 7. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Launches Our launches were often surprisingly complicated. The launch plan for four pages might include 50 different items.
  8. 8. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. SAS Camp • Four pages • Two sliders • 14 CPT + 14 icons for the sliders • Five policies (CPT) • Two “cross-promotional widgets” (CPT, with images) • 8 images • 1 parent page (add five more images for that…)
  9. 9. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. How small can you make that launch? Like just one page maybe?
  10. 10. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Content Dark Launch The dream • Separate deploy from launch • Deploy continuously as content becomes ready • Keep it hidden until it is ready • Flip a switch on launch day
  12. 12. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. The Transporter Define Dark Launch areas
  13. 13. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. The Transporter Daily Dark Launch
  14. 14. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Feature Toggles Martin Fowler "Toggle tests should only appear at the minimum amount of toggle points to ensure the new feature is properly hidden. There could be many screens in the pet survey feature, but if there’s only one link on the home page that gets you there, then that’s the only element that needs to be protected with the toggle tag. Don’t try to protect every code path in the new feature code with a toggle, focus on just the entry points that would lead users there and toggle those entry points.” martinfowler.com/bliki/FeatureToggle.html
  15. 15. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Our ”edges” • Mega menu • Links within already launched content • Sometimes, the left nav
  16. 16. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. The Deflector Selectively redirect links within visible areas • Redirect links from visible areas to hidden areas. • Users provide a mapping of new pages to current pages. • If a click has a referrer – redirect.
  17. 17. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Left nav
  18. 18. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Left nav Automatically generated
  19. 19. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Left nav • Left nav is generated by a custom walker • Reflects the page tree • If a hidden page is deployed into a visible section, it has to remain hidden from left nav… • Unless we’re viewing the hidden page.
  20. 20. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Left nav Filter the custom walker • A filter that uses Transporter categories to filter what is seen in the left nav • Only do the filtering on the live site • And only do it when on a page that is not hidden… don’t filter when on hidden pages.
  21. 21. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. What about search? We don’t want hidden pages in the search engine! • Search engine can only index what it can reach via crawling link to link. • No links into the hidden pages, no way to crawl them.
  22. 22. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Dark Launch • Transporter – move batches of dark launch content over to the live site • Deflector – redirect links in visible content away from dark launch areas • Left nav filter – to hide DL pages, except when you’re in the DL section The mechanics of dark launching.
  23. 23. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. The Dark Launch Process
  24. 24. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Readiness Review with onboarding folks – • Is the structure of pages mostly there? Are the pages in the right templates? • Are the landing pages okay to be visible? Dev team analyzes – • What are the edges? Cross links with live sections, mega menu, left nav, landing pages. • How big is this? Is it really four pages… or four pages and another 50 posts and files packed into those four pages?
  25. 25. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. 2. Begin Dark Launch • Dev team creates a DARK LAUNCH category, adds it to all the posts. Configures Transporter. • Deflector configuration is updated, if needed. • Daily dark launch begins. Problems resolved as they occur.
  26. 26. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. 3. Launch planning • Launch date set. • Person responsible for onboarding provides the dev team with extensive documentation • Dev team prepares launch plan.
  27. 27. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. 4. 3-2-1-GO! • Content freeze 3 days prior to launch • Final dark launch(es) • Day of launch, make it all visible. • Update mega menu on stage • Update transporter configuration • Update deflector configuration • RAMP these changes
  28. 28. Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Problems solved. 1. Stuff we didn’t know about isn’t discovered until it’s obviously missing after RAMPing 2. Stuff is broken after RAMPing 3. RAMPing takes a looooong time.
  29. 29. sas.com Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Any questions? Lisa Linn Allen @LisaLinnAllen

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