We are now in the final year of a four-year project to replace the end-of-life Silva Content Management System with a more robust, flexible and scalable product built in Drupal which is tailored to UCL needs.
- Faster, more intuitive interface for web editors, greatly reducing the time spent on website editing and support
- Improved technical performance, faster page load times and a more robust failover solution to ensure website continuity
- Immediate benefits in terms of increased website traffic as the information is properly structured for search engines
- The CMS project presents an opportunity to introduce standards around website building and content management ensuring a coherent and compelling web presence for UCL
Visit our project page for background information on Drupal, its benefits and why we are replacing the current CMS:
Moving all Silva sites to Drupal
From October 2017, Digital Presence will focus on migrating the rest of UCL's Silva sites to Drupal. The Digital Presence team will use the policy on prioritising projects (pdf) to plan development and migration. The readiness of editors to move is also an important factor.
Our Migration Team will be in touch to schedule the migration window so please wait to hear from them.
We have designed a migration process which is aimed to standardise and streamline the migration approach where possible:
The automated scripts that migrate content from Silva to Drupal ensure that most content is brought over to the new CMS with no issues. Editors are asked to set aside some time for checking the content, creating new landing pages and carrying out any fixes before the site goes live in Drupal.
- There is no downtime for the website; editors work on a copy of the site in Drupal until it’s ready to go live and the switchover from the Silva site to Drupal is instant
- All URLs will be maintained via Drupal’s link management functionality
- Training as well as online self-help documentation are provided at the point at which the site is migrated so editors can be supported with managing their own content in the new system
- A dedicated Migration Team will support editors with fixes and with getting the most from the new system
Full details of the migration process and what web editors need to do are on the Drupal migrations page:
We will continue to support and maintain Silva, and provide training for new editors, for existing Silva sites until all sites are migrated to Drupal. However, we will not be doing any further web development or new sites in Silva.
If you wish to move to Indigo so your site works on all devices, please visit our Indigo page to find out more about the benefits of Indigo and book your move:
Drupal features and FAQs
Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. Full details of Drupal functionality and our feature roadmap are on the features page:
- Will there be training for Drupal?
Yes, we have a blended approach of online and face-to-face training:
For how-to guides, good practice tips and advice:
Face to face:
- Fortnightly two-hour training for new Senior Editors
- Weekly migration surgeries combined with Drupal training
- Ad hoc departmental training sessions
We do not offer technical training as the new system is a content management platform not a web development platform.
- I have a non-standard site, will my site look different when we move to Drupal?
No, the front-end of the site will not look different (if it’s already in Indigo) but there will be some improvements to Indigo and you can choose a different colour palette.
If your site is in Indigo, it will not change fundamentally but some page layouts may become more standardised (news, events, case studies). Landing pages are flexible and will be developed in consultation with web editors. If you have a bespoke non-Indigo site some features and functionality will not be replicated in Indigo or Drupal.
The CMS editing interface will look different and will be more intuitive with better performance.
- Can we have our own installation of Drupal and then merge it with ISD's version?
No. Drupal is not an ‘off-the-shelf’ system. We are building the new CMS using a selection of Drupal modules that will create the most appropriate content management system for UCL.
Your selection of modules, and the way you implement them, may be very different from the central UCL implementation which will mean that it is highly unlikely that we will be able to merge any sites built on a separate instance of Drupal with the central UCL CMS.
- If we have a Drupal expert in our department, can they work with you to improve our website?
Yes, eventually. As Drupal is a well-known open source platform, we are keen to create a development community and will publish guidance in due course.
- In terms of search, will Drupal be an improvement?
Yes, in that Drupal gives more opportunity to add tags and metadata which will improve both the site search, SEO and the ability to surface content across a particular site and beyond.
- Can we have search on an individual site?
- What features will be available in Drupal?
We have a feature roadmap that was based on the CMS feature questionnaire, which was sent to all Chief Editors, as well as interviews and focus groups. The roadmap is based on the most requested features and is available on our Drupal features page.
However, at the start, we are aiming for a like-for-like replacement of Silva with a robust and flexible content management system.
- Will there be a cost in moving to Drupal?
There are no direct financial implications for UCL website owners provided their current site is in Indigo Silva, but the availability of content editors will be needed from departments for some manual fixes to migrated content. The next phase of the project, beta service-rollout, will help us determine how much time is needed. We are working to the assumption that a large site (500+pages) will take 4 days over a two-three week period. A small or medium site will take half this time.
- When will Silva be decommisioned?
It’s not possible to say for certain but we are looking at within 12-18 months for all sites to be moved over. See above for service transition arrangements.