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EdWeb project update

Every month at our web publishing community session we give an update of where we are at with the project to build our new Drupal based CMS – EdWeb. We took the opportunity to thank everyone for their continued help and support. And this month we even included a comprehensive live and exclusive tour of the actual CMS itself.

If you’ve never been to our monthly community session you should try and get along sometime. Details of the next one are:


At the last session in October the three key points of the project update presentation were:

1) The Beta version of EdWeb is now complete.

2) The University Website Programme’s own website has been successfully migrated into EdWeb.

3) 45% of lead publishers of Polopoly websites have accepted a migration phase.

With the Beta version of the CMS complete this meant that the University Website Programme website could be migrated from Polopoly into EdWeb using our auto-migration scripts and then tidied up by our experienced editorial team. Our colleagues in IS applications have built us a superb auto-migration tool to help move content from Polopoly into EdWeb. They’ll continue to improve and adapt this as we move further into the project and are able to migrate more sites. It’s an extremely complex process moving content from one CMS database to another and it’s really no exaggeration to say that there aren’t many Universities around the world who have attempted to this on the scale that we are. You can visit our first migrated site at It’s early days and we are already planning some updates to the design, but I have to say I’m actually incredibly proud of the team’s progress so far.

To plan the difficult and scary task of migrating the next 300 sites has involved communicating with over 80 web publishers around the University with a proposed migration time phase. 45% have already accepted and we are in communication with the rest as we gather requirements and critical dates to avoid. For some areas of the University the website is a fundamental part of how they run their business and they rightly want to protect that at all costs. We need to be careful of how and when we migrate sites to cause the least disruption for our Schools and Colleges and also our huge volume of website visitors. We are aiming for no site downtime and for all website addresses to keep working and stay exactly the same as they are currently. This is not easy technically and we are lucky that we have such a great team of staff around the University who are working really hard to collaborate and help us with this task.

One response I saw to the emails that were sent out by our team was from one of our lead publishers. It said “I just want to thank you for your help and support in this migration process”. With everything that was going on within our ordered chaos this actually really touched me. And it made me realise that it was time to thank our whole community of web publishers as well. So I’ll say it again to all of you. Thank you for your help and support in this migration process.

EdWeb demo

This month we also included a short demo of the current editorial interface, to give the community a flavour of what the experience of using EdWeb will be like. We briefly showed the key elements of the dashboard (to view personalised notifications about recent editing work) and page editing interface, detailing the improvements which we hope will make life easier for people using the new tool:

  • significantly more editing done in “wysiwyg
  • cleverer pasting
  • autosave features
  • autogenerated views of content
  • use of media in the ‘asset store’

Key to the success of EdWeb will be ensuring the usability of the tool, and persuading people that it will save them significant time and effort to use our service.

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