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USG Web Tech Day 2017 - CMS Tunnel Vision

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USG Web Tech Day 2017 - CMS Tunnel Vision

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USG Web Tech Day 2017 - CMS Tunnel Vision

  1. 1. ESCAPING CMS
 TUNNEL VISION E R I C S E M B R AT
  2. 2. ABOUT ME Eric Sembrat • Web Manager at Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering • President for the Atlanta Drupal Users Group • Founder of USG Web • Lead for USG Web Tech Day Learn more & contact me: http://www.webbeh.com/
  3. 3. TODAY’S TASK
  4. 4. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ASKED TO DO THIS?
  5. 5. HAVE YOU HEARD? Can we use {CMS system} to do {something your CMS shouldn’t do}?
  6. 6. HAVE YOU HEARD? Why can’t {CMS system} act like {another CMS system}?
  7. 7. HAVE YOU HEARD? Can you recreate {software package} in {your CMS system}?
  8. 8. THESE AREN’T GOOD SIGNS! These kinds of questions signal a reliance and insistence on a platform rather than looking to see if the platform actually fits the project need.
  9. 9. I WAS ASKED LAST YEAR… Reliance on a platform is not sustainable.
  10. 10. I WAS ASKED LAST YEAR… Someone asked me at USG Web Tech Day 2016: How do you keep up with {all the CMS systems} you work with?
  11. 11. I WAS ASKED LAST YEAR… Someone asked me at USG Web Tech Day 2016: How do you keep up with {all the CMS systems} you work with?
  12. 12. IT IS A LOT… Yes, learning lots of tools is non-trivial and there are learning curves for each platform. Not to mention migration curves and release updates. However, as I have learned at my employment in higher education, is the truth that one size never fits all your needs. More importantly, most tools ease in usability once you overcome an introductory learning curve.
  13. 13. IT IS A LOT… More importantly, these introduction learning curves far exceed the custom code maintenance and expansion to retrofit your platform to mimic another. In this case, an ecosystem of platforms can meet the needs of your end-users without overworking and draining your development resources.
  14. 14. LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE 
 WEB ECOSYSTEM
  15. 15. IT IS A LOT… Let’s take an example of a content management system and see what it could be retrofitted to do.
  16. 16. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH Website As a Service Digital Asset Management News Repository Events Repository Faculty Profile Service Intranets College/School/ Unit Websites Customer Relationship Management Systems Mailing/ Newsletter Service
  17. 17. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH Website As a Service Digital Asset Management News Repository Events Repository Faculty Profile Service Intranets College/School/ Unit Websites Customer Relationship Management Systems Mailing/ Newsletter Service Theoretically, Drupal could accomplish all these tasks.
  18. 18. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH Website As a Service Digital Asset Management News Repository Events Repository Faculty Profile Service Intranets College/School/ Unit Websites Customer Relationship Management Systems Mailing/ Newsletter Service Which require {a lot of} custom code to properly implement?
  19. 19. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH Website As a Service Digital Asset Management News Repository Events Repository Faculty Profile Service Intranets College/School/ Unit Websites Customer Relationship Management Systems Mailing/ Newsletter Service
  20. 20. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH Website As a Service Digital Asset Management News Repository Events Repository Faculty Profile Service Intranets College/School/ Unit Websites Customer Relationship Management Systems Mailing/ Newsletter Service And what happens when {influential developer/maintainer} leaves the project?
  21. 21. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH Website As a Service Digital Asset Management News Repository Events Repository Faculty Profile Service Intranets College/School/ Unit Websites Customer Relationship Management Systems Mailing/ Newsletter Service And what happens when {influential developer/maintainer} leaves the project?
  22. 22. A LOT OF US AREN’T THAT LUCKY… Large development teams with varied and distributed web expertise are not common in our university system. Yes, you can build likely all the projects you can with custom code. But eventually, someone else (not you) has to step in to continue to support the product.
  23. 23. A LOT OF US AREN’T THAT LUCKY… Plan your escape (today).
  24. 24. SO, LET’S THINK OF WEB PLATFORMS AS JUST THAT.. We should think of a Content Management System (CMS) or web app as just that - a platform. The platform is made for {X}, {Y}, {Z}, but not necessarily {A}, {B}, or {C}. Our Web Ecosystem, then, is a combination of platforms leveraged for particular purposes. These platforms are meant to survive, even after you have left the project.
  25. 25. A PLATFORM IS MADE UP OF THREE ASPECTS… Purpose: What is its purpose in life? What can it do? Flexibility: What can it be easily shaped to do? What does the platform support? Knowledge: What does it take to gain expertise in the platform? What software, languages, and tools help you conquer it?
  26. 26. A PLATFORM IS MADE UP OF THREE ASPECTS… Where do you find these answers for a platform you’re evaluating? Look at what your peers are doing. Ask in a community-of-practice. Scour documentation on the platform. Read case studies on {your project need}. Perform your own case study. Test with a proof-of-concept.
  27. 27. EXAMPLE: GEORGIA TECH
  28. 28. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY For platforms…
  29. 29. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Georgia Tech has been singularly Drupal since its adoption in 2009/2010. No prior CMS or toolset centrally leveraged prior.
  30. 30. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Various tools have been built using Drupal: Centralized news/events service. Daily email distribution service. Pseudo custom layouts creation tool. Slideshow College Digital Asset Management tools. Project Management tools. Application workflows. Wikis. Intranets.
  31. 31. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY However, staffing changes in 2014 and 2015 began to reveal some troubling trends in web development. Custom-supported services and tools were becoming more fragile to updates and upgrades. Central services were seeing degraded service and extended upgrade windows. Projects were being shelved due to a lack of expertise in maintenance.
  32. 32. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY A perfect example being the website-as- a-service offering, called Drupal Express. Initial offering promised features, variants, and scaling-ease for Drupal usage. Staffing changes occurred on the project. Real offering was a one-size-fits-all that didn’t include any of the scaling-ease beyond pre-established work.
  33. 33. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Today, Drupal Express looks very much as it was when it was introduced in 2014. Upgrade paths for migrating the design of the product into a Drupal 8-equivalent are missing.
  34. 34. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY However, during this same time, academic units on campus were piloting additional platforms and systems for web projects. Based on needs-assessments on campus, focused on mitigating an issue with long-term branding support.
  35. 35. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Two points were considered:
 Multisite: Lots of websites under one codebase. Drupal can do this, but it is a rigid mess. Static: Providing a template-able platform for layering content. Easy for migrating static websites without reinventing HTML or learning a CMS.
  36. 36. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Drupal WordPress Jekyll Ease of Use Flexibility Knowledge Needed
  37. 37. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Development time on the Multisite was not trivial. However, the platform is very much a ‘set it and forget it’ model, especially as a free service. WordPress’ sandboxed plugin model scaffolds well for feature requests.
  38. 38. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY For tools…
  39. 39. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Georgia Tech is heavily decentralized and silo’ed. That being said, many web development practices still echo 2000’s best- practices. However, there are unit-steered movements to accelerate tools for development.
  40. 40. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Sass/Less/PostCSS - CSS processing and reusability is niche work on campus but provides chunked styling on demand. Grunt/Gulp - JS and project delivery and compilation for projects using cutting-edge features. Twig/Symfony - Drupal 8 heavily leverages these tools for theme/plugin development. Github - Our biggest success for code repository and sharing.
  41. 41. SO, HOW DO I BEGIN?
  42. 42. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY So, how do you build an institutional web ecosystem?
  43. 43. HAVE YOU HEARD? 1. Take a survey of your currently-used platforms.
  44. 44. HAVE YOU HEARD? 2. Take a similar survey of your current/upcoming needs and projects.
  45. 45. HAVE YOU HEARD? 3. Consider the health and maintainability of each list item, and if it’s the right tool for the right job.
  46. 46. PASSING YOUR PLATFORM KNOWLEDGE ON
  47. 47. TITLE A secondary goal of adopting the Web Ecosystem strategy is to codify your experiences, knowledge learned, and takeaways into your local web development community. For larger institutions, this is your IT or web professional group. For smaller institutions, this is your regional professional groups (USG Web, for example).
  48. 48. TITLE The purpose of this is both to pass on the knowledge to a larger group from your experiences, but also to document your project and successes/failures. This can take the form of a mailing list community, a Wiki/documentation repository, a document portal, a blog, or even a tweet(s).
  49. 49. TITLE PLEASE DOCUMENT 
 YOUR WORK
  50. 50. QUESTIONS?
  51. 51. QUESTIONS?

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