FAQ #1 for the Coast Guard Portal


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FAQ for the upcoming CG Portal.

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FAQ #1 for the Coast Guard Portal

  1. 1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Number 1 December 2008  CG PORTAL  This is the first in a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ) aimed towards orienting By the Numbers the Coast Guard family towards the new Coast Guard Portal (CG Portal). We expect to have additional FAQs shortly. Suggestions or comments for additional FAQ questions should be e-mailed to john.r.cole@uscg.mil. 137  THE NUMBER OF BLADE SERVERS USED  WHAT IS CG PORTAL?  TO SUPPORT CG PORTAL      CG Portal is the much-anticipated web infrastructure and collaboration suite for the 5  Coast Guard. CG Portal will act as the single point-of-entry for both internal and external THE NUMBER OF ENVIRONMENTS  customers. Unlike CG Central (our internal site) and www.uscg.mil (our Internet pres- ence), CG Portal is a suite of applications working together to provide a feature-rich en- (DEVELOPMENT, TEST, CODE TEST,  vironment. At its core lie four key products: IBM Lotus Quickr, IBM Sametime, Fat- STAGE, PRODUCTION)  Wire, and IBM WebSphere Portal. Quickr is the collaboration tool, Sametime is the in-   ternal chat client, FatWire is the content management system tool, and WebSphere Portal 6  is the “wrapper” (it’s what gives our site its branding). THE NUMBER OF TERABYTES OF     WHAT DOES CG PORTAL DO?  STORAGE SPACE      CG Portal is a web-based tool set that provides users the ability to manage web content, 1,300  collaborate with colleagues in real-time, discuss content in real-time, and leverage key THE NUMBER OF MICROSITES THAT  Web 2.0 technologies to improve business communications. For content management, NEED TO BE MOVED TO PORTAL  CG Portal uses software called FatWire. FatWire, in essence, allows our static web con-   tent from the World Wide Web and CG Central to display in a standardized format while keeping a common look and feel. For collaboration, we have IBM Quickr. Quickr will 13,000  assume the role of the old CG Central Microsites. Quickr is defined as a team- THE NUMBER OF CG CENTRAL   collaboration software that allows users to access and interact with the people, informa- CONTENT ITEMS THAT THE OSC WILL  tion and project materials needed to get the work done. In other words, it’s a high-end MANUALLY PLACE WITHIN PORTAL  communication tool. The new Portal also leverages Web 2.0 technology in the form of   blogs (or web logs) and wikis. Blogs can be used to allow teams a free-narrative forum to discuss topics of interest while wikis are collaborative-based web pages that can be 800  modified by any authorized user to create a long-term knowledge repository. THE NUMBER OF WEBSITES THAT NEED    TO BE CREATED  WHY SHOULD I USE PORTAL? WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?      5  You should use CG Portal for three reasons. First, Portal integrates some of the best in THE SIZE OF THE MIGRATION TEAM  Web 2.0 technologies (like blogs). Web 2.0 is defined as the paradigm shift in the way the Internet is used. Instead of static content, the Internet is considered a worldwide col- laboration network used to interact and communicate. The results facilitate creativity and information sharing. Incorporating these tools within the Coast Guard should also facili- tate creativity and information sharing. Second, if, at the end of first quarter 2009, you attempt to browse CG Central you will get a 404-error message (also known as the noto- rious quot;file not foundquot; error). Browsing to www.uscg.mil mil take you to CG Portal. Fi- What is Web 2.0?   nally, the Commandant says so. Web 2.0 refers to a large set of ideas and techniques behind many As far as “what’s in it for me?” we’d offer that the benefits are substantial. Leveraging new web sites and services which these Web 2.0 technologies will enhance stakeholder and customer interaction and better encourage user interaction, com- munication, and collaboration. (Continued on page 2)
  2. 2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Number 1 (Continued from page 1) CG PORTAL  communications. The results may even yield innovation and cost savings. You never Schedule at a Glanse know!   HOW WILL PORTAL MAKE MY JOB BETTER?  NOVEMBER 2007    ALCOAST 536/07 IDENTIFIES CG  CG Portal offers the Coast Guard an expanded and integrated set of web-based tools to promote workforce efficiency. Portal seeks to enhance collaboration by providing PORTAL AS THE NEW WEB   Quickr, an easy-to-use tool for chatting, discussing, and creating. Portal seeks to improve TECHNOLOGY FOR THE   customer communications by easing web development. FatWire content management COAST GUARD  allows both novice and experienced web providers to get their messages out cleanly and   effectively. Portal also seeks to consolidate two archaic and outdated technologies (CG MARCH 2008  Central and www.uscg.mil) under one umbrella. Doing so will streamline information delivery to all CG members and ease duplicative efforts. Finally, and more importantly, IBM QUICKR, IBM WEBSPHERE, AND  CG Portal seeks to allow its customers (you) to focus on people instead of technology. FATWIRE ARE SELECTED AS NEW   We are, after all, not in the business of using technology. We are in the business of help- PORTAL COMPONENTS  ing people.   OCTOBER 2008  Portal will make your job better by making your business processes easier.   INITIAL SHIPMENT OF 63 BLADE   DO I NEED MY CAC CARD TO ACCESS THE PORTAL FROM HOME?   SERVERS ARRIVE ON THE   OSC DATA FLOOR  Yes. The new portal is also an extranet, which means it will be possible for CG personnel   who have Common Access Cards (CAC) to log into the intranet portion of the portal NOVEMBER 2008  from anywhere on the Internet. This is a really useful aspect especially for reservists. Now they won’t have to wait until their drill weekend to get access to information they FIRST CLUSTERED ENVIRONMENT IS  need. CONFIGURED AND TESTED.    Down the road, the portal will also incorporate the use of username and password au- NEXT STEPS  thentication, so some people who don’t have CAC will be able to get into the system. Auxilarists, dependents, and industry partners will be able to log in and take part in the   collaboration areas. Technically speaking, it is just a matter of time before that will be MIGRATE AND PLACE CONTENT FOR  available, the bigger issue is how people will be validated to have accounts and who will 800+ CG CENTRAL WEBSITES  keep those accounts up to date and correct.     CREATE A QUICKR PLACE FOR ALL  WILL THIS NEW PORTAL NOW ALLOW THE RESERVES OR AUXILIARY TO   1,300 MICROSITES AND MIGRATE  ACCESS USCG INFORMATION THEY WERE UNABLE TO ACCESS BEFORE?  CONTENT    Right off the bat, the Coast Guard Reserve will have access to CG Portal as long as they have their common access card (CAC), a CAC reader, and know their personal identifi- INTEGRATE COAST GUARD BUSINESS  cation number (PIN). The Coast Guard Auxiliary, on the other hand, will be unable to INTELLIGENCE (CGBI)  access Portal because they are not issued CAC cards. Because the Auxiliary is a very   important part of the Coast Guard family – and they need Coast Guard information, too – SOFT ROLL QUICKR, SAMETIME, AND  the ability to authenticate using a traditional username and password combination will be WEBSPHERE PORTAL TO PRODUCTION  the next priority (currently estimated for fall of 2009).     WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MOVING CONTENT FROM THE OLD SYSTEMS TO  ALLOW FOUR WEEKS FOR TRAINING,  THE NEW?   CONTENT VALIDATION, AND TESTING      CG Central will be migrated first. The OSC Web Team plans on moving the bulk of CG SECURE CG CENTRAL  Central material - including current Microsite content - to the new Portal using a semi-   automated process. Static content will be bulk copied to FatWire and current Microsite REPEAT PROCESS FOR WWW.USCG.MIL  information will be loaded into Quickr. CG Internet content (www.uscg.mil) will be mi- (Continued on page 3)
  3. 3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Number 1 (Continued from page 2) grated second. For www.uscg.mil, the OSC Web Team will manually move all 800+ web sites to FatWire. Publishing content in FatWire works differently than in either CG Central or www.uscg.mil. In simplest terms, content is first placed in a large bucket and then indi- vidual pieces of content from the bucket are hung on a display page(s) (this is a key step in the prevention of double publishing). After the initial load of content into the Fatwire bucket (containing approximately 13,000 items) the team will quot;hangquot; as many of the items as possible. Since the organization of pages and sites in CG Portal will not exactly mimic the structure of either www.uscg.mil or CG Central it will be difficult for anyone other than an item owner to determine the final placement on a page. The Portal team will take on the heavy lift of ensuring that all data is migrated from these two legacy sys- tems but we will rely on content publishers in the field for the placement of some content to ensure success. CG Web content will not be moved by the OSC. Because of the distributive nature of the CG Web, units wishing to have CG Web static content moved to CG Portal will need to move the content themselves. Local business applications will need to remain status quo until the next iteration of CG Portal. SHOULD PEOPLE WANTING NEW WEB SITES WAIT FOR THE PORTAL? OR  SHOULD THEY MAKE ARRANGEMENTS UNDER WWW.USCG.MIL OR ON THE  CG WEB?  There are no plans to deter any unit from using any existing system, in accordance with current policy, until CG Portal goes into production and becomes the authoritative source. If your content is of a time sensitive and/or critical nature, by all means, post. On the other hand, if your information is routine, large, or complicated, we suggest waiting since we cannot guarantee your information will be migrated exactly as posted. One word of caution: if you elect to leverage CG Web for your content, please note that there are no plans on automatically migrating any of that material to Portal anytime soon. This means that any material posted on CG Web will have to be manually recreated - by What is a blog?   your unit webmaster - on CG Portal. Blog is short for weblog. A blog is HOW IS THE PROCESS FOR POSTING CONTENT TO PORTAL DIFFERING  generally a journal or newsletter which is updated frequently. Blogs FROM POSTING TO CG CENTRAL AND WWW.USCG.MIL?   are easily updated and may allow comments from readers. The answer to this question will depend on how familiar you are with both (or either). CG Central uses a template approach to posting content. You fill in the blanks, hit a sub- mit button, and your content appears (oversimplified but accurate). Www.uscg.mil, in contrast, requires that all your web pages be developed in a staging environment using a traditional HTML editor like Microsoft FrontPage. New pages or changes to your exist- What is a wiki?   ing site are replicated, on the hour, to the Internet-facing servers. Posting within CG Por- A wiki allows visitors to add, re- tal is a combination of the two. For the novice, posting content is simply a matter of en- move, and edit available content. tering in your text using a combination of form fields and a rich-text editor. Hitting the This ease of interaction and opera- submit button will push your data to the public (either internal or external). For the web tion makes a wiki an effective tool savvy, content can be manipulated using the source code view of your rich-text editor for collaborative authoring. page. Web content providers will have the ability to post content internally, externally, or in combination. Although convenient, having the ability to post to both locations will re- quire an additional level of governance. Most units wouldn’t want to see the wrong infor- mation get posted in the wrong location! Needless to say, HQ staff will develop and im- plement a policy soon.
  4. 4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Number 1 (Continued from page 3) WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO USE MY WEB EDITORS LIKE MICROSOFT FRONT‐ PAGE AND DREAMWEAVER?   No. Microsoft Frontpage, Dreamweaver, and other third-party web developer applica- tions are no longer necessary. Posting content for either internal or external viewing uses a series of pre-designed templates. While the concept of “templates” appears discourag- ing for the creative types, it is not. Web content developers and content providers will have plenty of flexibility to generate any design or layout they desire. The only exception to this is overall page layout. Keeping with the DHS mandate in terms of branding, all page headers, footers, and side bars will retain a standard look and feel. One word of caution: a poorly designed page remains a poorly designed page whether in Portal or not. ▲ OPERATIONS SYSTEMS CENTER 408 Coast Guard Drive * Kearneysville, WV * 25430