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How to prepare your site for content migration

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Are you ready to move to a new CMS, but unsure how you're going to migrate your content?

You know that you’re bound to run into issues associated with the migration of your site content, templates, and other assets from one platform to another and have questions of how to plan out a successful migration. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your site to make your migration as smooth as possible.

View the entire webinar at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCW7OMQptR0.

Presented by Blend Interactive (www.blendinteractive.com) and Siteport (www.siteport.net).

Published in: Technology
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How to prepare your site for content migration

  1. 1. How to Prepare Your Site for Migration Deane Barker, for Siteport and Blend Interactive #migration101
  2. 2. About Blend Interactive • Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota • Specializing in web content management • Implementing multiple platforms across multiple languages • Specializing in EPiServer • EPiServer’s first North American partner
  3. 3. About Siteport • Based in Long Beach, California • Provider of automation software and services for migrating website assets between CMS platforms • Supports EPiServer, Ektron, Sitecore, Drupal, OpenText, SharePoint, Oracle Portal, and more
  4. 4. Agenda • Definitions; what is a “migration”? • What makes a migration complicated? • What are some of the challenges? • How does automation help? • Keys to a successful migration • Q & A
  5. 5. Definitions
  6. 6. Definitions • A migration is a movement from one “platform” to another • Usually CMS to CMS • Occasionally static HTML to CMS • Source Platform • What you’re on now • Target Platform • What you’re moving to
  7. 7. Definitions • Site Migration • Movement of an entire website from one platform to another • Includes building out the Target Platform • Content Migration • Movement of all the content from the Source Platform to the Target Platform
  8. 8. Site Migration Content Migration
  9. 9. Remember… • You need to re-implement your site in the Target Platform. • Unbelievably, this occasionally gets overlooked. • “If we move all the content, won’t it look and work exactly the same in the new CMS?” • A website is a combination of: • Content • Programming • Design • They all have to migrate and be “re-wired” in the Target Platform
  10. 10. Types of Site Migrations • CMS Only (“Forklift”) • Rebuild the exact same website, just powered by a different CMS • CMS and Re-design • The same content and basic architecture, but a new CMS and a new design • Efficient, since templating usually has to be re-done anyway • Complete Re-implementation • Fundamental changes to content, architecture, or functionality. • Essentially a new, ground-up implementation project
  11. 11. “We love our content, our IA, and our design. We just want a new CMS.” (This is a site migration.)
  12. 12. “As long as we’re swapping out the CMS, we want a new design. And we hate our content. And do it all in a new language.” (This is more of a complete re-implementation.)
  13. 13. Complicating Factors
  14. 14. What makes a migration complicated? • How much automation can you bring to bear on the migration? • Factors • Volume of content • Velocity of content • Cleanliness of content • Discrete structure of content • Relational structure of content • Reusability of Source Platform artifacts
  15. 15. Volume • Your first decision is manual vs. automated. • In a manual migration, it becomes a problem of pure manpower • Significant content rules out a manual migration
  16. 16. Velocity • Low velocity content imparts a certain amount of “leisure” • High-velocity content becomes a moving target • High-velocity content compresses your content freeze • A highly-automated migration that limits downtime might be your only option • Different sections of content on the same site can have differing degrees of velocity
  17. 17. Cleanliness • A migration is a great time to clean-up old, non- standard content • How “dirty” is the current HTML? • Content coming out of a competent CMS is likely quite clean • Static HTML content is usually a disaster • How predictable are the transformations? • Can they be automated?
  18. 18. Discrete Structure • How structured is the content in the Source Platform? • How structured does it need to be in the Target Platform? • How much does this differ from the Source Platform? • How cleanly can you identify and extract individual properties/fields?
  19. 19. Relational Structure • How interlinked is the content? • Spatial / hierarchical relationships • Ordinal relationships • Field-level references • HTML links • What relationships need to be represented via import? • How easily can those links be resolved and fixed after migration?
  20. 20. Products Product 1 Description Documentation User Guide Developer Guide Product 2 Product 3 Spatial / Hierarchy Ordinal
  21. 21. Reusability of Artifacts • Templating Code (HTML/CSS) • Content Architecture, Structure, and Navigation • Integration Code
  22. 22. Templating Code • If you’re not changing your design, this is highly re-usable • It exists on two levels: • The templating code, which is likely useless • The rendered HTML, which is valuable • Re-using this is a process of reverse engineering the rendered HTML into new templating logic
  23. 23. Content Architecture • If you’re not changing your core architecture, and the Target Platform shares core architectural concepts, then this might be valuable. • It will still need to be re-implemented, but the logical questions have been solved, which is significant.
  24. 24. Example: Your navigation is rendered by traversing a content tree for “parent,”“sibling,” and “child” pages.
  25. 25. Integration Code • Non-CMS code to integrate with other systems and provide other functionality • Applications • External system functionality • If you’re not changing programming platforms, then you can probably re-use much of this • If you change languages, then all bets are off.
  26. 26. Business Challenges
  27. 27. Business Challenges • Minimizing the editorial disruption • Managing QA • Managing Stakeholders
  28. 28. Minimize the Content Freeze • A “content freeze” is the period when editors are prohibited from changing content on the Source Platform • Changes to content in the Source Platform will have to be re-migrated or replicated in the Target Platform. • Content freezes are precarious and stressful to the organization.
  29. 29. Review Adjust Migrate Source Target While this is happening…. …migrated content is disposable. The Automated Migration Cycle
  30. 30. After you hit the limits of your automated migration, you have to commit.
  31. 31. Do you launch with content less than perfect, or do you implement a content freeze?
  32. 32. Minimize QA • Content has to be quality-checked after migration to the Target Platform • This usually requires domain knowledge, which can be expensive in terms of time. • Less fidelity means more QA.
  33. 33. Managing Stakeholders • When they hear the site is migrating, everyone will want input • Questions of whether or not to migrate Content X can become highly politicized • For every bit of content and functionality in your Source Platform, someone is likely expecting it on your Target Platform
  34. 34. The Role of Automation
  35. 35. The Role of Automation • Speed up the cycle, so you get more iterations in less time • Standardize the migration, so you can test migrations early in the process, then run them confidently later in the process • Transform content during a migration • Handle the rote movement of bytes
  36. 36. “The Pushbutton Migration” • In a perfect world, you can “bottle” the migration as an elaborate macro, then just press a button and migrate when you’re ready to launch. • The actual, technical movement of bytes from one platform or another might take just minutes. • …which means your content freeze only lasts minutes. • The preparation for that moment might take months. • A Pushbutton Migration is only possible with automation.
  37. 37. Manageability • Large parts of a migration fall into patterns, which don’t need to be re-solved. • As a migration becomes more complicated, script management becomes a bigger and bigger problem • The goal is predictable repeatability of iterations • Avoid: a confusing mess of one-off scripts • Even worse: a single person who knows how it all works
  38. 38. Keys to a Successful Migration
  39. 39. Keys • Perform a ruthless content inventory • Limit scope, if possible • Get enough organizational backing to effectively manage stakeholders • Find a competent automation solution • Over-allocate time and budget • Ensure enough resources are available during the content freeze • “All hands.”
  40. 40. Contact Us Blend Interactive www.blendinteractive.com Siteport www.siteport.net
  41. 41. Q and A

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