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Informatics Commercialisation Website

Project ID: 
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Description: Zope/Plone development work for the Informatics Commercialization and Ventures web sites. Create/extend a number of Plone modules and page templates to support these web sites. Includes integration of the new skin from the Informatics Branding exercise. While this work is initially directed at the Informatics Commercialization and Ventures web sites only, it is intended to provide suitably re-branded page templates and supporting functionality for Informatics Institute and Research Project web sites.


  • Integration of new Informatics skin into the WCMS Plone.
  • Provision of CSS page templates using the new Informatics skin for the Home page, Portfolio pages (for projects, spin-outs and start-ups), Technology Areas page, Calendar page, News page, Events page, Projects pages, Licesning pages and a general custom content page.
  • Support for Commercialisation staff who will be adding the content onto each page.
  • Cosign authenticated access control. Support for users with EASE accounts.
  • Provision of some kind of site search mechanism to search on keywords.
  • Plone News module appropriately integrated into the new Informatics skin and News web page template. The news module will be driven from a database which can be updated on a regular basis by the commercialization staff. The news module should allow administrative staff to add/edit/remove articles and publish them to the website. There should be an RSS feed so viewers can subscribe to our news releases. A list of most recent news summaries will be displayed along with a list of archived months. Viewers should be able to select an individual news article which will take them to a page displaying that individual news article.
  • Plone events calendar and registration module integrated into the new Informatics skin and Events web page template. The events module allows users to view all internal and external events that are of interest to Informatics Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer (with ICAL and VCAL support). The events page will enable administrative staff to post new types of events which are of interest to Informatics commercialization. Events may be internal or external. Provide an event subscription based system so that site visitors can register for events and also have the option of being notified of new events that are added to the calendar.
  • Plone Blog module appropriately integrated.
  • Plone Wiki module appropriately integrated.
  • Plone Forum module appropriately integrated. This module will provide an online forum system for discussions.
  • Plone Photo Gallery module appropriately integrated. This module will allow a user to create a photo or picture gallery on a page.
  • Plone Multimedia module appropriately integrated. This will provide the ability to embed video on a page with viewer, like YouTube.
  • Plone module to generate random content for the main page (eg. profile of a technology spin-out, recent news or event) appropriately integrated.
  • Plone module to display the technology licensing database from ERI appropriately integrated. This would require a feed of data from ERI that is cached in a Plone accessable database as a separate process. This will highlight all technology available for license. If we cannot get an ERI feed then we would have to maintain the local database manually - hence the module would need to allow administrative staff to manipulate licensed technology content.
  • Plone form for newsletter signup appropriately integrated. This allows a user to register name, company, address etc and to sign up for any newsletters.
  • Ability for viewer to email web page to another person. Provide a link on page templates for user to click on to do this.
  • Provide a "page not found" page when a URL is requested that does not exist - should include a link to click on to mail report about the missing page or bad link.


  • Colin Adams - Director of Commercialisation
  • David Richardson - Senior Business Development Executive (Commercialisation)
  • Andrew Mitchell - Senior Business Development Executive (Ventures)

Case statement: The University rebranding will not roll down to Institute level in any reasonable timescale. External consultation has shown that the different individual Institute branding creates a confused image of Informatics to the external world. A new content management system is deemed necessary to replace the existing Informatics web site technology. The templates and functionality implemented in this project will go a long way towards the goal of providing a new Informatics web site and technology supporting Institutes, Research Projects and any Spin-Out or Start-up.


Status: There's a lot of overlap with this and project 93, Future direction for the main Informatics web service, we will concentrate in making progress in project 93, and then come back to this as something more concrete has been produced for 93.

After checking with the customers, they were happy to draw a line under this project, and finish it as is. So the project is moving to sign off Feb 2010. The final report is available at

Timescales: While much work can proceed in parallel with the re-branding exercise, cannot be completed until integration with the new skin. Provisional completion date will be end of 2008 but is dependent on the timescales provided by the chosen re-branding company.

Priority: High.

Time: Not easy to estimate given our current lack of expertise in Plone module development. However, we will say 6 FTE weeks over 12 FTE weeks.


Proposal: Roughly - setup a parallel Zope/Plone installation so work on modules and skins can be carried out without risk to the production WCMS. Try and find Plone modules that meet or almost meet required functionality and extend and integrate as necessary. Create suitable draft page templates in liaison with commercialization staff and skins provided from the re-branding company.

Resources: Work will largely be carried out by Iain under the Research & Teaching Unit. A machine to run a development Zope/Plone installation on.

Plan: See Proposal.


Dependencies: None of note.

Risks: A lot more Plone module devlopment is required than anticipated.
Zope/Plone may not be the right CMS for us (now or in the future).


Proposed date Achieved date Name Description
2008-10-23 2008-10-15 1 SetupDevServe Setup a development server to test commercialisation plone site work.
2009-10-01 2 ClarifyBuilti See which builtins already meet the requirements for a deliverable.
2009-10-01 3 EffortEstimat Give an estimate to the effort required for each deliverable. Also state which deliverables, aren't, eg the EASE auth.
2009-10-01 4 Prioritise Prioritise the deliverables with customer.
2009-10-01 5 Implementatio Start implementing deliverables in agreed priority.
2009-04-07 2009-03-06 handoverdocs Iain will produce relevant docs on progress so far for the next person to pickup from.
Docs received and put on wiki at
2009-10-01 1.1 ReviewMiles There is quite a bit of overlap with this project and the needs of project 93. So we will be concentrating on the web review/tech (proj 93), and once that is done/more progressed, will revise the milestones for this project.
Milestones reviewed 1/9/09, later ones but back 3 months. Will need to revisit hist milestone again.

This mileston is just a placeholder to remind us to see how proj 93 is doing.

2010-02-24 signoff Get this project accepted as done.