The UTMB Web Blog Tips, tech and news for the UTMB web community

  • Sitefinity: Update on training, where we are today

    April 7, 2016, 17:41 PM by Pep Valdes

    This morning we were working with a user new to our CMS, and as we listened to her project needs and were able to rattle off solutions, I caught myself in one of those neat moments of realization. This thing is real, and while there’s still a lot of work to do, an incredible amount has already been done and put in place. As of last Monday, we had about 50 Sitefinity www sites in production, and another seven intranet sites up and running. To the great people on my team, in IS and across the university who’ve contributed to getting us here, THANK YOU.

    We’ve  been asked several times about our next round of “in person” classes. As we’re also users of the tool, we’ve shifted gears and are spending several weeks moving a lot of our institutional content into the platform. However, we are planning to schedule additional classes in the second half of May. The dates are not set yet; we may actually do some polling to see what level of class people need/want most.

    However, no need to wait. We have some great resources online to help you get started whenever you are ready:

  • They took the “I” out of internet

    April 6, 2016, 17:40 PM by Pep Valdes

    If developing written content (for web or anything else) is part of your job, you probably know what a styleguide is, and you likely know that UTMB ascribes to a slightly customized version of what’s dictated by the Associated Press guide, the AP Stylebook. The guides outlines a standard set of rules for when to use commas, what gets capitalized, which abbreviations are ok (or is it OK?), preferred spellings, (note use of illegal Oxford comma) and so on.

    The wordy wizards at AP just announced that effective June 1, “internet” and “web” will cease to be capitalized. It’s the dawn of a new day.

  • “Introduction to Sitefinity” now online

    February 2, 2016, 17:36 PM by Pep Valdes

    A high-level introduction for people new to the Sitefinity content management system was hosted Jan. 20. It provided a general project update and overview, defined roles and types of users, and more. The session is now online and may be viewed below:

    Here are meeting materials for your review:

  • New map, provider search tool being introduced today

    New map, provider search tool being introduced today

    February 1, 2016, 17:33 PM by Pep Valdes

    We’re soliciting feedback on a new physician/provider search tool and new interactive campus map. Versions of both are now live and available for your review. Here are details:

    New physician and provider search

    A beta version of a new UTMB Health provider search website is being introduced. The directory current includes nearly 400 providers and features locations, photos, patient ratings and more (additional providers—eventually including residents—will be added).

    • The tool is integrated with a tool already used by faculty, managed by the Provost’s Office. Provider’s data for the search is tied to and will be updated in POWER.
    • The provider ratings are sourced from patient feedback via Press-Ganey surveys; results are published to the provider search site only if the provider has received at least 30 patient reviews in the past 12 months.
    • An extensive keyword list is being refined with input from administrators and faculty. These keywords will allow very granular and targeted searches.
    • The site is mobile device-compatible and compatible with all PC and Mac browsers.
    • This is phase 1 of the project; additional features and capabilities are in development.

    We need and welcome feedback. Send comments or questions about the new search tool to POWER Support.

    New campus map

    A new interactive map featuring all three UTMB campuses and all UTMB locations is also being introduced. It is mobile friendly, searchable, and can be edited in real time by project administrators. The map is built over the very familiar Google Maps platform. Some features users may wish to explore:

    • Use the search to find various UTMB locations.
    • Panoramas and Google Street View are enabled for numerous locations.
    • The map supports interior floorplans and plans exist to add to the ones currently available.
    • Users can get directions or share a view/link to any specific site.
    • The map supports virtual tours; additional tours are being developed.
    • The map can be embedded in existing web sites.

    Please preview the map and send your questions or feedback to

    The new map and directory are part of a web suite of tool and updates that were introduced in May 2015. Called the “Web Reboot,” the larger project includes mobile site templates, web link and spelling validation, a digital image library, new guidelines and page requirements, social media changes, and training and tutorials to support the web development community and those they serve. To learn more about UTMB’s Web Reboot, visit

  • Sitefinity “Work in Progress”

    December 17, 2015, 17:22 PM by Pep Valdes

    The launch of any new enterprise-level solution often feels like a game of prolonged “whack-a-mole”: you address one issue, and another pops up. The development and launch of Sitefinity has been no different. The small crew that worked/is working to install and manage the new content management system has tackled and resolved some major puzzles. We knew our environment (internal and external presence, dev and production environments, load balanced, CMS and non-CMS sites using a variety of templates, versions and approaches, etc.) would keep things interesting. And they have been, yet the team’s been able to get the job done.

    But the moles linger. Right now we’re working on issues with synchronization, load balancing, sharing content across sites, and some authentication. These are important things to have working consistently, and we’re getting good support from the vendor to figure out the best solutions. We’ll get this resolved, and the number one goal is to do it sooner rather than later. We’re still taking requests for new CMS sites, but are holding new ones in a queue until we get these issues worked out (we don’t want people losing work or having to do extra work).

    In spite of the occasional pain, we’re still really enthusiastic about the tool and are excited about sharing it widely. Watch for updates, we’ll post them here.

  • Sitefinity training materials and site request form now online

    December 1, 2015, 17:15 PM by Pep Valdes

    A good portion of the three weeks since the November Sitefinity workshop were spent fleshing out documentation and training material (including video tutorials), much of it shaped and inspired by what we heard during the class. Features, fixes and refinements have been and will continue to be added to the content management system. The CMS is “live” in the sense that it’s currently being used to build and deliver pages; we have begun to accept requests to set up new Sitefinity sites. But it would also be accurate to say we are still in the “soft launch” stage, still working out some processes and running across the occasional bug.

    Sitefinity is easy to use, but you will probably not be able to look at it and intuitively “figure it out.” If you are like me, one of those people who resorts to a manual/instructions/directions only after exhausting every other option, heed my advice: You will like Sitefinity much more if you take 30 minutes to review some of the basics about how the system works. If you have time for a class (next one will be in January), even better.

    Here are some of the materials we already have online:

    External thanks to Mike Cooper and Melissa Harman for developing most of the training site, and to Toby Smith and the team in IS for running with the site registrations/requests.

  • “Next Steps”

    October 29, 2015, 17:10 PM by Pep Valdes

    When we were planning the agenda for the Oct. 27 ITC meeting, there was one really clear theme: what are the “next steps.”

    The Sitefinity CMS is up and running smoothly and efficiently. Many of our top-level edu pages are now in the system, and we’ve been adding a few additional projects to the mix. There has been some major work since the last blog update, including a redesign and simplification of the server structure for the content system (more on some technical stuff in a future post). We’ve also been making improvements and refinements to the templates and core tool, and pushing those updates out after hours.

    We’ve also completed work on the registration form; this form is important as it will do several things: a) it will be the way you request any new site, including one to be hosted in Sitefinity; 2) we’ll use the info collected in the form—including things like site owners and assigned roles—to populate our site inventory; 3) it will provide the framework for the annual follow up/review required for all sites. We built “tips and guides” into the form, but one thing that came out of the ITC meeting was the need for an introduction or explanatory cover page for the process. We are developing that now and plan to have it ready for people next week.

    The same team in Information Services that currently sets up web sites will be getting the registration form requests; a meeting among them to go over Sitefinity took place this week, so that’s in place.

    We are planning a pilot Sitefinity training/demo class for the second week in November; once we have details we will push it out to the developer group. The class will target midlevel users, the role we are calling “designers” (planning a post soon w/ details on roles). These are people who are setting up/building sites and populating the initial content. We’re going to cap this first group at about 25 people, but we do plan to record the session and it should be a handy complement to the online documentation that we’ll be introducing.

    One final issue we discussed was adjusting our timetable, which originally had us all branded, in the new template and/or in Sitefinity by the end of this calendar year (you know, like now). That’s going to be rolled back and we’re going to propose the end of the fiscal year (next summer) as our new deadline. We think that’s very realistic and will give even the busiest people and areas time to work this in among other priorities.

  • More news and info coming on heels of ITC meeting

    October 29, 2015, 17:09 PM by Pep Valdes

    The Internet Technology Committee met this past Tuesday, and we’re working on an update to share with our web developer community now. Stay tuned, it should be posted here before the end of this week.

    We also welcomed a new member to the group, Barbara Petit. Barb serves as the administrator for the departments of Surgery and Othopaedics, and brings a valuable departmental perspective to the group.