Spread the Word and Vote for the 2014 Cassies!

Friday, July 18th, 2014 at 11:00am

The 2014 Cascade Server User Conference is right around the corner. This means it’s time to check out our finalists for the ever-popular Cassies awards and cast your votes! Our Cassies awards are a night of fun for clients, and we want to give you all ample time to help determine who will be taking home these coveted trophies (even if they are plastic)! Voting will close on Friday, August 8th.

As in years past, we received dozens of nominations for our award categories so we had to drill down the nominations to the current finalist list. We even added two new categories to the Cassies for 2014! Please review the finalists below and vote for the schools and individuals you decide are the best choice to take home the trophy!

So read on to see who made the cut for each category and get to voting!


Which new customer since the #CSUC13 has been the quickest to roll out a new site using Cascade Server?

  • Northwood University: Northwood University rolled out a completely new website, events calendar, and news section from start to finish in 3 months. Initial build to final publish took one month.

  • The University of the Virgin Islands: The University of the Virgin Islands. UVI migrated their entire ~3000 page site from Sharepoint to Cascade Server in 4 short months. The migration included 10 audience based gateway landing pages, homepage, alternate homepage, customized responsive Cascade Server calendar, fully responsive design, 600 employee profiles and much more.

  • University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC): The top level of unmc.edu launched in March 2014 in the new design and in Cascade Server. In total, the project includes more than 12,000 pages. Work includes, but is not limited to: PSD to HTML/CSS/JavaScript conversion; code adaptation for Cascade Server; full site responsive design; RequireJS used for more unified and modular JavaScript code; GruntJS Task Runner used for all minification and obfuscation of JavaScript and CSS code. All templates are created in a centralized project within the CMS and then distributed out to all other sub-sites, ensuring freshness of code changes at all times.

  • University of New Brunswick: University of New Brunswick- myUNB News. UNB implemented a system that creates three university e-newsletters via web form (using Cascade API) and a Cascade/WordPress plugin to publish to blogs that then syndicate the content via the UNB website, myUNB Portal and MailChimp via automated-RSS based newsletters.


Which Cascade Server customer has been the most helpful to other customers on the listserv, support site, social media, etc.?

  • Jason Aller, UC Davis School of Law: Jason is constantly coming up with innovative ways to extend Cascade Server's functionality and is active on the various support channels.
  • Jamie Johnson, James Madison University: Jamie authored an e-book in early 2014 entitled "Velocity: The Basics: Scripting with a $ here and a # to do" available on Amazon and Google Play. He wrote it to teach others the language often used for writing Formats in Cascade Server or to serve as a reference.
  • Erik Espana, Union College: There is no question that Erik goes out of his way to make sure that other users are comfortable and able to accomplish what they are trying to achieve utilizing Cascade Server with their website projects. He explains any questions you may have about the inner workings of Cascade Server; if he doesn't have the answer you're looking for, he is eager to find out and relay it to you ASAP. You'll never sense an ounce of frustration or negativity from Espana, as he is always patient and very enthusiastic to help, all the while with a smile. For two years, Erik has been hosting monthly Google Hangouts with Cascade Server users from New York (and occasional appearances by Alvin Chao). He encourages everyone to share what projects they're working on, cool web links or raise Cascade-specific issues, all while wearing goofy hats.
  • Alvin Chao, James Madison University: Alvin always has good advice via the Listserv.

HANNON HILL MVP - voted on exclusively by clients

Which Hannon Hill team member has been the most helpful in answering your questions, participating on the support forum, engaging on social media, and providing ridiculously good customer service?

  • Ryan Griffith: In a company where every employee treats me like I'm their most valuable client, it's so difficult to chose just one, but here goes. I'm nominating Ryan Griffith, because he always replies to me quickly, he explains things in a way that I can understand, and he gives the appearance of having an endless amount of patience with my ignorance. Ryan Griffith is awesome to work with. He responds within minutes to questions on the forum.
  • Charlie Holder: Charlie has been great. I've attended many webinars run by him. I like that he has offered to work with my team on questions we may have.
  • Penny Kronz: As a new CascadeServer and Hannon Hill customer, Penny has been absolutely wonderful in helping to assist us through the entire development and launch process of our three new websites, which launched in March 2014. Not only has she been helpful from a project management standpoint, but she has gone above and beyond the call of duty when it has come to being responsive to all the silly requests that we have thrown her way. She has bailed us out with many fixes and solutions numerous times and has been our MVP in this launch process. She certainly deserves to be recognized for all her hard work and support.

BIGGEST FAN OF CASCADE SERVER - voted on exclusively by Hannon Hillers

Which individual client loves Cascade Server so much they've tried to get their mother to buy it? In other words, who is our biggest customer advocate?

  • William White: Bill continues to promote Cascade Server to all clients he meets and recommends Cascade Server exclusively to anyone seeking a CMS. 

  • Toni Rejcek, Hill College: Toni has referred several companies to Hannon Hill and Cascade Server. She often shares social media posts as well.

  • Graham Lewis, Jacksonville State University: Graham is a ravenous fan of Cascade Server. As a Hannon Hill partner, we are regularly in search of client references and he is always willing to provide a great endorsement of Cascade Server. He is active on conference circuit as well as social media and is always plugging Cascade Server wherever he can. He loves talking to people about the advantages of Cascade Server, has spoken to numerous people about his experience with Cascade Server as well as recommending it when he hears people are looking for a new CMS.


Which new Cascade Server client has been the quickest in getting up to speed in learning and using Cascade Server?

  • Eric Jameson, Jake Johnson, Kelsey Lundberg, AnnMarie Venerstrom, Erik Gruber and Michael Vedders, Bethel University Team: We purchased Cascade Server on February 17, 2014. We finished our local install and basic configuration of the system shortly before our training on February 28th. During the months of March, April, May and June we've built: 1066 pages, 365 blocks, added 764 files, and 35 asset factories. Some of the sites we have published include: About, Maps & Directions, Student Life, Foundation, Career Development and Calling, Bethel Student Government, Alumni, Church Relations, Campus Ministries, Parents, Seminary Admissions, CAS Admissions, CAPS Admissions, GS Admissions, Performing & Visual Arts, Events and our Calendar. Our goal is to publish all of our academic content by the end of July and to fully migrate our 19,000 pages to Cascade Server by spring break 2015.

  • Toni Rejcek, Hill College: Mid-May 2013, Toni was moved from a lab assistant position to the web team. The team had begun the process of converting to Cascade Server, but didn't have someone that could dedicate the time needed to make the full conversion, which is why Toni was brought onto the project. The President wanted it done by August 1st and by August 1st it was ready to release. Because we were mid-Fall enrollment, we decided to wait to release the new site on September 1st. So basically, the entire site was converted into Cascade Server and released in approx. 3 months.

  • Mark Jones, Salem College: Mark signed on with Cascade Server last year and has been quickly migrating properties over to Cascade Server. As a one man shop he is sharpening his XML and bootstrap skills every opportunity he has. We rode down to #CSUC13 with Mark last year, and he talked almost the whole 5 hours about the awesome things he is learning and rolling out at Salem College in just a couple of weeks since the college purchased Cascade Server.

  • Josh Riley, Beaufort County, SC: Josh came to IT with little programming experience, but in less than 3 months, he virtually redesigned our website, taking advantage of many different options in Cascade Server and making it a responsive site for all devices. He did this with limited training and just dove into the product and figured out how to make everything work. If I continue to tell you how great he is, you might want to steal him away from me!


Which customer rolled out the best new site since #CSUC13? This can be based on the design, the content, the technical functionality, or any other subjective measure.

  • Rollins College: Rollins College officially launched it's new website (www.rollins.edu) at the end of October 2013, replacing the redesign from 2008. Affectionately called "Beta", because it had been in beta phase for about a year, it was presented at #CSUC13 in "Beta" state. The new design included is clean, simple, and completely responsive. The Rollins web team completely overhauled the website in Cascade Server, migrating from Global to Sites, and significantly reducing the number of pages from more than 7,000 to about 1,000. Most of the content has been rewritten and condensed for easier reading and scanning. The web team also provided simpler and more flexible Data Definitions for their end users to work with. It is the best new website because of the hard work and dedicated time by the in-house team, and also because the redesign was long overdue.

  • Northwood University: The new site was restructured, designed, and rolled out in 3 months, and it is fully mobile, utilizes the calendar and blogging features of Cascade Server, and completely different structure than before. It was the smoothest new site transition in our history and we were 100% published and up and running in less than 3 hours.

  • Emory Law School Website with StoneRidge Corporation: www.law.emory.edu.The Emory Law website has taken the standard Emory template/brand to the next level. With a goal of modern style, balanced white space/graphics for an open feel, and user-friendly three-click navigation, the site creatively deploys drop down menus with images, an expanded footer, a refined breadcrumb display below the hero shot, and prominent hero slideshows with dynamic overlays. Website content utilizes blocks as containers for the information in the spirit of the COPE methodology. The site is also responsive on all devices. An integrated news center organizes the school’s communications and social media into a dynamic hub. The news center allows for the stories to be tagged with topics and faculty tags, so that the stories can be grouped by the tagging as a feed to be included on other pages in the site. The stories are also capable of integration into pages across the site to keep the content fresh and allow connection that lead to related information. The faculty profile section is a central location to find out all there is to know about a faculty member, including their biography, CV, areas of expertise and publications. Scholarship, news and events, related programs and courses for the faculty are also located in faculty profile.

  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: UNMC redesigned its site entirely in-house, creating a clean, elegant responsive web site. The redesign project was the result of two years of work seeking feedback and input from stakeholders across campus. Once fully migrated, this far reaching refresh will change the look and feel of all internal and external content pages, news stories, and blog posts. Work includes, but is not limited to: PSD to HTML/CSS/JavaScript conversion; code adaptation for Cascade Server; full site responsive design; RequireJS used for more unified and modular JavaScript code; GruntJS Task Runner used for all minification and obfuscation of JavaScript and CSS code. All templates are created in a centralized project within the CMS and then distributed out to all other sub-sites, ensuring freshness of code changes at all times. More than 12,000 pages are being moved into the new CMS starting with the front-facing site and then moving onto all other sites. This project coordinates IT services, public relations, and content providers all over the campus. When all tasks are accomplished, this project will provide the University with a much more robust, SEO friendly site.


What is the most innovative thing that a client has implemented this year using Cascade Server?

  • UITS Indiana University: Given the size, complexity, and dynamic nature of the organization (more than 1,000 employees spread throughout 8 campuses), UITS had struggled with creating and maintaining accurate and up-to-date org-charts. For quite some time, and in an attempt to have data as consistent as possible, a single person was in charge of manually updating the information for the entire organization. These charts were originally created as PowerPoint slides, exported as PDFs, and then published to the web. The labor-intensive nature of this process often resulted in inaccurate and out-of-date charts that were not integrated with any of standard university's system (such as HR or staff directory). As a solution, UITS developed a Cascade Server-based system that takes advantage of the application's power, flexibility, and ability to interact with other systems: velocity scripts, data definition with page choosers to associate staff members to their respective teams, Foundation CSS framework, PHP, web services API, MySQL database publishing, LDAP calls to query an ADS server, connections that tie into the university HR's database, JSONP to make AJAX calls from within Cascade Server, and XML feeds to automatically generate a pre-existing staff directory. Every morning, the system looks at IU's Human Resources database to add/remove people as employees are hired/terminated. The information for each person is pulled from this database as well as from the ADS server for additional data, which is then used on both the org-charts and a staff directory that consumes data from XML that is published from Cascade Server. There is also data about staff members that is unique to Cascade Server, for example the mailing list to which they belong. This generates a list that allows HR to easily update a mailing lists needed for their communications. As usability tests took place, it was discovered that end-users considered it confusing going into the edit screen, having to publish, and not knowing when or what to publish. Therefore it was decided that it would be easier to handle this process for them using web services or workflows--depending on how the users would approach the editing process. As a result, if end-users are adding a new person to a team from the page preview, Cascade Server will then make an AJAX call to a PHP script that uses web services to make the update and publish the appropriate pages. Conversely, if they add someone through the edit screen, then a workflow will make the change and then publish all appropriate pages. The URLs for the org-charts project and the UITS staff directory--both now entirely supported by Cascade Server--are: http://it.iu.edu/structure and http://uits.iu.edu/staff_list.

  • Rollins College: Rollins College created a brand new website for Fox Day (www.rollins.edu/foxday), the college's most beloved tradition. The creativity stemmed from not knowing exactly when Fox Day would be until the President of Rollins declares it that very morning! The Fox Day website had three components to manage: a temporary, surprise feature on the homepage (archived at http://fiatdev.rollins.edu/foxday.html); a custom page to reflect the "phases" of Fox Day (Off Season, Pre-Season, Fox Day), webcam, survey, and social feeds; and a completely separate, student-controlled website (foxdaycam.com). All of this information needed to be updated and posted as soon as Fox Day was announced. The Rollins web team created a custom Data Definition, scripts, and simple procedures to launch everything simultaneously within Cascade Server. This included a way to control foxdaycam.com's content without using another CMS!

  • University of New Brunswick - myUNB News. Implemented a system that creates a three university e-newsletters via web form (using Cascade API) and a Cascade/WordPress plug in to publish to Blogs that then syndicate the content via the UNB website, myUNB Portal and MailChimp via automated-RSS based Newsletters.


Which Cascade Server-powered site has been the most successful? Success could be measured in search engine rankings, increased traffic, conversion rates for prospects, or any other quantifiable metric.


What organization has made the most extensive use of COPE (Create Once. Publish Everywhere.)? This could be reusing content across pages and sites in the system or reusing content across applications. What external applications have you integrated with Cascade Server? How are you making creative use of the API?

  • University of Richmond: The University of Richmond has a rich number of applications and content types that apply the principle of Create Once Publish Everywhere. We are covering Course Catalog information and Class Schedule Information below, but these principles apply to a lot of other content types. All catalogs and most schedules have been moved to Cascade Server. In addition, every undergraduate department such as chemistry, http://chemistry.richmond.edu/program/courses.html and http://chemistry.richmond.edu/program/major.html has its own web site. Each of these sites contain catalog information that is from the undergraduate catalog and associated information about majors, minors and concentrations (programs) also contained in the Undergraduate Catalog (i.e., http://undergraduatecatalog.richmond.edu/ ). Catalog and program information is entered and maintained by the Registrar’s office. Schedule information is extracted from Banner and inserted into Cascade using a Java based Web Services application. Before using Cascade for Catalogs and schedules we used to print 20,000+ Undergraduate catalogs every two years and an estimated 40,000+ publications for all the rest annually (mostly SCPS). We now don’t print this information at all, it is all online. We save trees and we have accurate, single sourced information that is updated instantly when published. Catalog and related content is used on at least 76 distinct sites in 320+ pages. There are more than 4,400 courses covering 91+ programs in these pages. We have a create it once and use it everywhere philosophy that applies to Catalogs, Schedules, Dining Information, Calendar Events, Press Releases, Feature Stories, Departmental and Campus Unit Directory Information, Faculty and Staff Bios and more. Cascade Server is the repository of choice for all of this source information. All single source content is displayed in dedicated web sites, other web pages, mobile ready web pages and our mobile app (iOS, Android).

  • Emory Law School Website with StoneRidge Corporation: The client requested COPE to decrease the inherent risks of redundancy and correlating errors across the law school website. In creating one asset and using it in all applicable locations, content editors can make one edit and have it appear across the site as a single update to the entire website. COPE has therefore enhanced governance and content accuracy. We use the block content containers to manage the data and our page processor includes the content onto the selected pages. Another way that we used the COPE methodology was when the Law Journals presented a unique challenge of wanting to have their source for printing be the same as the source for the website. StoneRidge was able to create a processor that would convert the Word document into a Consumable XML Object that the Cascade server would use to create the journal pages for display on the website.

  • University of New Brunswick: myUNB News. Implemented a system that creates a three university e-newsletters via web form (using Cascade API) and a Cascade/WordPress plug in to publish to Blogs that then syndicate the content via the UNB website, myUNB Portal and MailChimp via automated-RSS based Newsletters.

  • Jacksonville State University: We have created "widgets" for departments to include on any/all of their pages that user PHP Includes - that way they can publish the widget and any/all pages with the widget on it will be updated. We also use the same approach for our site wide header and footer, as well as a hidden "Emergency" area that can be activated and published out to every page immediately via the same type of PHP Include.

Remember, voting closes Friday, August 8th, so don't delay! Vote today!


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