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Web Services

Category Archive: CMS

Moving Forward with WordPress

In June 2012, we reached the point in our CommonSpot implementation where it was either full speed ahead or change direction immediately. We had over 30 websites in the new template, ready to load into the CMS and begin official rollout.

However, something was greatly bothering us. Almost three years after the initial decision, was CommonSpot still the right CMS for UW-Green Bay? There were a number of reasons it was selected originally (many documented here in this blog), but are there different items to consider today?

I won’t go into detail here, but the bottom line is that CommonSpot is now used by around .01% of websites that use a CMS. WordPress is now used by 54% of websites that use a CMS. (July 2012)

Can it work for higher ed? WordPress is gaining a lot of ground in our sector. A public Google doc of some of the institutions using it can be found at http://bit.ly/fIDFH9.

WordPress has an extremely large developer community, contributing plug-ins, widgets, and themes every day. WordPress is very well documented with the WordPress Codex http://codex.wordpress.org/ and has good inline documentation in its source code.

WordPress and PHP are easier to hire for and we would have more interested applicants, even with our current salary limits. Campus web developers and Web Services student employees can be active participants in CMS development, requiring less specialized skills.

What about mobile? Responsive web pages can be built using WordPress. WordPress does not inhibit use of Responsive Web Design, which is our current mobile strategy. The administrative area is mobile-friendly and there is a free WordPress app available to those who are interested.

WordPress will help us reduce costs and increase efficiency every step of the way… from template/theme development and site creation to site maintenance, server maintenance, end-user training, and web developer training.

WordPress is great, but don’t take our word for it. Learn more about its features here: http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Features

CommonSpot Project Plan

For those interested, here are our latest target dates for the CMS:

CMS Selection 4Q’09
CMS Procurement 2Q’10
Internal Training May – June 2010
Hardware/Software Procurement May – June 2010
Hardware/Software Installation June 2010 – September 2011
Configuration/Customization – LDAP Integration, Users/Groups/Roles setup October 2011
Template Creation – Base, Base + 1, Navigation, Global elements November 2011
Rollout/Migration of Academic Programs January 2012 – June 2012
Rollout/Migration of other sites To follow academics; July 2012 – Dec 2013
QA/QC Ongoing
User Training Ongoing – begin with online documentation and small-group training with single departments; expand to scheduled training events.

CommonSpot Environment Complete

After much back-end work and preparation, both the test and production environments of CommonSpot v6.2 are ready as of yesterday.

ColdFusion and CommonSpot are both installed on WEBA, with CommonSpot making use of a dedicated MS SQL server for its database. Each environment consists of an Authoring Server, Database Server, and Web Server.

CommonSpot Temporarily Stalled

For those interested in the latest CommonSpot implementation status, we don’t have much exciting news to report – yet.

The good news is that we’re working hard to make our first CMS template represent the new academic design, be user-friendly, and easy to maintain by our users. We are finding that doing this right takes time and research (while climbing the learning curve). The time required is even longer as we fit the CMS work in among other important projects in our development queue.

We are currently in the process of installing CommonSpot’s Application Development Framework (ADF) which will allow us to develop custom web applications within the CMS. The ADF will also help with the build of our main navigation in the academic template.

Deciding to move forward with the ADF and completing the actual installation of it has delayed us a bit, but we hope to be moving forward again very soon. Our rollout timeline will depend on how quickly our new template can be ready after the ADF is in place.

We will keep you updated as things progress.

CommonSpot Implementation Begins

The development environment installation of CommonSpot was completed on October 27, 2010. Web Services is currently in the process of establishing the base template along with the academic department template, interior page templates, and style sheets.

This initial implementation will take time as we learn the system and complete all necessary setup tasks. We can then proceed with the live production environment installation. We hope to have our first CommonSpot site, Urban & Regional Studies, go live over winter break.

As we complete this first site, we are preparing a Migration Guide which can be used by future sites to help with the transition to CommonSpot. Training will be given at first on a site-by-site basis as each goes live. After a few successful site launches, we plan to conduct training in a more formal fashion. Stay tuned!

FrontPage Server Extensions Are No More

Although Information Services at UW-Green Bay has not supported FrontPage Server Extensions for years, FPSEs are now officially removed from the WEBA web server.

This was done not only as a clean-up effort, but to prepare for the Web CMS implementation of CommonSpot over the next few months.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to accomplish certain tasks without using FPSEs, please contact Web Services.

Web Server Upgrades and CommonSpot Preparation

Information Services is moving forward with a number of big initiatives this summer. We’d like to bring a few of these to your attention so you can plan accordingly.

June 7, 2010 – FRONTPAGE SERVER EXTENSIONS

All remaining FrontPage server extensions will be removed from WEBA. If anyone on your team still connects remotely using FrontPage extensions to edit a website, the connection process will need to be updated

June 14, 2010 – WEBC UPGRADE

WEBC will be upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2, 64-bit, IIS V7.5. Please plan for WEBC to be offline the first half of the day. After the upgrade, web developers will want to test their web sites to ensure things continue to function. This is a significant upgrade, and items that should be checked include:

  • Proper file type display in browsers – in particular new and old audio/visual file types (MPEG-4, etc.)
  • Proper permissions on secure folders (/campus/ and individual secure directories)
  • Ability to edit sites remotely via WebDAV
  • Local built web applications based on .NET 1.1 through 3.5
  • Third-party applications

We will also be removing FTP access to the WEBC server in lieu of more secure file transfer methods included in IIS V7.5. More details on this will be sent prior to the upgrade of WEBC.

August 2010 – WEBA UPGRADE

The WEBA upgrade is currently slotted for early August. More details on this will be sent in upcoming weeks.

We are working hard to upgrade all of our web servers and prepare the CommonSpot Web CMS infrastructure before fall semester.

CommonSpot Contacts Identified

Our CommonSpot licensing is complete and the following people have been designated as contacts here on campus.

Designated Support Reps

These ‘super users’ are the primary points of contact with PaperThin’s Support Team. DSRs may submit support incidents using the Integrated Support Module or PaperThin website.  Once submitted, these incidents can be tracked online.

  • Bridget Bishop
  • Dean DeFere
  • David Kieper
  • Eric Lightbody

Additional Users

CommonSpot Users can access a wide array of PaperThin support services including the Knowledge Base (Document Library, FAQs, Knowledge Articles), Community site, and webinars.

  • Dan Moore
  • Todd Sanders
  • Jon Simonsen
  • Kimberly Vlies
  • Paul Wikgren

CommonSpot Training Dates Set

Dates and locations have been finalized for our upcoming CommonSpot training.
  • Fundamentals, Location: UW-Green Bay, May 11-13
  • Advanced Developer, Location: UW-River Falls, June 2-4
  • ADF, Location: UW-Milwaukee, June 23-25

CommonSpot Funding Approved

Full funding was approved today for CommonSpot to move forward!

This funding includes the license buy-in, hardware, server software, and training. Time to get moving!