Frequently Asked Questions

Signing up

Who can use the service?

The Web CMS service is available to UC Davis business and academic administrative units, including colleges, schools, and academic departments whose Web content is owned by the Regents of the University of California. Organized Research Units (ORU) and other research units identified by the Office of Research are included. A more detailed breakdown is provided on the Who can use this service page.

Do I have to use the Web CMS?

No. We recognize that the Web CMS is not always the best solution to meet the specific and individual functional, technical or publishing needs all campus units. Many site owners already have the resources, tools and capabilities required to publish and maintain standards-compliant, current Web content. The use of this service is not mandated.

How do I apply to use the Web CMS?

Units choosing to apply to use the Web CMS will be required to meet certain prerequisites, including:

  • Website content will comply with campus Web, branding, communications and accessibility standards.
  • Web CMS users will need to be trained by the Web CMS team or a trainer within the unit.
  • Clients must provide a Web hosting environment to serve the content managed in the Web CMS.
  • Clients must provide an appropriate secure transport connection between the Web CMSm and the Web hosting environment.

Please refer to the Who can use this service page to review other criteria regarding your eligibility to use the Web CMS. If you believe you meet the requirements, follow the instructions on the Sign-up page.

Will there be a charge to use the Web CMS system?

There is no cost to use the Web CMS to manage websites. There may be additional costs to the client to provide the required Web hosting environment if they do not have one. The campus provides a virtual web hosting service that clients can use to meet this need at a cost of $80 per year per instance. Contact Information Technology Professional Services for more information.

I've heard some units on campus will be excluded from using this new software. Is that true?

There are some restrictions on who can use the system. Personal sites, temporary sites (site for a one-time event), research labs and student groups generally cannot use the service. Please refer to the Who can use this service page for more information.

What kind of training will be available?

The Web CMS Service team provides training roughly every other week on Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00pm. Pre-registration is required and can be completed from the link under the "Need training?" heading on the Web CMS home page. Training is offered through a combination of ReadyTalk which provides the audio platform and a shared-desktop mode to follow the trainer as well as a hands-on environment that duplicates the real Cascade Server set-up. Attendees receive instructions and learn the steps while actually building pages and components.

Designated site managers, once trained, can opt to train new users themselves "in-house". When requesting an account for a new user, the site manager will need to indicate that they will take responsibility for that individual's training before an account request will be processed if that's the desired route.

Special exceptions can be made for large group training sessions off the regular established training schedule. Please contact the Web CMS Service team to discuss the details.

Training documentation on all our offerings is provided on our website, breaking the topics down by user role and function:

  • Introduction
  • Basics
  • For Everyone
  • For Managers
  • Content Library

In Development

In future (post-summer 2014), the Web CMS Service team will begin plans to implement on-line, self-initiated modular video learning through the UC Davis campus' LMS

The Web CMS team will provide training on the use of the standard template suite and functions to new users before providing them access to the service. Training may be in-person or online, depending on the client's needs and the availability of the Web CMS trainers. Alternatively, trained users in a unit may opt to provide local user training for others in their unit, as well. The Web CMS team will maintain training resource information on the Web CMS website. A campus Web CMS group that meets monthly and provides a forum for users to share experiences, ask questions and learn about new Web CMS features and best practices. There is also a Web CMS email list that allows users to share information and for the Web CMS team to communicate with the client base.

Management and administration

What software is used for the CMS?

The Web CMS Service uses Hannon Hill's Cascade Server software, presently on version 7.10.x.

How will users be managed?

User accounts, user groups, user roles and user permissions are maintained by the Web CMS Service administrators.

Do I need to use my own Web server?

Yes. Cascade Server serves only to manage Web content and does not provide hosting functionality. Because of the "decoupled" nature and the publishing paradigm employed by the system, sites managed within Cascade server are hosted independently of the Web CMS. Therefore, site owners will need to provide a target Web server that will serve as the destination for Web content and other assets that are published using the system. Your Web server can operate under any operating system and technology platform you choose, but must allow contents to be uploaded via a SFTP transport. Another alternative is to have your Web Content stored in the UC Davis Storage Area Network (SAN) environment, which Cascade Server can access as well.

Does the system integrate with campus CAS authentication?

Yes. The Web CMS allows for custom authentication, enabling Cascade users to authenticate directly to central campus identity management systems. For non-UC Davis users, visitor ("Guest") accounts can be established via IET to provide access to the Web CMS as required.

How do I report a bug?

If you encounter an issues using the Web CMS, your first option would be your unit's local Web CMS site managers. Otherwise, please report any issues to the Web CMS team.

Design and usage

How much flexibility will the system provide?

While Web CMS pages are template-based, the templates have been designed to allow customization by clients. Certain UC Davis branding, identity, and content requirements must be met for all sites, but the capacity for individuality in distinct websites will be retained. Clients will be able to select from a set of standard color schemes. They can apply their own Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript page-by-page and/or site-wide. Each site will have its own ownership, contact, and unit identity information. In addition, our newest template suite provides the ability to choose to add content using a content block model. This allows users to more easily create complex content (like inserting multimedia content).

Will everyone have to use the same template?

The intent of the Web CMS service is to provide a single suite of approved, robust, flexible standard templates and functions that can be centrally supported and enhanced and that meet campus branding and Web policies. We strongly recommend clients use the standard offering. If there is missing functionality, clients can request that features be added to the standard service. If the Web Team determines the function is something of potential value for all users, every effort will be made to add the function as appropriate. However, if clients feel they must have something more unique, they can develop their own custom components, provided:

  • The Web CMS team will not provide training on how to craft custom solutions.
  • Any customization must comply with all relevant campus policies and the Web CMS terms of service agreement.
  • The client assumes all responsibility for the maintenance, training and enhancements of their customization.

Information Technology Professional Services (ITPS) can provide Web CMS customization on a recharge basis. When ITPS receives a requests for customization, that request will first be reviewed by the Web CMS team to determine if it is appropriate. If the request is approved, ITPS will work directly with the customer to provide a cost estimate and schedule the work to be performed.

Who decides what templates will be available in the system?

The style for the templates are produced by the Strategic Communications staff and are designed to meet appropriate UC Davis branding, identity, Web and accessibility policies and guidelines. The layout for the templates is devised within the Web CMS Service team in collaboration with Strategic Communications.

Will I be able to modify the HTML code of website pages that I manage?

Absolutely. While we imagine that most content managers will prefer to use the system's robust WYSIWYG content editor, the system also provides direct access to the underlying HTML code present in the main body of the page where client content is added. If granted access to do so, a contributor may edit the markup directly. HTML access to the page template framework is restricted to ensure adherence to established branding and marketing standards.

Will the system ensure compliance with accessibility standards?

The system provides validation tools and other mechanisms that facilitate the creation of standards-compliant Web content. However, no Web CMS can completely prevent users from creating and publishing Web pages that fail to meet Web and accessibility requirements. We strongly urge that Web CMS adopters familiarize themselves with current and broadly accepted Web publishing, accessibility and campus practices. To support this goal, Web CMS clients will be provided some accessibility information as part of training. The UC system will also soon be providing a Web accessibility tool available to all campus constituents at no cost. Clients will be encouraged to use this tool to check the compliance of their Web content.

Can new and edited content be reviewed before it is published to the live website?

Yes. Content authors can preview site page edits "inline" before they are published to the Web server.

Can I pull dynamic content into the Web CMS? (Cold Fusion, etc.)

Yes. Server-side scripting code such as JSP, ASP, .NET, etc. can be embedded into published files or pages. The service will offer a mechanism to allow Web programmers to easily embed their code into a Web CMS page with the use of a Code block. The Web CMS doesn't execute the code. Rather, it passes it on to the client's "code-enabled" webserver for execution when requested by a site visitor.

Can I undo changes or revert to previous versions of pages on my site(s)?

Cascade Server maintains a full version history on each asset in the system up to 50 save points, similar to a multi-level undo whereby users can revert to a previous version at a later date. Previous versions of a Web page can be reviewed, compared to the current version or restored as the active version.