How we plan to move to T4v8

One of the key milestones of the external website project is moving to the newest version of our content management system – T4. All of the digital communications team have been looking forward to taking advantage of the new features and options available in T4v8, but working out exactly how we make the move from our current version to the newest one has been something of a challenge. The log in screen for the St Andrews installation of T4 version 8

The benefits of T4v8

Moving to the new version of T4 means we have to build all of the content templates we use in T4v7 again. This gives us an opportunity to consolidate and improve the templates we use. At the minute we have multiple content templates to create an accordion – the only difference is that these accordions are used in different parts of the site.

An example of an accordion on Study at St Andrews
Here you can see an example of an accordion on Study at St Andrews. This is different to the accordions used on the internal website, both in terms of design and content template.

Example of an accordion used on the internal St Andrews website

Having multiple templates which do the same thing isn’t good, because it requires the digital communications team to support and maintain a number of different things which have often been built by different people. One of our priorities when moving to T4v8 is to create templates which can be used across the whole website, regardless of the page or the people using it. When we build the accordion content type, it will be the only way to add accordions to the website. This means that all accordions across the site will look the same, and that the team will only have to maintain one template – reducing the amount of time it takes to keep it working, and increasing consistency.

Phase 1 of the migration to T4v8

At the moment, we’re looking through all of the pages we have redesigned on the current University website, and establishing what content types we need to make in the new world. In addition to this, we’re creating mindmaps of the current University pages in order to plan which pages we’ll be moving first. So far, it looks like the first phase will involve moving the University homepage, about section, community facilities, business services, graduation, orientation, digital standards and website help and then pushing these pages live from the new platform. After these pages are coming from T4v8, we’ll start looking at how we can use T4v8 and SITS to display information for prospective students – for example, on our postgraduate taught pages.

What will this mean for you?

For users of the University website, there should be no noticeable difference in how the website looks or works in phase 1. The digital communications team is simply moving to a new platform which delivers the content we have now in a standardised, efficient manner.

Staff members who have access to make changes to pages in T4v7 will retain this access throughout phase 1. All of the content which will be migrated in phase 1 is looked after by the digital communications team, and the manner to request updates to these pages remains the same – please contact us by emailing itservicedesk@st-andrews.ac.uk and we will make the requested changes as quickly as possible.

A content screen for the St Andrews installation of T4 version 8

In further phases, we will be moving pages which content coordinators in Schools and Units have access to. Before we do so, we will work with colleagues across the University to ensure that all staff have had relevant training, as T4v8 does look slightly different to T4v7. Please do not worry about these changes though – T4v8 still has all of the capabilities of v7, and whilst there will be some changes to how we add content to T4, these changes should make the system less complex for T4 users.

If anyone has any questions about T4v8, please drop us an email or leave a comment below!

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