IT Services supports three types of website platforms for UCC:
- Sites for UCC business units implemented through the TerminalFour Content Management System, or CMS.
- Sites for research projects and social pages implemented through the Wordpress platform.
- Legacy sites hosted on the UCC webserver but which are neither TerminalFour or Wordpress (usually HTML with some PHP or MySQL database requirement)
The default platform is the TerminalFour CMS. The vast majority of UCC sites are implemented through this platform. Our highest level of support is available for these sites. The CMS does not require any previous technical knowledge of websites — you don't need to know HTML to create a UCC website through the CMS. This is the quickest and easiest way to get a website up and running, and which we provide classroom based training, online "How To" guides as well as email and phone support should you run into any difficulties.
The CMS allows us to maintain UCC websites more efficiently, and to effectively apply the UCC brand to all central websites. The appearance of sites managed through the CMS is more uniform, and changes made to content types and page layouts are available to all sites. So if we improve something for one site, we can roll-out that improvement to all sites in a straightforward manner. Any additional templates created for you by the panel of Web Design Support Suppliers (following the Visual Identity Guidelines) will be made available to all users.
The Wordpress platform is particularly useful for ad-hoc use, social, and research projects. Again, it is not necessary for site moderators to have detailed technical knowledge to create and maintain a Wordpress site, although some experience of websites is useful. Currently we do not offer bespoke Wordpress themes (although we are looking into developing more UCC related themes in the future) so site owners are responsible for any additional development required. UCC business units (colleges, faculties, schools, departments, offices, units, and central admin) must use the main web site CMS except where there are wholly exceptional technical reasons. The UCC Wordpress platform is a domain-based multisite installation: we take care of security and updates to the system, but only for Wordpress-approved themes and plugins (we have to install them, and there is no sftp or ssh access for code modification or private development).
Sites that are neither TerminalFour CMS or Wordpress ("homebrew" HTML or PHP, for example, or privately-written Wordpress) can only be implemented on the UCC webserver only if there is a truly critical strategic business or technical requirement that cannot be facilitated through either of the other two platforms. Such sites can pose a risk to the security of the webserver and we can only facilitate them if a) there is documented and permanent commitment on behalf of the site owners to maintain the code for such sites in a secure manner; b) strong evidence of ongoing professionally-qualified technical competence; and c) a maintenance or support contract in place. Such sites will be regarded as temporary, and along with existing (legacy) sites of this kind will eventually be migrated into the main CMS or Wordpress servers, or directed towards a specialist platform not part of the main web site.