Can you briefly explain what a CMS is?
A Content Management System is the application that helps website editors to create, edit and publish their website pages. We call our current system EdWeb and it’s based on the Open Source software Drupal.
Why do we need a new one?
Nothing on the web stands still and we want to move to a much more responsive working model where our team has the skills, knowledge and experience to not only manage the service but also to control and complete all the development. In this way we can continuously improve the product.
The version of Drupal we use also reaches the end of its life in November 2023 and so we want to be fully prepared and ready to move away from this before the time comes.
What will the new features be and what will they enable us to do differently?
The biggest change initially is actually with our approach to development. We are moving towards a more ‘product’ approach where we want to continually work on improvements rather than the stop and start model of a project.
One new feature that will be available from the beginning is much more flexibility around design and layout of the homepage. This is going to be based much more on our current campaign landing page. We’ve made this change due to feedback we’ve had from our publishing community and from the workshops and surveys we’ve run over the past few years.
Can you share a little more about what the work so far has entailed?
One of the most important parts of the work so far has been upskilling our team. Not just on the technical aspects of our new cloud hosting or development of the content management system itself but also ways of working using the Agile project methodology. It’s not easy and we continue to work on our processes and communication.
What do colleagues need to do to be ready for the new publishing platform?
Our main focus is on making sure we have a named person or lead publisher for every site in EdWeb. We have very nearly completed this list and so we’ll be in contact to discuss when would be a suitable time to fit your site into our content migration schedule. We’ll be migrating right up to March 2023 so don’t worry if you’ve not heard anything just yet. We will be in touch soon.
What can we expect to see next?
Over the next few months we’ll be starting to launch sites on the new platform. This will be fairly slow at first but really ramping up from July 2022 right through to March 2023. We have more than 150 EdWeb sites to build and migrate content onto the new system.
Where can we find updates on this project?
One thing we’d definitely recommend is to read our blog and come to our monthly Web Publishers Community sessions.
Will there be an opportunity for user consultation?
There have already been many opportunities for our editors and publishers across the University to feed in via workshops, surveys, community events and more. But don’t worry if you feel you’ve not had an opportunity yet as this consultation will continue into the future as we try to meet the needs and requirements of web publishing over the years to come. If you have any immediate suggestions though do feel free to email us on email@example.com.
Photography: Douglas Robertson