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

  • First major Sitefinity system upgrade nearly complete

    August 4, 2015, 16:33 PM by Pep Valdes

    We took the Sitefinity CMS offline on 7/30 for a core system upgrade; it should be available to the users who are part of our staging pilot later today (about 12 people).

    We knew upgrades are part of the Sitefinity ecosystem; our colleagues in Family Medicine have used this CMS for a few years and they had given us a sense of what to expect. Every good tool needs to evolve.

    However, because so much work has gone into getting us to this point, we were a little leery of launching a new version. After a demo session about it, the benefits looked pretty significant. Even better, the update work has gone very well: the system is running faster, we have better support for ASP MVC 5 and .NET 4.5, and a number of new, very slick MVC-based widgets have been added. The upgrade made sense now, during the pilot and before we had a hundred new users.

    Updates are part of our contracted service and we anticipate significant ones will come along at least annually. Once we are out of the build phase and operational, we envision those upgrades going through IS and following the sorts of protocols we use for other applications.

  • Marking an important milestone in our web evolution

    August 2, 2015, 16:54 PM by Pep Valdes

    Monday we’ll launch the new iUTMB page, and it signals reaching an important point for all of us involved in web development (and even web use) at UTMB. We’ll push the first of the new pages using the Sitefinity framework into production, and from there, there is no turning back. The conversion of the external home page will follow; we’ll have the timetable ready to share once we see how iUTMB goes and start to process the mapping and redirects to some 400 affected sites. (It’ll be roughly in the 10-15 days range.) In the meantime, we’ll finish up our site request form and start pushing out more information to developers and site owners.

    No one ever thought this job would be small or easy. But it’s worth taking a brief minute to celebrate where we are and share some of the technical accomplishments that were necessary to get us here. A lot of planning and hard work are coming together. The framework for UTMB web’s presence has been rebuilt anew, looking strategically to the future. Kudos to our colleagues on the ITC, the many others that have supported the effort, and especially Mike Cooper and Toby Smith, who teamed up to grunt this work into existence. Just focusing on the technical tasks, here’s a partial rundown of what’s been done: 

    Web Infrastructure

    • New Web Servers & IIS Configurations
      •     File/folder/site clean-up on all web server
    • New Databases
    • Multi-tenant web content management system (CMS)
    • CDN (Content Delivery Network)
    • Nuget Package Manager
    • UTMB WebNav API (Web API Service)
    • TFS (Team Foundation Server) version control / project management
    • Site Inventory Tool
    • Sitefinity AD (Active Directory) group

    Professional Modern Web Applications

    •  One frontend framework (presentation layer) for all UTMB web applications
      •     Sitefinity, WordPress, Web Apps/Sites
    •  Semantic, accessible, standards-based web architecture
    •  Adaptive approach to UI content delivery
      •     Mobile-First, responsive design (RWD) for modern browsers
      •     Static (adaptive) delivery for old IE
    •   Accessibility / SEO focused
      •     Content-first rendering
      •     HTML5 semantic elements – meaningful, targetted presentation for modern and future technologies
      •     WAI ARIA Roles for assistive technologies
    • Bootstrap-based frontend design and component framework
    • Lightweight, mobile-focused content strategy

    Web App Asset Management

    •  One code base / source, versioned for all UTMB web templates – UTMB Web 2.0*
      •     UTMB Sitefinity
      •     UTMB Web Apps – C#.NET, VB.NET, C# MVC, Classic ASP
      •     UTMB WordPress
      •     UTMB Mail (work in progress)
    •  Sass / Grunt workflow – all templates / frameworks
      •     Leveraging automated tasks for speed, accuracy and versioning
      •     CSS and JavaScript linting for debugging / validation
    •  CDN delivered web assets (CSS, JavaScripts,fonts, images, etc.)
      •     Everything over SSL
      •     Caching (speed)
      •     Parallel download (speed)
    •   Nuget Package Management – all apps (except Classic ASP or HTML)
      •     Automated project version updates inside of Visual Studio
    •  TFS source / version control – all core web projects (work in progress
    •  UTMB WebNav API – single (web service) source for all institutional menus
      •     Institutional
      •     Academic
      •     Business & Finance
    •  Site Inventory Tool (work in progress)
      •     Extend to incorporate content sign-off

    The UTMB Sitefinity CMS

    •  The UTMB Sitefinity Framework
      •     UTMB SF frontend templates (presentation layer)
      •     UTMB widget integration
      •     UTMB Site Settings module for managing site templates
      •     UTMB Dashboard – welcome messages, notifications, etc.
    •  UTMB Sitefinity CMS: Four core multi-tenant instances
      •     Intranet – (dev, stage, prod)
      •     WWW – (dev, stage)
      •     Academic – (dev, stage)
      • – (dev, stage)
    •  Custom configurations
      •     Ldap Integration (SF AD Group)
      •     Disabled modules not in use
      •     MVC Feather
      •     Mail/Forms integration
        •         UTMB Mail (forms/newsletter) templates (work in progress)
    •  UTMB Alert Bar capability across sites
    •  UTMB Sitefinity Documentation (work in progress)
    •  UTMB Sitefinity Training (work in progress)

    UTMB Web Root

    •  New SF hosted responsive home pages
      •     iUTMB and Public Home

  • Introduction to the Sitefinity CMS for Web Authors, Developers, Managers

    July 27, 2015, 16:30 PM by Pep Valdes

    On Tuesday, August 4, members of the Internet Technology Committee will be presenting an introduction to UTMB’s new web content management system, Sitefinity. The session will offer an overview and demo of the tool and target anyone involved in web site creation or web management at UTMB.

    Meeting details:

    Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015
    1  to 2:30 p.m.
    Research Building # 6, 1.206 Auditorium ***NOTE NEW LARGER LOCATION***
    (Formerly Children’s Hospital) 

    The meeting will offer a general project update and overview, define roles and types of users, show the CMS dashboard and primary tools, and describe the templates, navigation and types of pages and content. It will also outline how to request a new site, walk attendees through a checklist for creating or moving a site, address revised policies and requirements, and more.

    To ensure we can accommodate all attendees, RSVPs are requested. Send an email to  to reserve your spot. The meeting will also be recorded and posted online. 

    The content management system is part of a larger new web suite of tool and updates that were introduced this past May. Called the “Web Reboot,” the project also includes mobile site templates, 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.

  • Save the Date: Introduction to the Sitefinity CMS planned for Aug. 4

    July 27, 2015, 16:27 PM by Pep Valdes
    On Tuesday, August 4 at 1 p.m., members of the Internet Technology Committee will be presenting an introduction to UTMB’s new web content management system, Sitefinity. The session will offer an overview and demo of the tool and target anyone involved in web site creation or web management at UTMB. Details are coming soon…
  • Update on the Sitefinity CMS

    June 18, 2015, 16:21 PM by Pep Valdes

    It’s been a busy few weeks since we introduced the Web Reboot last May. In this post, I wanted to provide an update on where we are with one of the key tools of the project, the Sitefinity content management system.

     We’ve been working to build (and then optimize) the multiple installs/instances that will serve www, intranet, academic and .com. That work is finished, and we hit a major milestone last week when we started (on a limited basis) building actual pages.

    We selected a few developers to help us kick the tires and do some initial development. Part of the goal is to stress test the tool, but we also want to help inform the development of the training. So far it’s been going well. One of the sites being built is a user reference for Sitefinty users and developers, and that will likely be one of the first items we share with you.

    We will be working to push our first Sitefinity pages live in July; we are looking at dates in August for some classroom training sessions (on top of a decent amount of online content that exists or is being developed).

    The sandbox/playground we’ve set up for the Web Reboot introduction is still available for you. We are using it as the starting place for people interested in the tool, to give them a chance to get a feel for how it works.  

    To get the credentials to access the Sitefinity playground,  contact us at

    There is a good library of Sitefinity-related material online; not all of it applies to every user or to our implementation, but it’s a good way to scan what some of the capabilities are:

    More coming soon…

  • UTMB web outage scheduled for Sitefinity CMS software upgrade: What it means

    June 9, 2015, 09:45 AM by Pep Valdes

    Hopefully many of you have seen the alert that’s posted for this evening:

    UTMB and home pages and other select sites hosted in the UTMB Sitefinity Web CMS will be unavailable on Thursday, June 9, 2016 starting at 10:30 p.m. for scheduled Siteifnity CMS software version upgrade.If you have any questions please contact Mike Cooper, Marketing and Communications at

    Upgrades are nothing new, we’ve actually rolled out about five since we launched the tool. However, we’re actually pretty excited to be rolling this upgrade out, as it brings some nice performance enhancements and adds some features that many have been waiting on. The Sitefinity event calendar widget is part of this upgrade, and we’ll be developing templates/styles, training and communication around these new features in the coming days and weeks.

    If you are currently using Sitefinity, there is one thing you need to know: it’s going to look a little different the next time you log into your dashboard. We’re a house divided in our shop on whether the new look is better (OK, maybe I’m the only one that preferred the old look). It does look cleaner and fortunately the functionality is all still there and in the same place, so I don’t think anyone will struggle much once they get adjusted. Not even me. Here’s a screen shot of the old vs. the new:

    Old Sitefinity administration area screens

    New Sitefinity administration area screens

  • Project update: Razuna access and Sitefinity playground

    May 26, 2015, 16:19 PM by Pep Valdes

    It’s hard to believe it’s already been two weeks since we introduced the “Web Reboot.”  

    Of the projects mentioned on the project cheat sheet, Razuna, Siteimprove, the templates, Google Search, Site Inventory and Angelfish  are ready now. We recently fleshed out somebasic “how to” documents for the digital library (Razuna). We’re building them into a website, but you can get a PDF preview below:

    We’re still building out the content management system (Sitefinity), adding some features and developing the training. There is a programmers’ group meeting weekly on module and application development. And, there is a “digital playground” in place for those eager to get a peek at the tool and its functionality. This playground is shared; swim at your own risk and be advised it will be wiped. It’s really just a sneak peek. If you want to try it, contact us at and we’ll send you instructions and the credentials.