We are now in the third year of a four-year project to replace the end-of-life Silva with a more robust, flexible and scalable product built in Drupal which is tailored to UCL needs.
Visit our project page for background information on Drupal, its benefits and why we are replacing the current CMS:
Beta service roll-out
The first UCL sites in Drupal are now live:
We also worked with a digital agency who designed and developed a new site for UCL Culture:
Three more beta sites will be the next to move to Drupal by August 2017:
- School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies
- Institute of Ophthalmology
- UCL Global
The sites will all be migrated using our automated migration script that lifts content from Silva and puts it into Drupal.
After this point several more sites will be launched in Drupal in the autumn term including:
- UCL News
- Current Students
- Human Resources
Working closely with the editors of the above websites has allowed us to build, test and improve the CMS functionality and migration script and we will take a similar approach to future site migrations especially during the next few months. This allows us to:
- Respond to editor feedback on the user interface and functionality
- Build or adapt only the functionality needed for the sites in question
- Determine the most efficient and sustainable approach to functionality releases, creating layouts, managing changes
- Improve the quality and performance of the migration script from Indigo to Drupal (meaning less work for content editors)
- Refine support documentation and define our service
Moving all Silva sites to Drupal
From September 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. We will publish further detail on the timeline and process in due course.
We have already contacted site owners regarding any site migrations to take place immediately after the beta phase ends August.
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 have started to phase out new development in Silva. Users can still request a new Indigo sandbox site for new websites.
Before a Silva site can be migrated to Drupal it MUST be using Indigo Silva. 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, there will be a blended approach of online and face-to-face training. It is likely that more training will be delivered online than is currently the case for Silva. This is to accommodate the number of editors who require training.
There will not be 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.