2015 Sessions

How I single handedly convinced Central Marketing to use Cascade for their Newsletter

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In this presentation Phillip Coxwell will show how he convinced Auburn's central department of communications that Cascade was the best for their twice a week newsletter. He will also demonstrate how he used that same template for the twice a month newsletter and for the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Monthly Newsletter.

Balancing the demands of our user base and the workload of our web support group

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Since becoming a Hannon Hill customer in 2009, the University of Western Ontario’s user base for Cascade Server has grown from a few early adopters to more than 1500 users and over 400 sites. As our user base and web support team grew, it became more difficult for the 2 groups to know each other quite as well as they did during the early years of working with and supporting Cascade Server. The recent introduction of a new survey tool on campus provided an opportunity for the web support team to conduct a survey to assist in the assessment of how satisfied our clients were with our Cascade Server support model. This presentation will discuss what we learned from the survey and how the results informed decisions regarding our support and training models and potentially how we plan our upgrade to Cascade Server v8 when it becomes available.

One Template, Many Options - Designing a versatile template for a creative and flexible user experience

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Content authors want an easy way to create pages but they frequently come to us asking for new templates with special features. Using Velocity code we created a single template that offers users the ability to choose multiple page items from a single menu. This template provides maximum flexibility for the user. They can include social media icons, video, slideshows, sidebars, special buttons, widgets and much more. And the best part, they can change their mind, add or remove items, move things around and be as creative as they like.

Redesigning your website on Cascade with limited resources

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This presentation will discuss the process the University of Nebraska at Kearney took to redesign their website on Cascade Server with limited resources. Initial research and redesign planning will be discussed.This will also include information on outsource development versus in house development. Tips for working with outside vendors to make sure necessary requirements are met. Developing a plan and time table for implementation.

Dr. Scriptlove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Web Services

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Finally, the old adage “work smarter not harder” becomes reality! In this presentation Darren Denham (UCO Web Content Manager) and Mark Nokes (UCO Web Applications Administrator) will present tips and tricks for Cascade web services that will make you look like a hero! Inspired by the power of Wing Ming Chan’s Web Services API, the UCO web team will demonstrate how Cascade web services can:

• Create orphaned asset reports

• Remove orphaned assets from the web server & create zip archives

• Perform rapid content updates to multiple files

• List assets in container • Remove empty groups

• List node data – such as gathering all the names of websites on s site (from the header).

• Directory diff

• Add users to group

• …and more Join us for a live demonstration, Q&A, a few laughs and lots of code-sharing goodness

Adaptive Training – Beyond and After the Classroom or (How to Train your Dragons)

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ust as websites change and get regularly updated, so does our training. Training begins in a classroom but extends beyond that formal setting through support online via ticketing, in person support and training the trainer. Come and see how Western University with over 1500 users and more than 400 sites active in Cascade provides training that is adaptive to the many stakeholders on campus. Join us to learn about some of the ways we deliver adaptive training: • Mandatory training before access granted • Training users with various web backgrounds • Site specific training • Short training sessions • One on one specific training • Follow up surveys

Reaching Prospective Students with Your Content

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“We spent all this money on our content and it’s not getting any traction!”

This is all too common a complaint in our industry. So often, there is a huge ideological and cultural disconnect between those in charge of content strategy in Higher Ed and the target audience they are trying to reach. 

In this session Christina will cover 3 common mistakes Higher Ed institutions typically make when reaching out to prospective students and how to avoid repeating those mistakes by crafting a content strategy that will resonate with prospective students. It’s not just about copy. Imagery, rich media and user generated content best practices feature heavily in this session

Welcome to the 10th annual Cascade User Conference!

Time flies when you're having fun and are getting things done. This will be our 10th Cascade User Conference, and our biggest event thus far. Kat will welcome you to this monumental event and update you on all the things that Hannon Hill has been working on over the past year.

Cascade Roadmap

The most interesting VP of Engineering in the world, Bradley Wagner, will present the Cascade roadmap. We've been working hard over the past 12 months to ensure that we continue to provide a top-notch CMS for our customers and to deliver the best possible user experience. You may have heard of our next big release, Cascade 8, affectionally dubbed "The Ocho". Come see what it's all about. Of course, Bradley will show many other exciting features and concepts that are on the horizon for Cascade.

Gamut: the non-template template: PHP, web BPs, and maintaining 150 unique websites as if they were one

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At Vassar, our approach traditionally has been to handcraft individual websites. While this has produced a rich, diverse web presence, over time it’s also presented maintenance challenges and prevented us from keeping pace with the ever-increasing rate of change in web technology. Gamut embodies our strategy for managing the complete website lifecycle – from our web best practices, to how we structure our CMS, to how we create, maintain, and run our published sites. At Gamut’s core is a PHP backbone driving each component – site design, CMS implementation, and final published product – ensuring smooth transitions between them. With Gamut, we’re able to tailor websites to individual needs while, at the same time, build them in a system that enforces our current best practices, allows for easy maintenance, and assures we can nimbly adapt to new web standards.

UNG Redesign with new Data Definitions - Implementing a Redesign with a completely new set of Data Definitions

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The UNG Web Team contracted Beacon Technologies to provide HTML templates of a redesigned website. Once those were finalized, the process of building new data definitions and velocity scripts began, as well as modifying existing velocity scripts to render existing content in the new design. The final plan involved rebuilding every site using completely new data definitions, but needed to be done over time, along side existing content. This presentation will briefly outline the process we followed, before looking into the data definitions and velocity scripts. In preparation for the redesign, we performed a Cascade Server upgrade to the latest version (7.12.4) over our spring break, to ensure we had access to all the latest features of data definitions and velocity. There will also be some discussion of how we used our development server to prepare for the production roll-out.

Creating a campus map using Cascade Server

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The Hannon Hill services team has created a solution that ties into Google maps for creating and managing your campus map in Cascade Server. They now want to share that solution with you! Penny Kronz, our Professional Services Director, will walkthrough the process for uploading and customizing this campus map within your Cascade Server instance.

Framing Your Teamwork – Using Cascade to Ignite Collaboration

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Bryce Roberts and Saundra Barrett present Emory University's custom framework as a foundation for establishing solid teamwork and collaborative development practices. This presentation covers both the experiences in creating this framework and the technical implementation. Core principles of the framework requirements are to centralize development into one tool (‘Cascade Server’), to provide systems and structures that limit the require configuration and ‘glue’ code, and to establish maintainable and scalable code base that is both flexible and robust. The goals of the framework are to improve collaboration in a multi-developer organization, provide common structures and practices around development, and ease common pitfalls in shared development spaces. A number of technologies were leverage including Velocity, LESS, Rhino, Java, and Hannon Hill’s Velocity tools to accomplish these goals and principles.

Optimizing the user experience inside and out

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We've designed our data definitions and configuration blocks to allow our users to add plugins to any place on their page. Using a macro that takes any plugin, created as data definition blocks, we apply the appropriate velocity script, so our users never have to worry about implementation details. Using a bootstrap based layout allows users to put blocks above or below any row or column on their page. We'll show off how we use bootstrap to allow for easy to manage page layouts. We'll also discuss how developing robust documentation coupled with reliable phone support and in person training allows us to empower users to create amazing websites without the need for technical skills or assistance. We also use a central configuration block that allows users to configure their site in one place, and also allows for “sub-sites” within Cascade creating easy to manage site hierarchy

A form to be reckoned with: PHP, MVC, OOP, Web Services Integration of PHP form builder class into Cascade Server

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My form builder class was built using MVC architecture and OOP and functions as a stand-alone application. There is one primary class that, on instantiation, accepts an array of configuration options as an argument. I have designed a form data definition and corresponding velocity format to create this array based on user input from within Cascade Server. This arrangement allows forms to be inserted into a page via a page chooser.

Planning for Data Driven Marketing

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Step 1: Persona’s -- Gathering the data and building the Persona’s using data you already have in Google Analytic's, Spectate/Wufoo, (Cascade embedded forms), Institutional Research, applications, email/web campaigns, general web research.

Taking a look at Step 2: Using a persona to determine who to market to

Velocity: The Basics: Scripting with a $ here and a # to do

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Are you new to Velocity and want to get your feet wet?  Jamie Johnson will cover the basics and also hold an extensive Q&A session.

"You complete me" - Combining efforts and expertise to provide better service and leadership in digital initiatives.

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At Emory University, responsibility for digital initiatives was fractured between I.T., Communications, external vendors and lone developers in departments. In one bold move, Emory consolidated web development, content strategy, design and digital strategy into the Communications and Public Affairs division, putting an end to friendly but resource-draining competition, wasteful duplication, and policy loopholes. Now, digital initiative projects are chosen strategically, resourced appropriately, and delivered to specification on time and budget.

Cascade Framework + .Net web services = migrate 400+ sites effortlessly

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Good framework is the base for every design. Over the years fine tuned Cascade framework to give the flexibility to bulk change and migrate into new templates effortlessly. To make our job even easy, built a .net application using Cascade Web services, with which we were/are able to migrate 400+ sites into 3 different templates over past 2 years and finally with RWD-Bootstrap. We also utilize smart-fields & velocity formats to create bootstrap slideshow blocks, collapsible left-nav blocks, and other dynamic content blocks

Users in Unison: Optimize Cascade Server Setup for Global Updates and Multiple User Types

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It is important to create a solid structure that supports Global updates and multiple user types. Through our experience developing many websites in Cascade Server we have learned valuable techniques that both simplify the Cascade UX seen by various user types (developers, content owners and administrators) and prevent unintended publishing (e.g. publishing changes of global assets not ready for release, etc.). This is achieved with COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) techniques which can be summarized in two steps. First, Developer and Administrator sites will be setup to contain developer assets, global files and administrator content such as header, footer, and navigation include files. Second, segregate logical content sections of the website into separate Cascade sites. This optimized structure will then allow publish ing of the Developer and Admin assets across multiple content owner sites and allow content owners to publish their content without the fear of releasing unintended global site changes.

Using Java to Extend Cascade Asset Creation and Custom Email Asset Factory Plugin, Custom Email and Java

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If you host Cascade on-site like we do at Tri-C you can leverage Asset Factory Plugin Interface to control where users create content and enforce clean system names like we did. Also, you can leverage the Email Provider class in workflows to create your own custom emails. Our marketing people demanded we provide custom email before we went live. All it takes is a little Java development and knowing some of the tricks. We will share what we did and describe how we did it.

Velocity Accelerated

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Bring your Velocity knowledge up to speed. Get the 411 on advanced Velocity tools such as the Locator Tool and Query Tool. Learn about their advantages and limitations while picking up some tips and tricks!

Robbing from Peter - sharing content from the AS faculty directory with other web pages, using Cascade

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Meet Peter D., math professor, one of over 400 faculty listed in The College of Arts and Sciences online faculty profile directory. In the past year, we've starting leveraging content on directory pages to populate faculty lists in department and academic areas of our websites, using Cascade's page chooser. By the end of 2015, we hope to eliminate redundant use of a faculty member's photo, title, office and email address, as the faculty profile serves as the central source. In addition, we have extended this technique to our AS News site, and can now give back to Peter, by adding applicable news stories to his profile page by browsing to them

Tag - you're it - how we replaced Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

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Up your analytics by converting your Google Analytics code to Google Tag Manager and being able to preview on the fly changes to your analytics code and also deal with the limitations of free Google Analytics 25 views per site by implementing Tag Manager. This will walk you through what Tag Manager is, the capabilities / similarities with Google Analytics and reasons why you might want to switch over to Tag Manager from GA.

Testing Content Effectiveness

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You want to increase engagement on your site, but where do you begin? Those pesky users could be skipping right over the carefully crafted slideshow image suggested by your director and heading straight for a colored text box that's not even clickable. 

Tools that track user behavior like CrazyEgg, UnBounce, UserTesting.com, and, of course, Google Analytics, can give you the real data you need to make strategic decisions, focus arguments, and optimize your site for the ways audiences are actually using it.

You'll learn ways to test that content is answering users’ questions, priming them for action, and making the right impression. Along the way, you’ll figure out how you can save time and resource and concentrate your efforts on content that has the most impact.


Putting the Cloud into Cascade: Building a Public Enrollment Data Dashboard

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Learn how to go beyond static images and dense, difficult to read PDF reports. Purdue challenged me to build a Public Data Dashboard for Enrollment Management, in order to add another level of self service reporting tools for consumers of Enrollment Management data, such as Enrollment totals, Retention and Graduation rates, and the number of Degrees Conferred. A new subsite was created with over 60 different, mobile friendly, and interactive charts that allow visitors to dynamically filter by academic unit and degree type.

The Ocho

A discussion of Cascade 8, lead by Hannon Hill's Engineering Team.

The Super Page: the one that does it all - Creating a single page template and content type to handle an entire website

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Can we create a single page: 1. That is responsive? 2. That can contain global information? 3. That can be placed in any site and displays branding information specific to that site without modifying the page? 4. That can be placed in any folder to display folder-specific information without modifying the page? 5. That can be configured to display different layouts? 6. That can be used to display either the contents of the default left/right column or customized contents? And 7. That provides multiple block choosers for you to pick any blocks you want? Is it possible to run a web service script to convert a site and make it responsive? For the web team at Upstate, the answer to all these questions is "Yes." And we will show you how!

Java, JSP, and Velocity

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Based on Java reflection, Velocity scripts and JSP pages can be used to access any Java classes, including custom classes, deployed in Cascade. A Velocity script can access the Cascade database directly through custom Java classes and query any tables. This enhanced feature is much more powerful than the query API, because any information of any assets, including users, groups, and audits, can be retrieved, provided we know where the information is stored. Velocity can also be used to invoke web services or XSLT. Through web services, Velocity can even modify assets. Custom Java classes can also be reflected or consumed by JSP deployed directly in Tomcat. Pages containing JSP code can be used to display table contents, as reports, or class information, as API documentation.

Use of centralized enterprise-level XSLT stylesheets and assets for Creation, Maintenance and Optimization of Websites

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Usage of “Global” XSLT stylesheets and new smart fields in the sites model to develop a “framework” for building and maintaining websites. This presentation will cover the following:1. Quick recap of the old way of using data definitions and XSLT stylesheets and their limitations in the creation of mobile- and content-first websites. 2. An in-depth look at how smart fields and common XSLT stylesheets can be used to identify commonly used elements to create and maintain fluid layouts in the context of more modern user-centric content-first websites. 3. A description of how functionality for different elements of a page can be either added or overridden on a site-by-site basis.

5 Unbelievable Tricks to Help You COPE

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#4 will make you instantly burst into tears! OK, perhaps not, but Eric will share an overview of his favorite techniques for applying COPE for both content and Formats. (Tissues will be provided.)

Double your Outputs, Double your Fun - Simple HTML Email through Cascade

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This presentation will detail a simple way to generate a HTML email from an already existing page in Cascade Server. For this example, SIU had the need to create an html email from content that we were already entering in Cascade on a page. For a long time, content was entered in two places – Cascade for the web page, and the campus email system for the email. Through using different outputs, SIU was able to generate the HTML code for the email directly within the CMS with the already existing content, allowing the email to now be generated by one person with no technical background. The presentation will go over the technical steps to make this happen, including demonstration of code and setup. In addition, Liz will briefly show how we handle other HTML emails that we generate through Cascade.

Data Visualization with Cascade Server

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Discover how Union College used web services to create insightful Cascade Server data visualizations.

Usability Testing: Moving away from the Org Chart

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Making sure that your website is usable for your audience is a must. What better way to find out than from them? In this session, Graham will talk about some reasons for usability testing, a simple way to do usability testing with prospective students, and possible outcomes.

Use of Template Formats in Flexible Website Implementations

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Template Formats are an extremely useful and often under-utilized or overlooked feature of Cascade Server. The use of the techniques covered in this presentation have been game-changing and though-provoking, and have “transformed” IU Communications as an agency, and the way we implement websites. Attendees will walk away with a new perspective, and hopefully energized and excited to put them to work on their website implementations. This presentation will cover the following1. Brief recap of basic block format functionality (relevant to both XSLT and Velocity), transitioning to an introduction to the use of template formats, describing the similarities and differences with the standard block/format relationship. 2. A description of how formats can be used to create versatile, configurable templates, capable of being easily updated or restructured, and a description of how template formats can be used to solve common template layout issues by enabling movement of page elements during transformation. 3. Finally, a description of how template formats can be used to optimize page creation by streamlining the creation of common page elements, like page title, breadcrumb and page headers by outputting multiple elements using same index block. While template formats are only available using XSLT, this presentation will be very valuable to both users of XSLT and Velocity, and the techniques can be used on existing or future templates, whether using XSLT or Velocity. While this is a revisiting and update of a topic presented at an earlier CSUC, the topic and techniques are as timely and pertinent as ever. This one is a “must see.”