Monthly Archives: August 2005

Vignette Migration – Preparations to Launch

We have what is hopefully the full checklist needed to launch our first website in the new system.  We’ll be going over it tomorrow (Tuesday) with the group to make sure everyone knows what they are doing and who is responsible with what.  We’ve been using BaseCamp to keep track of everything for each of the websites and we’re going to make sure everyone is using that so we know at a glance where each website is.

Our checklist includes:

  • Training the publication’s content entry staff on the new systems so they have time to get used to it before they are forced to use it.
  • Finish preparing the static HTML pages, including applying the CSS and entering them into the Vignette v7 CMS.
  • Create the XSLTs and the Preview app for the content types.
  • Finish setting up the Production Environment for the CMS/CDAs.
  • Setup the Layouts for the publication website.
  • Run the migration scripts to move the content from Vignette v6 to v7.  Then we have to go through and check the content for any v6 URLs are remove them.
  • Code a custom 404 script to try to direct users to the proper content if they come into the site using a Vignette v6 URL.
  • Rewrite the static content URLs so that we can use some type of token for them in content entry.

It’s not a final list, but includes the big stuff.  Lots of detail to bring together and we’d like to get at least a beta site finished in September so that the publisher can run through it and make sure everything was moved over properly.  It’ll also give us time to work out any bugs we may find in the code/process.

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Vignette Migration – Static Pages Headache

One of the biggest problems we are facing in the migration is all the static HTML pages we have on the sites.  If we weren’t changing the look & feel of the websites at the same time, it wouldn’t be such a headache, as we could import them directly as static pages in v7.  However, since we are changing the look of the websites, we have to go through every static page and remove any references to the header, sidebar and footer.

The other issue is the static image and pdf files.  They’re not too difficult to move over, but both the URLs and the Vignette IDs used to reference them will change in v7.  So we have to go through the system and look for any hardcoded urls in the content.

On top of these issues, our publishers need to continue to update some of the static pages, so we have to keep track of when updates occur and try to make sure we have the current copy of the pages when they go live in v7.

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Vignette – You have to buy the Support we want to sell you…

Our support contract with Vignette is up.  So they sent me a new one – which has several problems with it.  First off, they’ve been overcharging us by 2 CPUs for supporting a development box (you only pay for production CPUs) and they’ve been doing this for years.  Secondly, we’re in the midst of the migration to v7 and that environment only has 1 production CPU (yep, we learned something from the v6 environment).  So when I asked them to just charge us for the v7 support since we were going to migrate to it this year, they came back telling me what support we could have (as opposed to what I wanted).

I was told that the support for the v6 environment would cover the v7 environment during our transition, which is nice but very expensive.  As long as we require support for the v6 CPUs, we have to pay for it, which is true, but I think we can be the judge of what we need support for.  If that system was to crash in the next year, we only get phone support anyway and that’s not going to be much help.  More importantly, I was told that they would have to get their legal department involved to change the support to remove the 2 CPUs they’ve been overcharging us for, and certainly if we just want to pay for the 1 v7 CPU.  They also questioned why we only had 1 CPU in v7 – maybe because all of the issues we’ve had with your product add up to us trying to minimize the risks and committment we have to it?

And since I’ve given them low marks on their Customer Satisfaction Survey, now all of sudden all the divisions want to know why.  Why should I spend the time now to educate them when they make my job so much harder than it has to be?  Why do I have to figure out how to minimize our use of their product because of all the problems with it?

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