#TPR3: Your CMS is the Elephant in the Room

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Jeff Abuzzahab

#TPR3 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track

This frank and lively presentation will take you through the brief history of a college’s epic web fail after believing the University’s one size fits all CMS would cure all ills and how, after the crash, the web disaster was turned around by the presenter and his colleagues on the front lines. You will learn about the successful processes put in place that have delivered four years of web bliss; from listening to the people who actually work on the web, to the temporary patches that turned into permanent solutions.Focused on infrastructure, and touching on management and design, this journey covers tossing out the big box CMS software for user-friendly tools like Dreamweaver, WordPress and some home grown apps running across several development and live servers. Core web technologies like XML and CSS frameworks will be demonstrated, the concept of using RSS feeds and XSLT in content management will also be covered, as will how our solution allows information to be shared across sites and lets multiple systems to perform more efficiently than a single software approach.No matter the size of your academic institution, the primary software at your disposal, or where you sit on the org chart, you will take away important lessons on collaboration, working from the ground up, and leveraging web standards to ensure continued creative freedom.


People actually quit over the old CMS.
We were catering to the software.

Let the content and delivery decide which CMS is best. They use multiple systems.

The web is it’s own discipline that draws on IT and communication. This reformulation was realized only after the last colossal failure.


  • News
  • Events
  • People
  • Courses
  • Search

News: uses movable type installation that was already set up by the library. The library URL already had more traction then the homepage. But, they are on different servers … how do connect them. XML Feeds! Oh, and a bit of JS.

All 40 authors have the ability to check the box that puts news on the homepage? Really, that’s just insane. However, it sounds like they have a communications director that will come down with a hammer should someone misuse it.

Events: Could use a blog or google calendar, but they already had a calendar system – LinkPro

People: many editors, some by proxy. Many faculty won’t update their own profile. Need to coordinate with the college data. Pulled in with feeds. Bio and additional information piled on top.

Courses: Place information where it makes sense. Break up tracks/terms into ways that really work.

Search: Pull google results as XML. Filter add to results with extra information. For example people from the people directory.

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