The Ides of March: Come and Gone!
The Ides of March has come and gone. To many, that’s no big deal. Let’s get on to the business of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, right?
But to the team at Infotex, it is a really big deal. Infotex has released an upgrade to our portal, my.infotex.com, with the introduction of a new “blog site” based on WordPress instead of Geeklog. This site will eventually be the authentication point for all classes of users (from various levels of “public” through “client” and “associate” to various levels of “employee.”) The platform offers many benefits, brings in contributions from all user groups, and facilitates increased functionality and enhanced interactivity with other parts of the portal.
We posted an announcement on the portal the day we upgraded, but this is our official “news release.” You know . . . think in terms of “environments!” Development, Test, Production, Post-Production-Test, Test-again, and “Come on, let’s tell everybody about it!” Thank you to those of you who visit our portal daily, and have already given it the thumbs up!
We first established “migrate off geeklog” as a goal in November of 2008. It was part of a whole myriad of changes that we planned in reaction to a user feedback consortium that was held in the fourth quarter of 2007. But by November of 2008 Danny Osborn had “graduated” to the informal though scary role of portal coordinator. That was when a paradigm shift occurred.
Danny, who is now more formally our “Portal Development Coordinator,” shifted our development approach to from a monolithic development project to an incremental continuous improvement process. This was no small feat, as it required us to think differently. Then we needed to create a modular infrastructure which would allow the portal to improve on an organic, as-we-think-of-it schedule, rather than the old (frustrating) schedule of major and minor releases. Danny also had to work within the constraint that every user-type must be able to contribute to development, “rather than just the geeks.”
To build this infrastructure, many incremental improvements have been made in the background, not to mention a few big changes. A few months ago we sent a letter to our clients announcing many of the “invisible,” infrastructure improvements. But those improvements merely laid the foundation for what we’re now able to finally roll out. These improvements were more or less “invisible” to our clients. The new blog site is our first “visible” improvement since we started this modular, steady-as-she-goes approach to adding functionality.
The March 15th release established the beginning of a process of replacing our content manager. Migrating from geeklog to wordpress will create a lot of opportunities in our continuous improvement process. Now we’re leveraging the assistance and creativity of non-technical as well as technical people. And even within the technical realm, improvement shouldered by CSS, PHP, and “WIDGET-friendly” geeks rather than “just the coder.”
A great example of how this will benefit improvements: we’ll be making our policy set available to certain client types . . . in wiki and boilerplate format. At the same time, we’ll be advancing our social media programs such as Vigilize and infotexnow using this platform. And also: we’re shifting to a distributed architecture on client-accessed databases (such as snort, Logmon, etc.)
The first phase of this “phase within a phase within a phase” is to simply make the cutover. That is done. To log into the normal portal functionality beyond our blog posts, the user will simply go back to the “old geeklog site.”
The next visible phase, beyond creating content, is what we’re calling “Authentication.” It’s scheduled for (NO, DON’T SAY IT!)
Well, I’ll have to admit, when the final release date for this phase became March 15th, I took advantage of some Shakespearean poetry!
Dan Hadaway CISA, CISM
Comment from dhadaway
Time 03/16/2010 at 3:51 pm
I’d really like to thank Danny Osborn (Portal Development Coordinator), Michael Hartke (CSS-Man), Bobbette Fagel (Tester Again), Jason Rubsam (a year’s worth of infrastructure improvements in seven months), Chad Smith (Plugin Guy) and Sean Waugh (Rock).