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Improving the University Web Publishing Platform and Service

The University Web Service is working on a project to provide a centralised, innovative and future-proof web publishing platform to the University web estate

The University Web Service provides the technical infrastructure to deliver websites – across business units, Schools and Colleges – adhering to the University website standards and branding, all hosted on the ed.ac.uk domain. The backend content management system for the infrastructure, EdWeb, is based on a Drupal 7 platform due to reach end of life in late 2022.

This project seeks to establish a central Web Publishing Platform that is based on supported technology and able to host the more than 400 websites and tens of thousands published pages currently stored on EdWeb as well as the other sites currently operating on other platforms.

As a whole, the project aims to provide a service that is more flexible in allowing the University to host more use cases and website content in a consistent, coherent way in support of the wider web estate. The comprehensive platform will provide a baseline for a wider scope of use across the more than 1,800 fragmented University websites which currently rely on a range of platforms, technologies and approaches with their own unique security considerations and risks.

Phase one of the project, running through summer 2021, involves working with the third-party supplier to build and establish the technical infrastructure, hosting environment and development processes to ensure continual support for the platform. The University’s internal Website and Communications team will be closely involved in the process to ensure sufficient knowledge transfer and that the platform can be configured and evolve to best meet the users’ needs.

While the first phase focuses on creating an environment to help evolve the platform and continuously improve on based on user needs, later phases will involve the delivery of the platform and migration of content. Ultimately, the project aims to empower website teams in the University to make use and extend appropriately the service offerings in line with University standards and guidelines.

The project has been and continues to consult stakeholders including the active web publishing community, the Communications and Marketing Team and college IT leads for feedback and input on the Web Publishing Platform and related services.

We very much want to support communities of practice and build a model around services of ongoing feedback loops coming from stakeholder groups and feeding into a backlog of features and activities for the service,

Stratos FilalithisHead of Website and Communications Technology

Learn more about the project on the Website and Communications Blog: The road to the new University Website platform and services – Website and Communications Blog (ed.ac.uk)