The Path to Cascade 8, or Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls

On January 26-27, the LITS Web Hosting team, in conjunction with Emory Communications and Public Affairs, completed the long-anticipated upgrade of Cascade to version 8, colloquially referred to as “The Ocho”.

Cascade is the Content Management System that Emory developers employ to create, edit, and maintain the vast majority of Emory’s web presence. The application manages over one thousand Emory web sites and is accessed by hundreds of users each year.

Cascade provides approved users with an array of standard templates complete with common look and feel elements, shared web components like news services and calendars, and a development environment to create web content for review before going live.

This upgrade was crucial to maintain supported status with the vendor of Cascade as well as to introduce new features and functionality. The primary feature upgrade was a vast overhaul of the user interface to make it more user and mobile friendly. The new version also features embedded accessibility checks for compliant web design, improvements to scheduled publishing, and the introduction of some task/project management tools to make collaborative design and workflows more functional.

Photo of new employee Caleb Boyd

Caleb Boyd, who was the featured speaker for the Cascade 8 upgrade at the January IT Briefing.

Preparations for this upgrade took well over a year to complete due to a variety of hurdles including legacy sites that were not compliant with the new version, orphaned websites, and lynchpin Emory sites such as Finance and HR that had to be carefully migrated and validated in preparation for the upgrade.

The cleanup and preparation process was truly an example of Emory collaboration drawing on Caleb Boyd, Steve Collins, and Joshua Baughcum of LITS Web Hosting; Bryce Roberts, John Mills, and Lindsay Paroczai of Communications and Public Affairs; Mark Parten of LITS Database; and Curt Tucker of LITS Systems Support, not to mention the large numbers of users who volunteered to test the new version before it went live.

Huge thanks to all those team members involved, as well as to the Cascade user base as a whole for their patience and support.

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