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Celebrating a year of going Drupal @ UMN

March 9, 2015
Happy First Anniversary UMN Drupal

The feedback we’re getting from our content contributors has been nothing but positive.

Tuesday, March 3, marked one year in the life of Drupal as the University of Minnesota's new content management system. On that date last year, University website owners began migrating from their UMContent sites to new Drupal sites and also started creating new Drupal sites from the ground up.

As Year 2 begins, our confidence in Drupal as a customizable, scalable tool of choice for creating, updating and maintaining reliable web sites has grown. Those benefits were the reasons the University decided to transition from UMContent to Drupal. More than 600,000 web developers and site users rely on Drupal worldwide, and more than two-thirds of the top 100 U.S. universities have adopted it.

Quick facts & milestones

  • The first Enterprise Drupal site went live on Aug. 6, 2014. It was the University of Minnesota Rochester.
  • To date, more than 70 University Drupal sites have gone live, and more than 100 other sites are in development.
  • Live Drupal sites include:
    • The Twin Cities home page
    • Several Academic Health Center (AHC) departments, centers and institutes
    • College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and many of its departments
    • The Carlson School of Management
    • College of Continuing Education (CCE)
    • College of Liberal Arts
  • Decommissioning of UMContent sites continues at a steady pace. The number of sites moving off UMContent has continued to grow.  

Brent Engebretson, web administrator for the AHC's Office of Communications, has launched many Drupal sites during the past year. "The feedback we're getting from our content contributors has been nothing but positive," he said. "There is a steep learning curve with Drupal, but once you get there it is very easy to maintain and add content to your site; updates happen immediately rather than having to wait overnight."

Engebretson noted that the AHC started the transition process with 165 UMContent sites and took the opportunity to consolidate some sites and retire others. Once everything has been streamlined and converted to Drupal, he said, the AHC will have approximately 80 sites -- less than half the original number.

Rachel Lam, web administrator for CFANS who has worked to migrate CFANS sites from UMContent to Drupal, said maintenance and updates are much faster and easier with Drupal sites. "We get a lot fewer help tickets involving Drupal sites," she said. "Drupal is easy for content editors to use, so we receive fewer requests for assistance."

Naturally, some challenges and pain points accompanied the first stages of Drupal implementation. Today, IT Collaboration & Web Content Services has a much better understanding of common Drupal user issues and challenges. We can:

  • Set realistic expectations for site owners and developers
  • Address problems more quickly
  • Provide strong site building, maintenance, support and consultation, often eliminating the need for assistance from contractors
  • Continually improve upon and add new tools to our Drupal training program. These tools include labs that offer the opportunity to consult and troubleshoot issues one-on-one with a Drupal team member.

Stay tuned for Site Factory

Near the end of this academic year, we will launch a Drupal Site Factory tool that will be a valuable resource for staff and faculty members, student organizations, research projects and institutes. Site Factory will have more options for design, content and functionality than Google Sites and will not require a steep learning curve to create a Drupal site. It is designed to enable quick and easy creation of small sites that are visually attractive, fit the University's brand guidelines, and easy for site owners to update and manage.

Site Factory will offer a choice of a few professionally designed themes and page templates. For new sites, you'll be able to select a theme/template and develop your site using pre-set functionality for things such as labels, animation, news feed and photo gallery.

IT Collaboration & Web Content Services will fully support Site Factory sites and will also continue to support the development and maintenance of larger, more complex Enterprise Drupal sites.

Keep informed

For all the latest updates and developments involving Enterprise Drupal, we invite you to join our Google group.

Whenever you have questions, concerns or needs involving Drupal, please contact me.

Steve Nguyen
Service Director, Collaboration & Web Content Services
University of Minnesota
spn@umn.edu | 612-625-4774