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Future direction for the main Informatics web service

Project ID: 
Current stage: 

Description: Determine what changes/improvements, if any, should be made to the main Informatics web service

Deliverables: In the first instance a proposal for the changes to be made to the web service. Should these proposals be accepted, a new Web service as proposed.


Customer: School of Informatics

Case statement: University policy is that the vast majority of the current content of the main Informatics web service should move to the central University web service currently under development. For this reason, little effort has been devoted to developing Informatics' main web service for several years. It is now becoming clear that the central web service project is moving more slowly than originally
expected and its scope is, at least in the medium term, much shallower than expected. For this reason, we need to revisit the issue of what changes need to be made to the main Informatics web service to best meet the current and future needs of its users.


Status: We've had several meetings with the HoS (both current and the prospective), publicity, commercialisation and Head of Computing. It was agreed that we should try using Polopoly for at least some of the top front facing pages, so that we get experience of it. In the meantime were asked to produce a Plone template for institutes to use, which we are doing.

The work we've been doing in the name of this project is really beyond the scope of the original project. Also so much time has passed that things have changed. It was decided at the development meeting of 3/3/2010 to close this project and start a new one, project 158, which tracks what is actually going on.

The final report is available on the DICE Wiki

Timescales: A fine balance needs to be struck. If the project takes too long, then the benefits derived from it will be mimimal before the move is made to the central University service.

Priority: Medium-high





Plan: It's now clearer how the production of the new Informatics web site is going to proceed. it has been agreed between the HOS and the University web project that only the School's 'corporate/recruitment' content should be moved to polopoly with research group sites being delivered via Plone. Where this leaves teaching material isn't clear at the moment but this will no doubt be resolved in due course. A core group of stakeholders in the scholl website has been identified and will meet representatives from the University web project to facilitate the moving of appropriate content to polopoly. A separate meeting with Communications and Marketing is also being arranged to ensure that the School's brand is effectively delivered across the new site. The intention is to have the new polopoly site in service within the current calendar year.



Risks: If the project takes too long, the benefits may be minimal.

If insufficient thought is given to a migration path, much of the effort in setting up the new Informatics web service may have to be repeated when the final move is made to the central service.


Proposed date Achieved date Name Description
2010-03-31 Identify needs re-examine the data gathered for the web inovation meeting and identify the main areas for improvement of the existing www.inf website.

This may not happen, depending on the experience of using Plone for institutes.

2009-03-23 2008-10-20 Get date Obtain a best estimate for when we are likely to move the majority of www.inf content to the central web service. Use this date for determining which features should be added to the existing service.

This isn't going to happen like this. At a meeting containing the HoS, it was agreed to move a dozen or so pages in May to Polopoly, and then take things from there.

2010-03-31 proposals Produce proposals for improvements to www.inf service.

This will depend on how the Plone for institutes sites are received.

2009-07-01 2009-05-15 inst in a box We are going to produce an institute skin/theme for Plone and then provide a template institute site for people to use. This will give us a better feel for whether moving www.inf content (that's not moving to polopoly) to plone.

Version 0.2.2 of the skin has been shipped to wcms.inf and ICSA and CISA told about it. There are still some things that need tweaked, but not enough for it not to be be useful.

2010-03-19 2010-03-19 wrong Milestone created in wrong project
2010-03-19 2010-03-19 wrong Milestone created in wrong project
2010-03-03 signoff At the development meeting of 3/3/2010. We decided that this project be closed and signed off, and the work which had been attributed to this project actually be assigned to a new project, project 158. This new project records what we've actually been doing to improve the web site. The previous incomplete milestones are superseded by this milestone.