New CMS Backend

So…. the CMS backend has moved to the new application that is going to house all of our applications. There are some features that are currently not working, mainly on purpose because I am doing some big changes behinds the scenes in order to move ALL of our content into our database. I could go into details about how our current system works that makes it limiting, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, our content currently is located on physical files, not backed-up, rather than in a database. Over the next few weeks we will be migrating the websites into our database… well, you will and I’ll explain how.

Step 1

A while back I added some code in the CMS so that whenever you edited a page, it saved that page content into our database. This was in preparation for what we need to do now. If you have edited a page over the past several months, its content is probably already in the database. If you have some pages that you haven’t edited in quite a while, most likely those pages are not in the database. So our first task is to move this content into the database, but of course, there are a few strings attached to this process… mainly house cleaning.

When you log into the RCDE application you will see a CMS button in addition to the Orientation button. Clicking on the CMS application should bring up you basic site information page with your editable sites on the left. From any sub-section of the CMS you can change your current working site at the top right as well. This WILL NOT kick you back out to the main page of the CMS as it does in our current system.

In other words, if you are working on the Brigham City calendar and you change your current working site to Kaysville, you will then be looking at the calendar for Kaysville

If you click on the Pages button you should see the pages editor window which may hurt your eyes for a moment. On the left you will see a series of grey and white page titles. The grey ones are saved in the database, the white ones are not saved in the database. Your task here is two-fold.

  1. Save each page in the database (This can be accomplished by simply clicking on the page in the left menu and then hitting the “Save Page” button
  2. Make sure there are no duplicate pages.
  3. Make sure all pages have good titles. (Not too long, not too short, and not  url text). (Two lines IS too long)
  4. Remove any un-needed pages.

A Word of Warning about Duplicates

If there are duplicate pages, pages using the same URL, it may be hard to tell which one is “ok” to delete. If one is grey (already in the database) and one is not (not in the database), that means the grey one has been updated more recently than the white one. You can probably delete the white one. If both files are either white or grey, it might be harder to tell. What I suggest is looking closely at the content in both files to see if they are different. Whichever one matches the content currently displayed on the website is the one you want to keep. (Click the “View Page” button at the top right to view the page on the site). Be very sure that the page you are looking at is a duplicate before deleting it. Just because it has the same page title as another page doesn’t make it a duplicate. It is ONLY a duplicate if the URL is exactly the same. You can view the URL by clicking on the page in the left menu and viewing it above the page content area OR hovering over the page title in the left menu.

A Word of Warning about Un-Needed Pages

After you have removed duplicate pages, you will want to remove pages that are no longer needed. It is ok to keep pages that you have marked as pending because you aren’t using them currently, but there are many pages that I have seen that exist but just aren’t used. These can and should be removed to reduce clutter. I have made an attempt to “hide” from the list any critical pages, but some may still be there.

If you see a page that you are not using, but you have no idea what it is or if it is used for something, please check before deleting it. If you do delete a page

I am pretty sure that there are no pages like this showing, but this is a trial run and I need your help finding pages I might have missed. The delete button shouldn’t even exist for site critical pages like the homepage, calendar, news, and degree pages.

Why Not to Worry

During this process you are only removing data from the database. If you delete a page from the CMS using the new system, it will still exist and everything will still be fine. You can easily get it back by logging into the website as you always have before going to that page and hitting save page. You may have to mark the page as public as well. It “might” mess some stuff up for the moment, but like I said, you aren’t actually deleting the page, we can get it back. Anything else besides the content area WILL affect the actual page. Banner images, left menus, and page titles will change on the live site.

Step 2

Once everyone has saved all needed pages to the database AND removed all duplicates, I will do step two which is to switch the display portion of our site to use the database rather than the files on our server. This process will go smoothly ONLY if, all pages are saved AND there are no duplicate pages. If there are pages not in the database, those links will be dead. If there are duplicate pages in the database, errors will be thrown when users try to reach those pages. So step one is a crucial part of step 2. There is no current time frame for this process so please just do it as you have time, but if anything else is pressing, do that first. I know many of you wear different hats.

In the Meantime

While we are doing this migration process please try to use the “new” CMS backend as much as possible. You should be able to do just about everything in it that you could in the old one. You can also still use everything in the “old” CMS as you normally would. The only feature that is currently disabled is the “New Page” feature and changing the URL of the pages. The reason you cannot make a new page is because the new CMS only edits the database. So making a new page in the database does you no good yet because the current site only pulls from the actual files on our server. The reason you cannot edit the URL yet is until we make the switch, this will only server to create duplicate pages.

You should be able to manage the pages, menus, news, calendar, and directory in the new CMS. I am looking forward to hearing your feedback in regards to things would like added/removed/changed when dealing with the CMS. If you see anything that seems to not be working as it should, please let me know about it. You may want to review my other post that describes some of the features of the new CMS backend. If you have any questions about what you need to do, please just give me a call and I’ll be more than happy to walk you through the process.

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