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

  • 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.

  • First Sitefinity class is full

    November 9, 2015, 17:13 PM by Pep Valdes
    We have reached capacity on our first Sitefinity training session. If you are interested but couldn’t or didn’t make this first classroom session, watch this site for a webcast of the presentation and supplemental training and support materials.
  • Web Content System training class being piloted on Nov. 10; limited seats available

    November 3, 2015, 17:12 PM by Pep Valdes

    A date has been set for the pilot Sitefinity Content Management System training/workshop. The class will target midlevel web developers, the “designer” role–people who are setting up, building sites and populating initial content.

    Sitefinity CMS Training/Workshop
    Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015
    10 a.m. to Noon
    Library Room 238 (Testing Center)

    This first class will be limited to approximately 25 people and reservations are required. The first hour of the session will be spent in a demonstration of the tool and its workings. During the second hour, participants will be broken into smaller groups for hands-on exercises with the tool, with facilitators working with each group.

    The demo session will be recorded and made available online.

    To reserve a spot, send a message to

    Learn more about this tool and the Web Reboot by exploring this site.

  • “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.

  • It’s a game changer, and it’s done

    October 8, 2015, 17:07 PM by Pep Valdes

    Today at about 12:27 pm, the new www pages in the Sitefinity content management system went live. Our home pages are now responsive, and we took a major step forward in our project to re-think and re-engineer web development at UTMB. A short while later, I edited my first live page in Sitefinity, and it was a breeze. The performance issues we discussed a month ago have all been addressed, the system blazes.

    We’re still tweaking and still discovering things that need changing (and outdated content is always an issue). However, we made a huge step forward today thanks to the herculean efforts of a small but dedicated multi-departmental team that I am proud to count as colleagues.

    We are looking forward now to expanding our ranks, to working with more developers around campus as we roll out this tool. In the meantime, if you encounter any problems, contact the IS help desk or send us a message.

  • Work under way on “www,” registration form to be ready next week

    October 7, 2015, 17:00 PM by Pep Valdes

    With the launch of the new iUTMB behind us and everything humming along, there’s a lot of furious work taking place in anticipation of launching the internal home page’s big brother, the responsive, Sitefinity CMS version of the public home page. It’s a complex project with a  lot of moving pieces, we expect to hit snags and—as we’ve done dozens of times in the past year—should be able to bleed and power through them.

    While the work on the page launch is taking place, the registration and site request form is being finalized. Our goal is to have that available to users next week. We’re also working on updating some of the documentation and “how to’s”; our change from Foundation to Bootstrap (for the responsive approach) left us with some out-of-date screenshots.

    As a reminder, the new iUTMB page may be seen at (Users must be on the UTMB network or VPNed to access; use any modern browser for a full-featured experience.) For comparison, the original iUTMB is still available at The intranet site is behind the firewall and truly internal; the www/iUTMB page is public and will change when we change the public home page. We hit two minor surprises, with images and resources links, when we went live, but both were resolved within an hour.

    To see some of the new features, click on the newly relocated alerts or the calendar items. Or, resize your desktop (or visit on your phone if you are on our UTMB network) to see the responsive design in action.

    A caveat: if you’re on an old version of the web browser Internet Explorer (IE), you’ll get a clean presentation but none of the bells & whistles or the dynamic resizing. The videos also won’t work, they’re on YouTube which uses HTML 5. Make sure you’re not in “compatibility mode” in any version of IE; it takes you back to IE7/6 and is often on by default. Kudos to Mike Cooper for an incredible amount of work to get the backward compatibility in place. Most companies and organizations have just walked away from old browsers, which wasn’t a good solution for us. If you have an older version of IE (IE 8 or below) and have the option to upgrade to a newer version of IE or install a modern browser such as Firefox, please do so.

  • The biggest change you’re likely to not notice…

    October 5, 2015, 16:56 PM by Pep Valdes

    In the words of Information Service’s Toby Smith:

    “The internal home pages have been switched to Sitefinity. One down, one to go.”