New Web System Allows You to Publish Immediately
Computing Services has announced a new Web publishing system that offers a number of enhancements to the previous process, most notably the ability to publish a collection immediately.
During the planning phase for the new Andrew Web Publishing System (AWPS), which is available from the My Andrew Web site (www.cmu.edu/myandrew/), several campus groups were polled for feedback and a wish list was compiled. Requested enhancements included a simplified publishing process, support for site rollbacks and the ability to publish immediately. The previous publishing system required overnight publishing.
"Input from the campus community was a huge consideration as we planned the new service," said Ryan Eberhard, user services project leader. "We were able to deliver on almost every feature requested, from real-time publishing to more sophisticated features like per-collection logging and link-check reports."
Amy Kiryk, Web manager for the Department of Athletics and Physical Education, was involved in testing the new system.
"I find the new system extremely user friendly," Kiryk said. "The most impressive feature to me is that I have the option to update my changes immediately. Since I deal with athletics this is a feature that is very important because of the nature of what we do. Most of the comments I receive from students, recruits, alumni and anyone interested in athletics are related to the importance of timely information. This new system will make my job a lot easier."
The AWPS underwent an extensive end-user trial period of several months. During this time, more than 100 real Web collections from participating groups across campus were tested. Although testing took additional time, the product has been released with a high level of confidence and end-user input.
"Our testing was extensive enough that we feel we've already addressed most of the problems that might be seen in real world usage," Eberhard said. "We're releasing AWPS to the campus community with a lot of confidence."
The first step in publishing on www.cmu.edu is to request a collection via www.cmu.edu/computing/documentation/webpub_2002/Collectionrequest.html. Once a collection has been granted, the user transfers files (using FTP) to a designated space on the staging server. Once transferred, the new system allows you to view, manage and publish your collection files using a convenient Web interface.
"What I like about the system is its new publishing flexibility," said Anne Jackson, webmaster for Skibo Coffeehouse. "You can either update the site 'now,' or specify when it should be updated. The old system only updated once a day (at 4 a.m.) so to have a site 'live' on Monday morning meant that we had to do the updates sometime on Sunday. I also appreciate the new reporting options. Seeing the site's metrics gives us a better sense of how popular the site is."
Collection-specific access logs give detailed information about end-user visits to your published content on www.cmu.edu. Link checking reports are also available under AWPS. Reports can be run immediately or you can subscribe to daily, weekly or monthly email reports.
To protect the integrity of the collection, users must first authenticate to AWPS through WebISO. Individuals designated as collection owners or administrators can grant access rights to their collection to others or they can edit existing permission levels.
Owners and administrators control who can publish the collection, view it while in the staging area, and obtain reports and a number of other functions. Through WebISO, they can also restrict access to specific directories within the collection by Andrew user ID.
Administrative Analyst Katya Malkin, who maintains the Mellon College of Science Dean's Office Web pages, said the new system makes it easier to teach people how to publish.
Aaron Spaulding, senior interaction designer with the Communications Design Group, likes the link-checking capability of the new system.
"Besides just streamlining the publishing process and letting me manage collections without telnetting and remembering Unix commands, it added some nice new features like the link checker," Spaulding said.
AWPS has no effect on publishing processes for UserWeb, OrgWeb, and CourseWeb on www.andrew.cmu.edu.
For more detailed information, review the online document "Publishing to www.cmu.edu with the Andrew Web Publishing System" at www.cmu.edu/computing/documentation/webpub_2002/webpub_cmuedu.html