Cascade Server Roadmap

Come learn about what's in store for Cascade in 2013 and 2014. We'll discuss how the CMS landscape is changing and how Cascade is evolving to continue to meet the challenges that organizations face with managing their web presence. This session opens the conference and is a must-see for all attendees.

Block Choosers, Configuration Blocks, Metadata Sets, Indexing, and XSLT

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A configuration can be used in two totally unrelated ways: to control output formats and publishing, and to bundle up blocks in regions. Controlling file extensions and publishing is global in the sense that it is independent from sites. Bundling up blocks in regions, however, is site-specific, especially when these bundles of blocks contain site-specific information. Mixing the two means that we will have site-specific configuration sets and content types, possibly thousands of them. Then controlling output formats and publishing can become a nightmare. The alternative is to use configurations only for controlling output formats and publishing, and to store site-specific information in blocks without plugging them into regions. These blocks can be bundled up in configuration blocks using block choosers. Configuration blocks are not plugged into regions. Instead, an index block is used to pick up the information stored in configuration blocks. The formatted data is stored in a region named STORAGE. When a page is rendered, a template-level format written in XSLT will be used to redistribute the stored information to the relevant div elements. Metadata sets associated with blocks can be used for displaying and styling purposes. In this way, we can build hundreds of sites using only a few templates, configuration sets, and content types.

In The News: Including and Repurposing News and Events in Cascade Server

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The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University launched its news site in 2010. Since then, many alternative media formats, feeds, calendars, and other types of data have been incorporated into the core press release pages. In addition, the site features embedded video content, slideshows, and a professional blog-style series titled "Faculty in the Field." The news site serves as a core set of content for linking to faculty biographies, research presentations, and emails that promote campus events. The site, itself, is built on a simple framework of press release pages that are added to various listings through folder indexes, metadata, and references. This design makes the site flexible and easy to maintain. The major categories follow The College's academic functional structure: "œScience & Mathematics," "œHumanities," "œSocial Sciences," and "œPeople." As our calendar of events incorporates the same categorizing, each discipline can be highlighted by upcoming calendar items and current press releases. Each year, our staff produces approximately 170 press releases, quarterly newsletters, profiles, and a magazine which is produced in print and interactive online versions. Also, hundreds of departmental events are included via the calendar feed. All of this information is archived by year, and our search includes not only our news archive, but also Syracuse University news sites. I will demonstrate our Cascade structure for organizing the site, including the technical features. Also, I will discuss our thought process when we launched it, how we initially made changes to it, and how we plan to enhance it in the future.

Putting the Pieces Together: Cascade Server for Beginners

If you are anything like Previous this time last year, then the Cascade Server User Conference is new to you.  Although this is her second year attending, she wants to assure you that while there's much to learn about the interface, there's also a strong possibility that you will become a true champion. In her presentation Precious will walk you through her experience of becoming more comfortable with how to use the interface and some of the challenges she experienced and lessons learned. She will cover:  

  • Tips on training end users and providing documentation  
  • How to make small wins through departmental redesign projects  
  • Auditing and editing web content  
  • Testing the usability of the site

Accessibility Demystified: What You Don't Know May Hurt You

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Higher education organizations constantly have to worry about meeting WAI/WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards, so in this session, Kelly will educate attendees on web accessibility compliance, standards for higher education, and why web accessibility is everyone’s business. She will discuss some of the common disabilities that need to be served by public websites, provide some history and statistics on web accessibility, and give recommendations to help organizations get buy-in from their webmasters, marketing teams, and content contributors in order to integrate accessibility considerations into their day-to-day activities campus-wide.

Cascade Server Shortcuts

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One of the biggest reasons people buy a CMS is to save themselves and their organizations time. If you're new to Cascade Server or you are looking to improve your experience using it, then join Lisa Hall for a session on Cascade Server shortcuts. As a Services Developer for Cascade Server, Lisa has learned and will share several shortcuts she has learned about using the CMS.

Managing a Large Number of Editors Using Cascade Server

Managing a site with more than one or two editors can be challenging for anyone, and when your editors are not very web savvy it can sometimes even be downright difficult. In the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn University, we have a dozen departmental editors, as well as around 100 faculty who have access to their personal pages through Cascade. In this presentation, you will see what we have done to make sure our editors, as well as our faculty, have what they need to keep their pages updated. This includes how we provide training and support, how we make the process of editing as simple as possible, and how we ensure our editors can manage their web pages, while at the same time limiting access to pages they do not need.    In this presentation I will focus a good bit of time on how I provide support and "training" for our editors along with some of the things I do to make editing easier for them. I have always thought I would rather something be harder on my end if it makes it easier for our editors, and I hope to showcase that mindset. I will also talk about how I organize our permissions using groups and such.

User Switcher for Cascade Server

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Ever have a user create a big mess of locks and workflows right before going on vacation? Ever wish you could just log in as a particular user and see what they see? Pima Community College has created a User Switcher tool that allows Cascade Server administrators to log in as another user without a password. Learn how the User Switcher works and how you can use it in your own CMS!

We've Got Google Analytics (and I Have a Treadmill in My Basement)

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The majority of colleges and universities in the United States have Google Analytics installed. Similarly, 83 million treadmills have been sold over the years in their invention. Just because you have a treadmill in your basement doesn't make you marathon-ready. You actually have to use it! In the same way that the treadmill won't automatically whip you into shape, Google Analytics can't help drive your marketing decisions without your intervention. Rollins over the last year and a half has been dedicating more time analyzing our Web traffic, adding profiles, dashboards, reports for the Trustees, and constituents. Linda Watson will take you through the Rollins Google Analytics account and let you see how they set up their accounts, tag their links, and use the information they gather to make decisions.

Avoiding Stale Sites: Preventing content from going out-of-date

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Leverage Cascade Server 7.4's Stale Content Reports to manage and mitigate your stale content! In this session, software engineer John Lazos will discuss how to make the most of stale content reports, including getting started with review dates, setting up content review processes, and managing users responsible for content.

Bricks and Tags: Customizing Content for Re-use and Different Audiences

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In this session, Hannon Hill's Head of Customer Success, Charlie Holder, will demonstrate how to create blocks of content that can be used inline in the body of a page and how to tag content for output to specific audiences.

Building Fast Websites in Cascade Server with Angular.js

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Angular.js is a popular client side javascript framework. I can show how to use Angular.js to work with Cascade to build a fast onepage website. Angular.js can also replace some xsl and velocity code when building websites. Content that comes from Cascade can be published as json or xml which is then used by Angular services to generate page content, dynamic navigation and more.

On the Road to RWD

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The University of New Brunswick moved to Cascade Server in 2008 with the launch of a new homepage and top level pages. Over the next five years, the school transitioned from a hodge-podge of sites with varying designs and update methods to a single, institution-wide CMS and common look and feel standard. Over the next five years, UNB.ca went from a 200,000 page site to 37,000 pages with more than 200 sections converted to Cascade Server from 17 faculties and schools across both its main campuses. In 2012, UNB's Web Operations Group launched its research, development and planning for the next version of the UNB website, with a focus on Responsive Web Design (RWD). In Spring 2013, UNB's Web Ops group launched its RWD implementation project with a mid-August 2013 launch date. In this presentation, they'll cover not the technical, content and project management aspects of transitioning to a responsive web design. Over the course of the presentation, they'll discuss why they decided to move to RWD, the approach they took in iteratively improving their current design and information architecture and how the team used an agile methodology to make the transition for their main site and nearly 200 sub-sites.

Training Your Campus On Cascade Server: Techniques That Really Work

Even though Cascade Server is very easy to use, for some members of the campus community, it can be an intimidating program to learn. The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) will discuss several of the training techniques developed since launching Cascade Server in 2009. Join us and learn about the many ways you can make your web content training not just efficient, but effective! Specific topics to be addressed include:    

  • Tips & Time-savers for the login process
  • Benefits of limiting class enrollment
  • Teaching just the "essentials"  
  • Why paper manuals still matter
  • Weaving accessibility into the training process
  • Keeping it simple without talking down to your customers  
  • Benefits of a dedicated training site and pre-building your training environment
  • Faculty, staff and students: all skill-sets are not created equal

Development with Cascade Server and Yeoman

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In this session, Jason Aller will share a development process using Yeoman and a Grunt plugin that automates moving .css, .js, and optimized images into Cascade Server from a development environment. Use the full power of the following tools with Cascade Server: 

The plugin demonstrates access to Cascade Server Web Services from within nodejs.

Not Just for the Web: Cascade Server and Mass Email Messages

In this session, David Lodge will explain how UCO took a daily newsletter sent to their faculty and staff from a hand-typed email message in Outlook to an automated system using a standardized template and full HTML formatting in Cascade Server, along with some server-side scripting. He will cover:

  • The templates and XSLT formats created to generate both the HTML body of the email message and an XML-based metafile providing information for the email headers and scheduling scripts
  • Shell scripts running on the web server to automatically send out new emails at the specified times when they are published to the server  
  • Creating an online archive of the email messages  
  • Ways to expand the system to handle a wide variety of mass email tasks  
  • Pros and cons of this system with respect to other solutions we use

The Digital Marketing-Web Development Relationship

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During this presentation, attendees will gain a deep understanding of how tightly marketing is connected with web design. Information is readily available to support your web design decisions, whether it be through activity & insights gleaned from your analytics, engagement activity from your social media channels or direct feedback from your customers via online surveys. We know that it’s “easier said than done”, but during this presentation, you will learn how to parlay that information into the design and development of a much more productive website. There’s a recipe to this and we plan to share it with you. So expect to get detailed examples – ideas and actionable items that you can take away to apply to your own Cascade Server project.

Operation Migration: Migrating Static Content into Cascade Server with our new HTML Migration Tool

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Ever have the need to migrate static content into your Cascade Server instance? In this session, Ryan will introduce our new HTML migration tool (released in Cascade Server 7,4), discuss best practices for migrating content, and demo the tool in action. For those of you with dozens of sites that need to be moved over to Cascade Server, you won't want to miss this session.

Stupid Index Block Tricks

When combined with data definitions, custom metadata, content types and/or folder/file hierarchies, Cascade's index block XML can be transformed and queried to provide valuable content for administrators and end-users alike. Index block transformations allow you to produce complex functionality while keeping things simple and straight-forward for content contributors. This session will consider: - what data is available from index blocks - Cascade's object and data types and their implications on indexes - organizing transformation 'formats' for multi-/re-use Example widgets include: - Handy reports for project managers and site administrators - News aggregation and syndication blocks - Dynamic decision tree web widgets - XPath-based search and browse web widgets Bring your inspired indexing ideas and innovations for sharing.

To Infinity and Beyond: Cascade Server 7.2, 7.4, 7.6, and 7.8 Demonstration

Join Hannon Hill's Lead Software Engineer for a live demonstration of some of the features in our last three releases, 7.2, 7.4, and 7.6; and some of the features that are in the pipeline for our next major release, Cascade Server 7.8! 

Responsive Redesign: A Beta Approach

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is on every web team's mind (or it should be). Many colleges and universities have already implemented a responsive layout or are working on one. Since RWD emerged, several frameworks and resources have become available to help build a responsive website. But where do you start when you have an existing website with several audiences and a large, diverse set of opinions to satisfy? Sarah will share Rollins College's Responsive Redesign approach, along with tips and tricks that they have learned along the way. Highlights include how they used the "web committee" or "task force" to their advantage; implemented a new, efficient workflow to design and develop the new look; used certain development tools; created a beta website in Cascade Server to give their broad, diverse audience a preview and voice in the process; and used the feedback and analytics to guide them through the process. Their RWD approach involves every member of the Marketing & Communications Department--including managers, writers, designers, and developers, to make their redesign a success. This session is designed for anyone involved in the web redesign process.

Using External Data in Cascade Server

This session will discuss some of the various ways you can use external data in Cascade.  In the era of open data more and more information is being made available in various feeds and data files. When that data is available in an XML format it opens up lots of possibilities within Cascade Server. We will just hit the tip of the iceberg on some of the possibilities ranging from the basic consumption of an RSS feed to more complex scenarios such as class schedule information form Banner using multiple feeds at once. Examples will include UNM's use of: RSS, Rave Emergency Alert Feed, XML Schedule Feed from Banner, Weather Feed, ActiveDataX Calendar Feeds, and more if time permits.

Web Personalization Utilizing Thick Client and Cascade Server

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Like the revolutions in social media and responsive design that drive much of today's online development, the central goals of web personalization are improvement of content engagement, enriched user experience, enhanced brand perception, and increased conversion rate. Web personalization is the process by which information about an end-user is utilized to dynamically insert, update, or select content based on user-models. This idea of web personalization has been extremely successful businesses like Google, Amazon and Netflix, which utilize web personalization in dramatic and distinctive manners.  

Google provides highly localized search results for unknown users through geo-location based on IP address (eg Auto repair returns a map of location shops), which improves content engagement and brand perception. Amazon provides recommended products based on past browsers and buying patterns (eg buying a book on glass blowing will cause DVD, book, and blown glass products to appear in recommended product list), which increased the conversion rate for sales. Netflix provide suggested video content based on pass viewing habit and ratings (eg watching Dr. Who will increase the number of British shows in your suggested stream), which improves user experience.

Within higher education, use cases for web personalization include news site suggestion of relevant articles, personalized admission site, and modified library homepage for current students. Cascade Server provides a flexible platform on which to create web personalization system, through which content can be categories, configured, and reused in a personalized web experience. This presentation provides an overview of implementing web personalization with a thick client (jQuery) and Cascade generated content sets and management for an admission site. It will provide example of both environmental and behavioral information based web personalization. This presentation provides a starting point on the road to web personalization.

Get the Setup Hookup: Using Setup Blocks to Create a Site Template

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This session will demonstrate how setup blocks can configure site layouts and help you reuse content easily. Nadira will cover the steps to creating a basic setup block, which will be used to create a site template. She'll also take a look at some creative examples using setup blocks to get you inspired!

Increase Your Velocity's Velocity with New Locator Tools

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In this session, Professional Services Manager Penny Kronz will demonstrate the new velocity locator tools that were released in version 7.4 of Cascade Server. She'll show you how you can use the new tools to create formats that call code from other formats and don't require index blocks to be used. Lastly, she'll discuss some other ways to improve your use of velocity, so you can get the most out of this transformation language in Cascade Server.

Creating Accessible Web Content

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The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect. - Tim Berners-Lee    Is your site's content usable by the widest possible audience?  A well designed site provides content that is available to all users, including those with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities.This session will provide a brief overview of Web accessibility issues and its importance to high-ed websites. Then we'll chat about methods, tools and resources for creating and testing accessible Web content. Finally, we'll explore some specific techniques that can be applied to Cascade designs to improve site accessibility.

Interactive Maps and Virtual Campus Tours

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Getting prospects to visit your campus is a paramount objective for many higher ed websites. A good Virtual Tour can show off your facilities, express your personality, and help entice people to visit campus. BarkleyREI will showcase a fully Responsive Virtual Tour they developed in Cascade Server with Washburn University. They will also present an innovative interactive map in Cascade that's under development for Chapman University.

Velocity vs. XSLT Showdown Extravaganza!

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To end the 2013 User Conference on a fun and competitive note, Alvin Chao and Jason Aller, two Cascade Server veterans, will face-off to find out once and for all--which is faster? XSLT or Velocity? Of course, you can't put too much stock in the results, since their experience may differ, but nonetheless, it should be fun to watch!