Main Nav

We're in the process of reviewing our Content Management System and website provision.

One aspect of this is can or should we go Open Source?

 

Over and above the technology though, I'm interested in the people managing the website:

-          What they're allowed to do editorially and design-wise

-          Who gets access to what and why

-          How they can share content and cross reference

-          How they're supported from the centre

 

I've created a suite of user scenarios to help express to developers currently investigation CMS options the kind of thing we're looking to achieve:

http://bit.ly/UoE-CMS-scenarios

 

The question of what CMS you're using comes up at regular intervals (e.g. http://www.educause.edu/discuss/networking-and-emerging-technologies/web-professionals-constituent-group/cms-suggestions) but for me, the answer to this depends on organisational culture, business requirements and resources available. There is no one right answer. And that’s why I’m going down the user-centred road.

 

Edinburgh is quite a large UK university, with responsibility for website management devolved to individual schools and units. Over the past 4+ years, my team has worked to bring as many as possible into a single, centrally managed CMS and to provide a high level of user support and training. Things are by no means perfect – all the comments you’d expect from a 600+ user group across 70+ schools and units about clunky, overly constricting technology – but our support to a mainly low-tech, time-poor editorial group is valued. We’ve found that everyone using the same tool in broadly the same way has contributed to the fostering of a web publishing community and a common language amongst users.

 

My questions

 

Do you work in a similar way to us? Either now, or aspire to? (Take a look at my user scenarios http://bit.ly/UoE-CMS-scenarios)

 

If you do, what Web CMS tool(s) do you use?

 

Anybody tried anything like this with an open source CMS like Drupal?

 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

PS. I ran a workshop earlier this year at a UK web managers conference which asked a related question about how users are managed. See: http://bit.ly/OG3yAB

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

Web: www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

Blog: www.usability-ed.blogspot.co.uk

Twitter: @usabilityed

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

“One aspect of this is can or should we go Open Source?”

 

That should not drive your decision. It is, rather, an attribute of the products in your search. Acquisition costs and the value of being able to customize the code (this can have a negative value!) are only a fraction of the TCO of a product.

I recommend figuring out where you want to go and what you want to do with WCM (web content management), then start looking at products, both open and closed source.

 

We happen to use Sitecore, a commercial product with open-ish source (they let you decompile it), for our main WCM, but it’s in a CMS ecosystem that includes FOSS products like WordPress and Drupal for certain point solutions.

 

I feel that WordPress and Drupal can be a pain in the butt to manage in enterprisey scenarios like yours. They are really not a true enterprise setup but rather a bunch of individual product installations with some tools to ease management pain. This can make it difficult to achieve some of the larger CMS goals, especially content reuse or sophisticated marketing analytics.

 

Aren

 

I would be happy to review with you how we developed WordPress Multi-Network at the University of Mary Washington. We've been running it for over a year now as an enterprise, University-wide CMS. It has scaled beautifully and cost next to nothing in terms of resources. We have identified some must-have plugins, and used a framework with a large developer base so that support has been amazing (free support). I say this after coming out of using other commercial systems, including MS Sharepoint, and can say that for fulfilling your need to support the naive content manager base, with limited development resources at your disposal, WordPress Mult-Network is truly remarkable. Those who say otherwise have not used WP in a long time. It's not your 2005 WordPress anymore, and just 3 years ago I never would have gone this route, but I'm so glad we did. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Cathy Finn-Derecki Director of Web Communications University Relations and Communications University of Mary Washington 1301 College Avenue Fredericksburg, VA 22401 cderecki@umw.edu mobile: 540-842-7216 ________________________________________

Having experience with both SharePoint and WordPress Network (we’re running both, and I’m the main WP Network admin here), I’ll agree with you that a WordPress Network is a much better WCM than SharePoint. SharePoint is challenging as a WCM.

 

However, also being experienced with a market-leading commercial WCM, I can also attest there’s a lot that a WordPress Network cannot do because of its design and history.

 

In the end, the right system depends on your needs.

 

Aren

 

If you would give details on that, I'd be happy to see if what we have done has addressed those specific marketing issues. Also, we are using Multi-Network, which we pioneered, and which is far superior to WP Network only. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Cathy Finn-Derecki Director of Web Communications University Relations and Communications University of Mary Washington 1301 College Avenue Fredericksburg, VA 22401 cderecki@umw.edu mobile: 540-842-7216 ________________________________________ From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren [acambre@MAIL.SMU.EDU] Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 10:36 AM To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)? Having experience with both SharePoint and WordPress Network (we’re running both, and I’m the main WP Network admin here), I’ll agree with you that a WordPress Network is a much better WCM than SharePoint. SharePoint is challenging as a WCM. However, also being experienced with a market-leading commercial WCM, I can also attest there’s a lot that a WordPress Network cannot do because of its design and history. In the end, the right system depends on your needs. Aren

We’ve been piloting a couple of WordPress sites at TCU and our security team has been very reluctant to sign off on it because of multiple security issues.  In fact one area University outsourced it’s WordPress servers because they did not believe they could keep up with the patching of the environments.  How have you all addressed those concerns? 

 

Our team realizes there are many things you can do to address WP security issues (changing presentation identifiers, table names, passwords, etc), and that patching is critical – but they believe because there are so many WP sites that it will continue to be a real problem.  I’m curious what your take is on that. 

 

Glad to see these questions (and Aren’s always thoughtful answers) bring this very help listserv to life!

 

Josh Harmon

TCU

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 9:36 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

Having experience with both SharePoint and WordPress Network (we’re running both, and I’m the main WP Network admin here), I’ll agree with you that a WordPress Network is a much better WCM than SharePoint. SharePoint is challenging as a WCM.

 

However, also being experienced with a market-leading commercial WCM, I can also attest there’s a lot that a WordPress Network cannot do because of its design and history.

 

In the end, the right system depends on your needs.

 

Aren

 

We’ve been running a WordPress Network for almost 2 years, and I am not aware of an exploit. Of course, that probably means the bad guys are already in my system. ;-)

 

We have some border protection, so that may help.

 

Keeping non-customized WordPress code updated is very easy. It can all be handled through the UI. The WordPress exploits I’ve been aware of in the wild were usually because of non-updated code or plugins.

 

“Aren’s always thoughtful answers”

(mumble mumble) iron skillet (mumble mumble) dangit (mumble)

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Harmon, Josh
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 9:45 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

We’ve been piloting a couple of WordPress sites at TCU and our security team has been very reluctant to sign off on it because of multiple security issues.  In fact one area University outsourced it’s WordPress servers because they did not believe they could keep up with the patching of the environments.  How have you all addressed those concerns? 

 

Our team realizes there are many things you can do to address WP security issues (changing presentation identifiers, table names, passwords, etc), and that patching is critical – but they believe because there are so many WP sites that it will continue to be a real problem.  I’m curious what your take is on that. 

 

Glad to see these questions (and Aren’s always thoughtful answers) bring this very help listserv to life!

 

Josh Harmon

TCU

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 9:36 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

Having experience with both SharePoint and WordPress Network (we’re running both, and I’m the main WP Network admin here), I’ll agree with you that a WordPress Network is a much better WCM than SharePoint. SharePoint is challenging as a WCM.

 

However, also being experienced with a market-leading commercial WCM, I can also attest there’s a lot that a WordPress Network cannot do because of its design and history.

 

In the end, the right system depends on your needs.

 

Aren

 

We have had no security issues and have passed our monthly security scans every time. That being said, we have done a few things differently. We have created custom roles so that site admins CANNOT choose a theme. The inline editor is disabled. We have one University theme and that's it. It is built on the Genesis Framework by StudioPress so there is a core of respected WP developers seeing to the security of the theme. We have a development, staging, and production environment and can scan each one. We have built additional site options into the Genesis theme settings and developed multiple layout possibilities that can be managed within the theme settings and for individual sites and pages. This gives folks flexibility without having to hand over the keys to the code. Multi-Network allows us to do this within a single WP installation, which is the key to scalability and upgrades. We apply WP updates immediately. WP has a great reputation for getting on security patches quickly, and we've had no troubles. Genesis SEO framework has been very user-friendly and we have good Google "Juice," for a small institution, so I'm not entirely sure what the marketing concerns are. However, I'd be interested to know because if I can fix these, I'd love to :) -Cathy ---------------------------------------------------------------- Cathy Finn-Derecki Director of Web Communications University Relations and Communications University of Mary Washington 1301 College Avenue Fredericksburg, VA 22401 cderecki@umw.edu mobile: 540-842-7216 ________________________________________ From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Harmon, Josh [j.harmon@TCU.EDU] Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 10:44 AM To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)? We’ve been piloting a couple of WordPress sites at TCU and our security team has been very reluctant to sign off on it because of multiple security issues. In fact one area University outsourced it’s WordPress servers because they did not believe they could keep up with the patching of the environments. How have you all addressed those concerns? Our team realizes there are many things you can do to address WP security issues (changing presentation identifiers, table names, passwords, etc), and that patching is critical – but they believe because there are so many WP sites that it will continue to be a real problem. I’m curious what your take is on that. Glad to see these questions (and Aren’s always thoughtful answers) bring this very help listserv to life! Josh Harmon TCU From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 9:36 AM To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)? Having experience with both SharePoint and WordPress Network (we’re running both, and I’m the main WP Network admin here), I’ll agree with you that a WordPress Network is a much better WCM than SharePoint. SharePoint is challenging as a WCM. However, also being experienced with a market-leading commercial WCM, I can also attest there’s a lot that a WordPress Network cannot do because of its design and history. In the end, the right system depends on your needs. Aren

Are you talking about http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-multi-network/?

 

It may be difficult to compare your WordPress experience to my Sitecore experience because of institution size and economy of scale. For smaller or less complex web presences (and “smaller and less complex” is not pejorative—it can be a very good thing!), WordPress can make a lot of sense as the main WCM. As I said earlier, the right product depends on your needs. I just believe that for large, complex, or ambitious projects, commercial CMSes are often able to do things that are difficult with the OSS products, like enterprise security, content reuse, etc.

 

Aren

 

No. That's an old plugin that no one in their right mind would use given that it's been abandoned. I guess what I'm reacting to is the broad brush with which WordPress is being characterized. I'm glad you have the resources for SiteCore. We don't, and after dealing with lags in vendor lockin by the likes of Sungard and Sharepoint, WordPress has been a flexible, manageable breath of fresh air. Our institution has three colleges, graduate programs, and multiple subdomains. All areas of the University have deployed their own network on the Multi-Network environment. And it scales to more complex ares. Within our installation, we have developed amazing functionality and plugins that all sites can use: Faculty social media aggregation, Google Maps integration, XML feed integration with BoardDocs and Banner Web Services, and it goes on. We can do anything with it because we built it. Here is a presentation about WP Multi-Network by our lead developer, Curtiss Grymala. We've not released it into the repository because we keep fussing with it :) http://www.slideshare.net/cgrymala/wordpress-multinetwork And as for large vs. small universities, the obstacles there are not technology scale so much as culture. But, that's not something new to anyone who does higher education web stuff. In the end, it's not the size of the CMS -- it's the magic you make with it :) -Cathy ---------------------------------------------------------------- Cathy Finn-Derecki Director of Web Communications University Relations and Communications University of Mary Washington 1301 College Avenue Fredericksburg, VA 22401 cderecki@umw.edu mobile: 540-842-7216 ________________________________________ From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren [acambre@MAIL.SMU.EDU] Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 11:15 AM To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)? Are you talking about http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-multi-network/? It may be difficult to compare your WordPress experience to my Sitecore experience because of institution size and economy of scale. For smaller or less complex web presences (and “smaller and less complex” is not pejorative—it can be a very good thing!), WordPress can make a lot of sense as the main WCM. As I said earlier, the right product depends on your needs. I just believe that for large, complex, or ambitious projects, commercial CMSes are often able to do things that are difficult with the OSS products, like enterprise security, content reuse, etc. Aren
Thank you all for your contributions and thoughts. I've taken a quick look at some sites in the discussion and it appears we're operating on a larger scale. >> "And as for large vs. small universities, the obstacles there are not technology scale so much as culture." Agreed! :) It is interesting to hear that Wordpress is starting to be used in an enterprise way. Is it possible to share content in the kinds of ways I cover in my use scenarios, for example? >> "I feel that WordPress and Drupal can be a pain in the butt to manage in enterprisey scenarios like yours. They are really not a true enterprise setup but rather a bunch of individual product installations with some tools to ease management pain. This can make it difficult to achieve some of the larger CMS goals, especially content reuse or sophisticated marketing analytics." It's interesting how this comment has kicked off a load of Wordpress-related dialogue. Anyone know of institutions attempting to meet the enterprise challenge with Drupal? Thanks! N ********************************* Neil Allison University Website Programme The University of Edinburgh 0131 650 9513 www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme ********************************* The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
NJIT is attempting to meet the enterprise challenge using Drupal. John Krane Assistant Director, Web Services Office of Strategic Communications New Jersey Institute of Technology e: krane@njit.edu p: 973-596-5465 f: 973-642-4555

I find Drupal to be fundamentally similar to WordPress for enterprise scaling challenges. Instead of really being a comprehensive enterprise WCM, you're really flying multiple instances of Drupal. Still, there's tools that can make this much easier, but content reuse may be a challenge, for example.

 

Drupal could have a shot of being a single instance enterprise platform if it could add a third dimension to its security model, but that doesn't appear to be a priority for its developers.

 

If you don't have significant expertise in either Drupal or WordPress, I generally recommend going with WordPress if it meets your needs. Drupal is really powerful, but it can be much more complex than WordPress.

 

Aren

 

On 10/10/2012 08:53 AM, ALLISON Neil wrote: > Anyone know of institutions attempting to meet the enterprise > challenge with Drupal? Quite a few. Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Oregon State University, and the University of Oregon. Many many more, these are just the few off the top of my head. I'd be happy to put you in touch. Extremely large enterprises are fielding Drupal. As with any large scale complex system, it is not easy to master. There are no silver bullets, just good tools. Drupal is a good tool. ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
Message from troiani@rowan.edu

As is Rowan University.  We have been trying for almost 4 years but as we're extremely limited with web staff (for a 2 year stretch of period I was the only coder) we hired an outside firm for the initial build since even though we have experience with Drupal.  As some others have mentioned before Drupal is very powerful but it can get complicated very quickly even if you do know what you're doing.

Also, for those that spoke of ending up with multiple instances of Drupal we're trying to mitigate all that overhead using the Organic Groups module and have had heard of others having successes in a higher ed setting as well.  Of course there are always things like Aegir if you'd like to have many separate Drupal instances but we found that this unnecessarily complicates things though you might need to go the multi-site route if you have wildly different requirements for your other sites. We're trying to get buy-in institution wide to live within our framework to increase branding and ease of maintenance.


Frank Troiani
Assistant Director
University Web Services
Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ
(856) 256 5182



We did look at Drupal’s Organic Groups to be the foundation of a Drupal-based enterprise calendar, but we couldn’t make it work without so much $$$-worth of customization and ongoing maintenance that Active Data Calendar, a commercial product, came in far cheaper. We even checked with a  well-regarded local Drupal consultancy to make sure we aren’t missing something.

 

Here’s an example of the biggest problem: if we had one content type of event, we had no way to make it so that a computer science department owner’s event couldn’t be edited by, say, an English department user. That’s the third dimension of security that’s really needed for enterprise security.

 

Now, admittedly, the last time we looked was mid-2010. That and some other comments prompted me to write this mini-screed: http://arencambre.com/blog/2010/01/21/drupal-doesnt-get-enterprise/. Drupal 7 doesn’t meaningfully change this lack of an enterprise security model.

 

Also, the examples given previously of major schools using Drupal don’t appear to be comprehensive enterprise WCMs. Rather, they all appear to be spot uses for specific purposes or the “flying many instances” model I mentioned previously.

 

Now let me be clear: I think Drupal is a great product, and I recommend it for certain uses. I use it in several personal sites, and we have it behind three major sites at SMU: http://mcs.smu.edu/media/, http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/ (that school doesn’t like our enterprise calendar, so they maintain their own), and http://guildhallportfolios.smu.edu/. But I wouldn’t dream of using it where we are currently using Sitecore, for our main marketing web presence at www.smu.edu. On that single Sitecore system, we have our main presence and many school and departmental sites, all centrally managed with content sharing, comprehensive marketing analytics opportunities, etc. That would be really challenging with the “flying many instances” models of WordPress and Drupal as enterprise CMSes.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Troiani, Francis J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:21 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

As is Rowan University.  We have been trying for almost 4 years but as we're extremely limited with web staff (for a 2 year stretch of period I was the only coder) we hired an outside firm for the initial build since even though we have experience with Drupal.  As some others have mentioned before Drupal is very powerful but it can get complicated very quickly even if you do know what you're doing.

 

Also, for those that spoke of ending up with multiple instances of Drupal we're trying to mitigate all that overhead using the Organic Groups module and have had heard of others having successes in a higher ed setting as well.  Of course there are always things like Aegir if you'd like to have many separate Drupal instances but we found that this unnecessarily complicates things though you might need to go the multi-site route if you have wildly different requirements for your other sites. We're trying to get buy-in institution wide to live within our framework to increase branding and ease of maintenance.

 


Frank Troiani

Assistant Director

University Web Services

Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ

(856) 256 5182

 

 

 

Thank you all once again J

 

We’ll keep plugging away at this and if anything comes up which I think will be of interest to the group on this thread I’ll get back to you.

 

Aren – on the ‘Drupal doesn’t get enterprise’ post, I thought this might interest you:

 

COMPETING WITH GIANTS - HOW TO WIN WITH DRUPAL VS PROPRIETARY ALTERNATIVES

(Basically it's the Vice President of Marketing at Acquia talking to the Drupal community on what they need to do to get access into the big business, enterprise website management scale organisations and compete with proprietry CMS vendors.)

 

It's good because he's very open about the strengths, weaknesses and challenges facing the Drupal community.

 

Slides on Slideshare:

http://www.slideshare.net/AcquiaInc/competing-with-giants-how-to-win-with-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives-12106746

 

Audio and slides:

http://denver2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/competing-giants-how-win-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives

 

 

 

Cheers

 

 

N

 

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: 10 October 2012 17:32
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

We did look at Drupal’s Organic Groups to be the foundation of a Drupal-based enterprise calendar, but we couldn’t make it work without so much $$$-worth of customization and ongoing maintenance that Active Data Calendar, a commercial product, came in far cheaper. We even checked with a  well-regarded local Drupal consultancy to make sure we aren’t missing something.

 

Here’s an example of the biggest problem: if we had one content type of event, we had no way to make it so that a computer science department owner’s event couldn’t be edited by, say, an English department user. That’s the third dimension of security that’s really needed for enterprise security.

 

Now, admittedly, the last time we looked was mid-2010. That and some other comments prompted me to write this mini-screed: http://arencambre.com/blog/2010/01/21/drupal-doesnt-get-enterprise/. Drupal 7 doesn’t meaningfully change this lack of an enterprise security model.

 

Also, the examples given previously of major schools using Drupal don’t appear to be comprehensive enterprise WCMs. Rather, they all appear to be spot uses for specific purposes or the “flying many instances” model I mentioned previously.

 

Now let me be clear: I think Drupal is a great product, and I recommend it for certain uses. I use it in several personal sites, and we have it behind three major sites at SMU: http://mcs.smu.edu/media/, http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/ (that school doesn’t like our enterprise calendar, so they maintain their own), and http://guildhallportfolios.smu.edu/. But I wouldn’t dream of using it where we are currently using Sitecore, for our main marketing web presence at www.smu.edu. On that single Sitecore system, we have our main presence and many school and departmental sites, all centrally managed with content sharing, comprehensive marketing analytics opportunities, etc. That would be really challenging with the “flying many instances” models of WordPress and Drupal as enterprise CMSes.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Troiani, Francis J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:21 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

As is Rowan University.  We have been trying for almost 4 years but as we're extremely limited with web staff (for a 2 year stretch of period I was the only coder) we hired an outside firm for the initial build since even though we have experience with Drupal.  As some others have mentioned before Drupal is very powerful but it can get complicated very quickly even if you do know what you're doing.

 

Also, for those that spoke of ending up with multiple instances of Drupal we're trying to mitigate all that overhead using the Organic Groups module and have had heard of others having successes in a higher ed setting as well.  Of course there are always things like Aegir if you'd like to have many separate Drupal instances but we found that this unnecessarily complicates things though you might need to go the multi-site route if you have wildly different requirements for your other sites. We're trying to get buy-in institution wide to live within our framework to increase branding and ease of maintenance.

 


Frank Troiani

Assistant Director

University Web Services

Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ

(856) 256 5182

 

 

 

My thoughts on the presentation J:

·         Slide 14: confirms my story, that pervasive, enterprise-wide Drupal is really flying a bunch of individual instances of the product.

·         Slide 22: Acquia (effectively Drupal’s parent company) did make the 2012 Gartner magic quadrant for WCM, roughly in the 40th percentile. Interestingly, Gartner’s listed strengths and weaknesses were mostly about Acquia the company, not Drupal the product.

·         Slide 24: I’ve run into the delays with modernizing key modules. For example, took a very long time to get a production release of the Views module out after Drupal 7 was released. With no Views, you have no useful Drupal for a huge % of users.

·         Slide 30: These weaknesses are significant in an enterprise setting.

·         Slide 37: I disagree that a hierarchical folder organization is bad. In fact, I’ve run into a lot of cases where visualization of my Drupal content would be immensely helpful. Now, the problem would be if the hierarchical folder organization is how the data is organized on the back end. With Sitecore, it’s just a human-friendly representation of the data. When you develop for Sitecore, you are free to ignore it.

·         Slide 43: Wrong. Drupal has no competitive advantage with content services delivery. What they deliver is on part with other systems.

·         Slides 49-52: These appear to be anti-examples to higher ed. Higher ed can have massively distributed authorship; these are tightly controlled sites.

·         Slides 53-54: The alternative products aren’t known as WCM leaders. Straw man argument.

 

On the net, this presentation doesn’t address my concerns with Drupal as an enterprise-wide solution. I still say it can have great use cases for departmental-scope solutions, or even to enterprise-wide solutions that are really fully owned by a department, but there remain significant added costs of Drupal you have to plan around.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of ALLISON Neil
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 8:27 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

Thank you all once again J

 

We’ll keep plugging away at this and if anything comes up which I think will be of interest to the group on this thread I’ll get back to you.

 

Aren – on the ‘Drupal doesn’t get enterprise’ post, I thought this might interest you:

 

COMPETING WITH GIANTS - HOW TO WIN WITH DRUPAL VS PROPRIETARY ALTERNATIVES

(Basically it's the Vice President of Marketing at Acquia talking to the Drupal community on what they need to do to get access into the big business, enterprise website management scale organisations and compete with proprietry CMS vendors.)

 

It's good because he's very open about the strengths, weaknesses and challenges facing the Drupal community.

 

Slides on Slideshare:

http://www.slideshare.net/AcquiaInc/competing-with-giants-how-to-win-with-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives-12106746

 

Audio and slides:

http://denver2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/competing-giants-how-win-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives

 

 

 

Cheers

 

 

N

 

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: 10 October 2012 17:32
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

We did look at Drupal’s Organic Groups to be the foundation of a Drupal-based enterprise calendar, but we couldn’t make it work without so much $$$-worth of customization and ongoing maintenance that Active Data Calendar, a commercial product, came in far cheaper. We even checked with a  well-regarded local Drupal consultancy to make sure we aren’t missing something.

 

Here’s an example of the biggest problem: if we had one content type of event, we had no way to make it so that a computer science department owner’s event couldn’t be edited by, say, an English department user. That’s the third dimension of security that’s really needed for enterprise security.

 

Now, admittedly, the last time we looked was mid-2010. That and some other comments prompted me to write this mini-screed: http://arencambre.com/blog/2010/01/21/drupal-doesnt-get-enterprise/. Drupal 7 doesn’t meaningfully change this lack of an enterprise security model.

 

Also, the examples given previously of major schools using Drupal don’t appear to be comprehensive enterprise WCMs. Rather, they all appear to be spot uses for specific purposes or the “flying many instances” model I mentioned previously.

 

Now let me be clear: I think Drupal is a great product, and I recommend it for certain uses. I use it in several personal sites, and we have it behind three major sites at SMU: http://mcs.smu.edu/media/, http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/ (that school doesn’t like our enterprise calendar, so they maintain their own), and http://guildhallportfolios.smu.edu/. But I wouldn’t dream of using it where we are currently using Sitecore, for our main marketing web presence at www.smu.edu. On that single Sitecore system, we have our main presence and many school and departmental sites, all centrally managed with content sharing, comprehensive marketing analytics opportunities, etc. That would be really challenging with the “flying many instances” models of WordPress and Drupal as enterprise CMSes.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Troiani, Francis J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:21 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

As is Rowan University.  We have been trying for almost 4 years but as we're extremely limited with web staff (for a 2 year stretch of period I was the only coder) we hired an outside firm for the initial build since even though we have experience with Drupal.  As some others have mentioned before Drupal is very powerful but it can get complicated very quickly even if you do know what you're doing.

 

Also, for those that spoke of ending up with multiple instances of Drupal we're trying to mitigate all that overhead using the Organic Groups module and have had heard of others having successes in a higher ed setting as well.  Of course there are always things like Aegir if you'd like to have many separate Drupal instances but we found that this unnecessarily complicates things though you might need to go the multi-site route if you have wildly different requirements for your other sites. We're trying to get buy-in institution wide to live within our framework to increase branding and ease of maintenance.

 


Frank Troiani

Assistant Director

University Web Services

Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ

(856) 256 5182

 

 

 

Wow. Thank you. Lots to digest here.

 

Shame there aren’t any Acqui folk on the list J

 

Have a good weekend.

 

N

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: 12 October 2012 15:12
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

My thoughts on the presentation J:

·         Slide 14: confirms my story, that pervasive, enterprise-wide Drupal is really flying a bunch of individual instances of the product.

·         Slide 22: Acquia (effectively Drupal’s parent company) did make the 2012 Gartner magic quadrant for WCM, roughly in the 40th percentile. Interestingly, Gartner’s listed strengths and weaknesses were mostly about Acquia the company, not Drupal the product.

·         Slide 24: I’ve run into the delays with modernizing key modules. For example, took a very long time to get a production release of the Views module out after Drupal 7 was released. With no Views, you have no useful Drupal for a huge % of users.

·         Slide 30: These weaknesses are significant in an enterprise setting.

·         Slide 37: I disagree that a hierarchical folder organization is bad. In fact, I’ve run into a lot of cases where visualization of my Drupal content would be immensely helpful. Now, the problem would be if the hierarchical folder organization is how the data is organized on the back end. With Sitecore, it’s just a human-friendly representation of the data. When you develop for Sitecore, you are free to ignore it.

·         Slide 43: Wrong. Drupal has no competitive advantage with content services delivery. What they deliver is on part with other systems.

·         Slides 49-52: These appear to be anti-examples to higher ed. Higher ed can have massively distributed authorship; these are tightly controlled sites.

·         Slides 53-54: The alternative products aren’t known as WCM leaders. Straw man argument.

 

On the net, this presentation doesn’t address my concerns with Drupal as an enterprise-wide solution. I still say it can have great use cases for departmental-scope solutions, or even to enterprise-wide solutions that are really fully owned by a department, but there remain significant added costs of Drupal you have to plan around.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of ALLISON Neil
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 8:27 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

Thank you all once again J

 

We’ll keep plugging away at this and if anything comes up which I think will be of interest to the group on this thread I’ll get back to you.

 

Aren – on the ‘Drupal doesn’t get enterprise’ post, I thought this might interest you:

 

COMPETING WITH GIANTS - HOW TO WIN WITH DRUPAL VS PROPRIETARY ALTERNATIVES

(Basically it's the Vice President of Marketing at Acquia talking to the Drupal community on what they need to do to get access into the big business, enterprise website management scale organisations and compete with proprietry CMS vendors.)

 

It's good because he's very open about the strengths, weaknesses and challenges facing the Drupal community.

 

Slides on Slideshare:

http://www.slideshare.net/AcquiaInc/competing-with-giants-how-to-win-with-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives-12106746

 

Audio and slides:

http://denver2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/competing-giants-how-win-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives

 

 

 

Cheers

 

 

N

 

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: 10 October 2012 17:32
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

We did look at Drupal’s Organic Groups to be the foundation of a Drupal-based enterprise calendar, but we couldn’t make it work without so much $$$-worth of customization and ongoing maintenance that Active Data Calendar, a commercial product, came in far cheaper. We even checked with a  well-regarded local Drupal consultancy to make sure we aren’t missing something.

 

Here’s an example of the biggest problem: if we had one content type of event, we had no way to make it so that a computer science department owner’s event couldn’t be edited by, say, an English department user. That’s the third dimension of security that’s really needed for enterprise security.

 

Now, admittedly, the last time we looked was mid-2010. That and some other comments prompted me to write this mini-screed: http://arencambre.com/blog/2010/01/21/drupal-doesnt-get-enterprise/. Drupal 7 doesn’t meaningfully change this lack of an enterprise security model.

 

Also, the examples given previously of major schools using Drupal don’t appear to be comprehensive enterprise WCMs. Rather, they all appear to be spot uses for specific purposes or the “flying many instances” model I mentioned previously.

 

Now let me be clear: I think Drupal is a great product, and I recommend it for certain uses. I use it in several personal sites, and we have it behind three major sites at SMU: http://mcs.smu.edu/media/, http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/ (that school doesn’t like our enterprise calendar, so they maintain their own), and http://guildhallportfolios.smu.edu/. But I wouldn’t dream of using it where we are currently using Sitecore, for our main marketing web presence at www.smu.edu. On that single Sitecore system, we have our main presence and many school and departmental sites, all centrally managed with content sharing, comprehensive marketing analytics opportunities, etc. That would be really challenging with the “flying many instances” models of WordPress and Drupal as enterprise CMSes.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Troiani, Francis J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:21 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

As is Rowan University.  We have been trying for almost 4 years but as we're extremely limited with web staff (for a 2 year stretch of period I was the only coder) we hired an outside firm for the initial build since even though we have experience with Drupal.  As some others have mentioned before Drupal is very powerful but it can get complicated very quickly even if you do know what you're doing.

 

Also, for those that spoke of ending up with multiple instances of Drupal we're trying to mitigate all that overhead using the Organic Groups module and have had heard of others having successes in a higher ed setting as well.  Of course there are always things like Aegir if you'd like to have many separate Drupal instances but we found that this unnecessarily complicates things though you might need to go the multi-site route if you have wildly different requirements for your other sites. We're trying to get buy-in institution wide to live within our framework to increase branding and ease of maintenance.

 


Frank Troiani

Assistant Director

University Web Services

Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ

(856) 256 5182

 

 

 

We probably aren’t a large enough to be considered “Enterprise” but we have been using Drupal since about 2006, for pretty much our entire web presence. Additionally, I know that our “parent” organization (Florida Hospital) runs all of their internal department sites and their front page on Drupal. In our experience some of these complains are very valid and others are flat wrong. I’ll attempt to summarize what I have learned below.

 

Important Drupal limitations

·         It must own everything it does.

o   Want to display information from a third party? Be prepared to import it, and display the imported data. There are ways around this, but take my advice you are creating a world of hurt for yourself if you go that route.

o   This also impacts unexpected things like LDAP integration, which has at times been rough for us.

·         It does not think in terms of hierarchies.

o   Not for content (Technically, they have 1 built-in hierarchal content type “Book”, don’t use it. Very few 3rd party modules support in, and virtually none of the “Enterprise” ones do.)

§  If you need this use References for Drupal 7 and Node Reference with CCK in Drupal 6

o   Not for permissions

§  Unless you are on Drupal 7 Then you can use Workbench Access

·         Be very careful with how you setup multiple instances of Drupal (See commentary on Aegir below)

o   If you are new to Drupal it is worth explaining that there several distinct ways to run many Drupal sites

§  Unique files and DBs

·         No interconnectedness makes upgrades less painful but management can become difficult quickly

§  Unique files and shared DB

·         Essentially no different from the first option. However, you do gain some options for truly sharing data (like user accounts)

§  Shared files and unique DBs

·         All sites run on the same code base with the option to have custom files for any site. This works great under a very important condition. All of the sites need to be nearly identical in functionality. The reason for this is you will have to upgrade them all at the same time, and you don’t want to spend your time worrying about an upgrade breaking every site in a different way.

§  Shared files and shared DB

·         Essentially the same as shared files and unique DBs

 

Things to know about Drupal

·         If you are doing many Drupal sites use Aegir or something equivalent. It will handle most of the hard stuff for you

o   Or go to the other extreme and use one Drupal install in the Domain Access module suite.

·         Modern Drupal sites are built on Content (CCK) (Think the DB Tables) and Views (Think GUI SQL Editor with nearly infinite output options)

·         You probably want to use the Workbench module suite, it was originally designed for a school

·         Acquia is owned by the founder of Drupal, who still limits committing code to the Drupal core to himself and 2 or 3 other people

·         If you build anything even moderately complex you will be relying on third party modules, and they can make upgrading to the latest version of Drupal difficult.

·         New Major versions of Drupal come roughly every 2 years and are not backwards compatible for modules, be prepared for potentially rough upgrades

·         Until quite recently WYSIWYG editing was nearly impossible to have work well.

 

Having said all that we have been running our public site and our portal site on Drupal since about 2006 and have had great success with minimal resources 0 contractors and a peak of 3 programmers. The enterprise calendar problem mentioned below we easily solved in 2009 using Taxonomy Access Control Lite. We have one event type and upon creation the user can select the “areas” that are allowed to edit that particular event, as well as the “areas” that can see the event. That part works great. Granting a department access to edit their section of the site took a bit of work as we were on Drupal 6. Today with Drupal 7 and the Workbench module suite it would be quite easy. We have not been to impressed with Acquia, however I can say this. They are working very hard to transform Drupal from the programmers playground it was in 2006 to a force in the Enterprise world.

 

Travis Wooley

Director of IT

Adventist University of Health Sciences

407-303-8100

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of ALLISON Neil
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 10:19 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

Wow. Thank you. Lots to digest here.

 

Shame there aren’t any Acqui folk on the list J

 

Have a good weekend.

 

N

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: 12 October 2012 15:12
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

My thoughts on the presentation J:

·         Slide 14: confirms my story, that pervasive, enterprise-wide Drupal is really flying a bunch of individual instances of the product.

·         Slide 22: Acquia (effectively Drupal’s parent company) did make the 2012 Gartner magic quadrant for WCM, roughly in the 40th percentile. Interestingly, Gartner’s listed strengths and weaknesses were mostly about Acquia the company, not Drupal the product.

·         Slide 24: I’ve run into the delays with modernizing key modules. For example, took a very long time to get a production release of the Views module out after Drupal 7 was released. With no Views, you have no useful Drupal for a huge % of users.

·         Slide 30: These weaknesses are significant in an enterprise setting.

·         Slide 37: I disagree that a hierarchical folder organization is bad. In fact, I’ve run into a lot of cases where visualization of my Drupal content would be immensely helpful. Now, the problem would be if the hierarchical folder organization is how the data is organized on the back end. With Sitecore, it’s just a human-friendly representation of the data. When you develop for Sitecore, you are free to ignore it.

·         Slide 43: Wrong. Drupal has no competitive advantage with content services delivery. What they deliver is on part with other systems.

·         Slides 49-52: These appear to be anti-examples to higher ed. Higher ed can have massively distributed authorship; these are tightly controlled sites.

·         Slides 53-54: The alternative products aren’t known as WCM leaders. Straw man argument.

 

On the net, this presentation doesn’t address my concerns with Drupal as an enterprise-wide solution. I still say it can have great use cases for departmental-scope solutions, or even to enterprise-wide solutions that are really fully owned by a department, but there remain significant added costs of Drupal you have to plan around.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of ALLISON Neil
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 8:27 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

Thank you all once again J

 

We’ll keep plugging away at this and if anything comes up which I think will be of interest to the group on this thread I’ll get back to you.

 

Aren – on the ‘Drupal doesn’t get enterprise’ post, I thought this might interest you:

 

COMPETING WITH GIANTS - HOW TO WIN WITH DRUPAL VS PROPRIETARY ALTERNATIVES

(Basically it's the Vice President of Marketing at Acquia talking to the Drupal community on what they need to do to get access into the big business, enterprise website management scale organisations and compete with proprietry CMS vendors.)

 

It's good because he's very open about the strengths, weaknesses and challenges facing the Drupal community.

 

Slides on Slideshare:

http://www.slideshare.net/AcquiaInc/competing-with-giants-how-to-win-with-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives-12106746

 

Audio and slides:

http://denver2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/competing-giants-how-win-drupal-vs-proprietary-alternatives

 

 

 

Cheers

 

 

N

 

 

*********************************

Neil Allison

University Website Programme

The University of Edinburgh

 

0131 650 9513

www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme

*********************************

 

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Cambre, Aren
Sent: 10 October 2012 17:32
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

We did look at Drupal’s Organic Groups to be the foundation of a Drupal-based enterprise calendar, but we couldn’t make it work without so much $$$-worth of customization and ongoing maintenance that Active Data Calendar, a commercial product, came in far cheaper. We even checked with a  well-regarded local Drupal consultancy to make sure we aren’t missing something.

 

Here’s an example of the biggest problem: if we had one content type of event, we had no way to make it so that a computer science department owner’s event couldn’t be edited by, say, an English department user. That’s the third dimension of security that’s really needed for enterprise security.

 

Now, admittedly, the last time we looked was mid-2010. That and some other comments prompted me to write this mini-screed: http://arencambre.com/blog/2010/01/21/drupal-doesnt-get-enterprise/. Drupal 7 doesn’t meaningfully change this lack of an enterprise security model.

 

Also, the examples given previously of major schools using Drupal don’t appear to be comprehensive enterprise WCMs. Rather, they all appear to be spot uses for specific purposes or the “flying many instances” model I mentioned previously.

 

Now let me be clear: I think Drupal is a great product, and I recommend it for certain uses. I use it in several personal sites, and we have it behind three major sites at SMU: http://mcs.smu.edu/media/, http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/ (that school doesn’t like our enterprise calendar, so they maintain their own), and http://guildhallportfolios.smu.edu/. But I wouldn’t dream of using it where we are currently using Sitecore, for our main marketing web presence at www.smu.edu. On that single Sitecore system, we have our main presence and many school and departmental sites, all centrally managed with content sharing, comprehensive marketing analytics opportunities, etc. That would be really challenging with the “flying many instances” models of WordPress and Drupal as enterprise CMSes.

 

Aren

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Troiani, Francis J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:21 AM
To: WEB@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WEB] CMS use scenarios - how do you use your web publising tool(s)?

 

As is Rowan University.  We have been trying for almost 4 years but as we're extremely limited with web staff (for a 2 year stretch of period I was the only coder) we hired an outside firm for the initial build since even though we have experience with Drupal.  As some others have mentioned before Drupal is very powerful but it can get complicated very quickly even if you do know what you're doing.

 

Also, for those that spoke of ending up with multiple instances of Drupal we're trying to mitigate all that overhead using the Organic Groups module and have had heard of others having successes in a higher ed setting as well.  Of course there are always things like Aegir if you'd like to have many separate Drupal instances but we found that this unnecessarily complicates things though you might need to go the multi-site route if you have wildly different requirements for your other sites. We're trying to get buy-in institution wide to live within our framework to increase branding and ease of maintenance.

 


Frank Troiani

Assistant Director

University Web Services

Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ

(856) 256 5182

 

 

 

I'm a bit late to the discussion, but wanted to weigh in. Dartmouth is moving to Drupal in an enterprise environment and working with Acquia. We will be hosting in their managed cloud solution. The ink is practically still drying on our Acquia contract, so we haven't actually began the project yet. But I'd be happy to talk with anyone who's interested once we're up and running. Our central Web Services team is responsible for approximately 180 client sites (primarily departmental and administrative units). These will be moved over to Drupal over the next few years, and we are expecting to fold in other units as well. For the last nine years, Dartmouth has used a proprietary enterprise CMS that publishes content as static files. While it has served the College well for most of that time, we found ourselves running up against the limitations of a static publishing platform. We'd build a departmental site in the proprietary CMS. Then they'd request a blog, so we'd set them up with WordPress. Later on, they'd want a database for their internships/training resources/etc., so we'd put them in touch with our applications development team. This would mean three different systems for essentially one group's web presence -- with Drupal, this can all be handled easily by the same system. And increasingly, these requests were becoming our norm, not the exception. In terms of handling multiple sites on the same instance, we are planning a multi-site environment (running many sites off of one codebase). Additionally, Drupal allows you to share database tables among sites, so most/all of our sites will likely pull from common database tables for users and roles. As I mentioned earlier, we haven't actually started this project yet, so it's possible Acquia might advise us differently. My previous university used Drupal as the primary CMS; however Drupal usage grew somewhat organically there and my team managed many standalone instances. Needless to say, version upgrades grew very unwieldy. I agree with the opinion that campus culture plays a large role in what "works" for one institution or another. My previous university was very, very decentralized. I'm not sure we could have corralled all our client sites into one enterprise CMS even if we were technically able to. At Dartmouth, our web environment is much more centralized, and we're used to working with an enterprise system, so more of a "top down" approach is what works best for us. This has become rather long-winded, but I suppose my main caveat about Drupal is that it *is* a very complicated system (for site builders and developers, I mean -- I've actually had many content editors tell me the Drupal sites they maintain are easier to manage than the other CMS's they've used). So it's really important to have sufficient development and server admin expertise in-house, or the resources to train up/hire out the development and maintenance. It's definitely not as easy to get up and running out of the box as many traditional "enterprise" CMS products if you're unfamiliar. And this might sound obvious, but it's important to thoroughly research and plan your Drupal site, especially if you're running an enterprise environment. Drupal is so flexible, it'll allow you to create an intuitive site that's a great fit for your use case. However, that flexibility also allows you to create a horrible, convoluted mess that can grow out of control very quickly if you don't know what you're doing (I can't stress this enough -- I shudder when I think of my first few Drupal sites!). Happy weekend, all. Christina -- Christina Dulude Information Architect/User Experience Designer Web Services Dartmouth College

…My previous university was very, very decentralized. I'm not sure we could have corralled all our client sites into one enterprise CMS even if we were technically able to. At Dartmouth, our web environment is much more centralized, and we're used to working with an enterprise system, so more of a "top down" approach is what works best for us.

 

I think that’s more of a function of the flexibility of the product and central commitment to web development/design resources.

 

SMU is also quite decentralized, but 4 of our 7 school are on our central WCM and 1 is in the process of migrating to it. This includes a school that has significant in-house shadow IT ops. The 2 holdout schools also have significant in-house IT staff, and their deans prefer the full control of their entire web stack, even though their internal offerings blow compared to what I can give them centrally. J

 

Early on in our transition to WCM, the whole effort almost blew up because our central IT (which I am in) and central marketing dep’ts were unwilling to staff appropriately, so we couldn’t provide effective solutions to the departments. That has since been remedied, and we’re doing really well. If you visit smu.edu/dedman, smu.edu/lyle, smu.edu/perkins, and smu.edu/meadows, you’ll see dramatically different content architectures and designs, yet they are all on the same CMS and enjoy common functionality and increasing amounts of content sharing opportunities.

 

This has become rather long-winded, but I suppose my main caveat about Drupal is that it *is* a very complicated system (for site builders and developers, I mean -- I've actually had many content editors tell me the Drupal sites they maintain are easier to manage than the other CMS's they've used). So it's really important to have sufficient development and server admin expertise in-house, or the resources to train up/hire out the development and maintenance. It's definitely not as easy to get up and running out of the box as many traditional "enterprise" CMS products if you're unfamiliar.

 

Easy UI for authors is important! Drupal does well there—generally, just sign in, surf to the page, and press Edit. We’re getting there with Sitecore. It’s our fault we messed it up—related to the insufficient resources dilemma—but we’re recovering quickly and have a new templating system that allows the super easy editing.

 

Aren

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Close
Close


Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
View Proceedings

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.

Close

Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center


Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management

 

 

Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.

 

Close
EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas

 

 

Join These Programs If Your Focus Is

Close

Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.
 

 

Close

2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations


Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.