ITS launches Drupal-based SiteNow website hosting service

ITS launches Drupal-based SiteNow website hosting service

Using the Drupal content-management system as a framework, ITS in 2012 launched a new website hosting service called SiteNow, allowing customers to build and customize their own websites from a standard starting point, or to hire experts from the ITS-Enterprise Services web team to help create their site.

Drupal, an open-source content management platform, provides user-friendly tools for creating and maintaining websites. In developing the Drupal-based SiteNow service at the UI, ITS wanted to ensure accessibility, mobile device compatibility, and usability of the university’s websites across all user devices and operating systems. This service is designed to be simple to use and maintain and includes functionality to support web forms, people directories, calendar events, rotating banner images, and basic news items.

ITS also worked with University Communication and Marketing to maintain UI branding standards and create some continuity in the look and feel of UI websites. Users can create and maintain new sites using design elements from the new UI Home Page.

Two levels of service

SiteNow comes in two flavors, standard or custom, depending on the level of service the customer needs.

SiteNow Standard

The SiteNow Standard option allows UI students, faculty or staff to start with a basic template and theme in Drupal and customize it with their own content, layout, and color palette. This option is well suited for many of the basic websites maintained by student organizations, units or departments, labs, studios, or classes that do not need special capabilities. It replaces the 15-year-old static HTML central web-hosting service (known internally by the server names Lime and Fog), and is available at no cost.

SiteNow Custom

The SiteNow Custom option is for sites that have advanced graphic design needs, require integration with other UI systems, have complex development requests, or are of a scale that won’t fit the standard service. UI customers hire ITS to develop their sites.

ITS provides project management, card sorts, surveys, custom design and logos, and module integration with campus systems such as Master Calendar, Academic and Professional Record (APR), and White Pages. Other customers go with the “lite custom design,” which offers custom development and integration using a variation on an existing template or theme for the design.

2 years, 100+ sites

In 2012-13, the web team built more than 100 new sites for the university.

The team redesigned the Office of the President’s external site and introduced a refactored version of the UI’s outreach site, complete with a state map that highlights how the UI impacts the lives of Iowans and is viewable by County, House, Senate, and Congressional districts.

The team also designed new sites for University Housing and Dining including http://dining.uiowa.edu as well as housing and catering, the Office of the Provost (6 sites), Finance and Operations (8 sites), and Athletics (4 sites).