Sitecore 8.1 Upgrade Update

SitecoreSince the release of our current version of Sitecore in 2008, Sitecore has grown from a platform that provides simple web experiences to one that enables users to become truly engaged with their customers. The upgrade to Sitecore v8.1 comes with a completely updated user interface and API that make the system more efficient and extremely extendable. This update enhances our ability to support, promote and leverage the application to meet the needs of the campus community.

The OIT Web Team has been working through the upgrade process on a test system. The Sitecore application upgrade process is a step by step approach of installing and then verifying updates until we reach the current release. The process originally involved over 70 steps, but the team was able to consolidate those steps to a little over 50.

After the test server upgrade, the Web Team recruited the Web Captains in the schools and departments to put the test system through its paces. Since some areas have customized widgets and frameworks, those customizations needed to be tested with the upgrade. Around 25 issues were reported by the Web Captains in their testing. The Web Team had resolved most of those issues when they came across a critical flaw involving the web forms.

The Web Team is working with Sitecore support and other universities to resolve this issue. At this point, we are delaying the Sitecore 8.1 update. We will reschedule after we are confident the web forms are working correctly and in a sustainable manner.

A Tour of the Sitecores

Aren Cambre, director of the Web Application Services team, is collaborating with other universities to share knowledge on Sitecore and web content management.

Aren CambreThe Higher Ed Sitecore users group, started in 2008, now includes over forty universities and nonprofit organizations. “This spring, we are taking this to the next level by creating the tongue in cheek-named Tour of the Sitecores.” Aren Cambre explained, “With this Tour, each month, a member institution will present its Sitecore solution to others using GoToMeeting. The goal is that we can share knowledge on how each of us set up and develop for our Sitecore environments.”

This collaboration will be especially useful to SMU in the near future.  OIT is planning a major Sitecore upgrade this spring, where tapping in to those resources will be helpful. Also, as OE2C has centralized developer resources, OIT has been given an opportunity to make the Sitecore experience better for our users. Gaining insight from other universities will allow us to focus on what will deliver the best value.

Sitecore Basics Webinar

Are you new to Sitecore, SMU’s Web Content Management System? Are you a user, but you’re not using it regularly enough to remember how to use it? We can help. The Sitecore Basics class will cover everything you need to know to get started using Sitecore.

Topic Covered Include:

  • Logging in to Sitecore
  • Customizing your Toolbar
  • Creating New Pages.Uploading Media, such as PDF files and images
  • Inserting images into Pages
  • Linking to Pages and Media
  • Using Widgets
  • Staging your pages for review
  • How to preview your site
  • Making your content live