The Client's main goal was to replace the legacy portal system based on Microsoft CMS. One of the challenges we faced while working on the project was the organization of uninterrupted operations of both the old and new portals during the migration process that had to be performed in several iterations. It was resolved through using of Apache proxy server that was routing the requests to the appropriate portal basing on the information about where the requested content is located. The Client also announced very strict time constraints we only had 3 months to build and deliver the first fully functional portal.
Taking into account strict time constraints and specific client requirements (SEO, localization, internationalization, scheduling, RSS, etc.) Troy's specialists examined numerous open source and commercial products available on the market (such as Alfresco, Magnolia, OpenCMS, etc.) to find the best solution for the future system. As the outcome we presented a comprehensive analysis containing comparison matrix, functional proximity, estimations for platform customization and enhancement and live platform demonstration. After thorough investigation we opted an open source platform (OpenCMS) as the most suitable solution.
The project lifecycle included business analysis, requirements specifications design, application development, total testing, documentation creation and constant change requests handling. Several online meetings both on Troy and the Client's side were organized to streamline the project flow.
Several versions of the application were built and deployed constantly enhancing the functionality. We paid special attention to the system performance and stability as each portal has more that 20,000 visitors daily.
Standard CMS functionality that includes: pages content modification, articles search, multilingual articles, articles pagination, visitors register and login, rating and comments, FAQs, etc. Enhanced custom elements dealing with workflow and content management:
- Metadata Editing. Gives the opportunity to edit titles, headings, tags, keywords, etc.
- Content Scheduling. Content may be published according to the schedule that concerns holidays, promo events, special dates, etc.
- Content Effectiveness Testing. Efficiency of different kinds of content among the target groups is measured and compared.
- Integrated Analytics System. Several third-party analytical solutions were integrated into the CMS system to provide capabilities to evaluate content effectiveness and traffic load.
- Workflow Customization. Custom workflows can easily be created and added if it is required at any time.
- Workflow Management. This option was introduced to provide capabilities for formal description of content change procedures according to the business process by assigning the appropriate roles and establishing required number of steps before publishing (e.g. change, approve, publish).
The solution is based on OpenCMS engine and enhanced with custom functionality developed using Java 1.5 platform. Database communication and workflow management are realized via the Hibernate and jBMP third-party solutions. Two servers, both running under Sun Solaris 10 operating system, are used to run the solution: a WebLogic-based application server serving dynamic content and an Apache-based web-server dealing with static content. Many of the portals front-end pages use AJAX to provide dynamic update of the content thus increasing usability.