By David Gillies, on 25 April 2012
I’m reliably informed nobody reads this blog but no matter, if you read my last blog you’d have noticed something about an upgrade. You may have been wondering what happened to it! It did indeed all go quiet. However we have been beavering away on it and we’re happy to say our hard work is starting to pay off. It’ll be a while before you guys will see the results though unfortunately. It is a massive upgrade.
There’s a shiny new interface which you’ll be glad to know loads a lot faster and is far more responsive than it is presently. Kupu is being killed off and a nicer editor (ckeditor), that will render external sources in place, will be in. No more of these yellow boxes you love so much….. There will be whole new ways of creating content too that will give you added flexibility in designing your pages. We’ll be better too! The upgrades will make it easier to manage and develop new functionality for the service which means we’ll be able to deliver projects faster and be more responsive to your needs. On top of that, the man with the plan, Andy in IS has got some brilliant ideas on rebuilding our production set up to make it all go much faster so we’re dreaming of actually providing the quality of service that we hope you’ll actually enjoy using!
I can imagine some of you won’t be thrilled to hear about changes to the user interface and will be concerned about having to get familiar with yet another new interface…. We know what a pain it can be. You’ll be glad to know that your sites will continue to work in the new setup and you won’t need to do any work to fix it!….. but there will be a little requirement to get familiar with things… Sorry! We’ve had the same interface for the last 8 years and it desperately needs modernising so there had to be some changes. We hope you’ll think of them as improvements …
and not just an attempt by us to wind you up!
I’ll be back to give you more details on the upgrade and the features that we’ll be bringing in, til then…
By David Gillies, on 26 October 2011
Just a short note to thank the guys in IS for their work behind the scenes on the Silva infrastructure. Adrian Barker’s team have done a great job providing us with the infrastructure we need to improve the Silva CMS performance. In particular Debs Pollard and Andy Sykes who did excellent work in moving the service over to the new Virtual Machines. It was great to come through the difficult start of term period with very few problems. We also have new caching servers available which will make things even better when we can implement caching as part of our upcoming upgrade.
More on the upgrade soon!
By David Gillies, on 23 September 2011
A question often asked of us here in Web Services! The choice was ultimately made by me and Neil Martin, we were the two Web Support Officers at the time but our choice was severely limited.
The Content Management System Project Group (CMSPG) was set up in April 2002 to look into the options available for a CMS. Very early on in the process that group settled on Zope as the framework for the future development of the CMS. I was initially unimpressed by Zope on my first dealings with it.
Several other universities had already started using Zope but with different CMS built on top of it. In November 2003 I organised a Zope users meeting at the UCL and we had visitors from Bristol, Birkbeck, Oxford Brookes, ICH and others. They were using different CMSs including Zope’s Content Management Framework (CMF), Plone and EasyPublisher. In February 2004 I demoed some of the options for Zope to Information Systems (IS). To say they weren’t impressed is an understatement! Just after that meeting Neil discovered that his former employers, Luton University were using a Zope based CMS that we hadn’t heard off, Silva. I quickly installed it and we arranged to go visit them.
Compared to other CMS on offer Silva provided out-of-the-box organisational workflow which compared favourably to the community based alternatives where we would have had to develop the workflows separately which was something that would have been difficult to achieve quickly given our, then, limited Zope, Python skills. The templating system was also very simple compared to the others and Neil and I could reproduce UCL templating very quickly. It was also easier to build simple tools into it for template menuing etc. It was the obvious choice for us.
IS signed up Debs Pollard in late May 2004 to give us sysadmin support for the CMS and we finally started up the live service in early 2005. Jon Bowlas joined up shortly after as our Silva Developer and we made great progress after that.
There are now around 540 sites in Silva and we have some promising new developments on the way for 2012! More on that in an bit.
By Nick Dawe, on 31 January 2011
Just a quick post to say that I’ll be leaving Web Services this week, so this will be my last post. It’s been great to be part of a skilled and enthusiastic team at Media Services, and it’s also been a pleasure writing this blog (although apologies for not posting much in the last few months!).
All the best
By Nick Dawe, on 19 January 2011
‘So this SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish bar, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor’
By Nick Dawe, on 10 September 2010
As many UCL readers will know, our Web Services manager left us last month in order to emigrate with his family to Australia. Neil’s been working in Web Services for 8 years – a time that has seen huge changes in the Web and the way that we use it. At the beginning of this year, Neil’s role extended to becoming manager of Design and Web Services, in which he also had to grapple with the areas of print and graphic design. As well as being a encouraging manager and an expert on Web standards, we’ve also consistently enjoyed his humour, enthusiasm, and the opportunity to play with his iPad.
A rare image of the Web Services team smiling. L-R: David Gillies, Jon Bowlas, Neil Martin, Ralph Bartholomew and Nick Dawe
By Nick Dawe, on 6 September 2010
Here are a few Silva CMS updates we’ve made in the last month. We’ll endeavour to post similar updates as we continue to develop, fix bugs, etc. for the system over time.
New code sources
- Horizontal menu: It is now possible to display a single level horizontal menu based on the root items of your site using the UCL branding layout. This will display throughout your publication.
- Mobile view: The custom mobile view of the UCL branding layout now displays in Android devices.
Amended code sources
- Accordion: it is now possible to add multiple accordions into a page.
- Accordion: a bug that caused the code source to show incorrectly in IE6 has also been fixed.
- Caption an image: browser compatibility bug fixed
- Tabbed box and accordion: a bug that was generated when these two code sources appeared on the same page has been fixed
By Nick Dawe, on 2 September 2010
Just a short post to say that there are now nearly 400 websites using Silva at UCL (we expect the 400th to come in the next few days!). These don’t include test sites, or sites within sites (such as the many subsites in e.g. www.ucl.ac.uk/isd).
As the service grows, we’ll continue to develop and improve its various facets as well.
By Nick Dawe, on 12 August 2010
Anyway, here are some of my favourites:
By Nick Dawe, on 4 August 2010
It may seem like an unimportant issue, but web editors might be interested in reading a recent post from CSS-Tricks detailing good practice for writing URLs:
I was particularly struck by the URI ‘speech-friendly’ test: Can you easily say a URL down the phone to someone else, or do you have to pause between characters to say whether they’re lower/upper case? Do you have to describe any funny punctuation marks that appear? Is the URI unhelpfully long, and indeed does it even make any sense?