2011 Hannon Hill Cascade Server Users Conference – Summary of Upcoming Changes and Features

Earlier this month I had the chance to attend the 2011 Hannon Hill Cascade Server Users Conference. When I attended the conference last year, I had just recently started in my current position as a web developer at Vassar College, and I was still getting the hang of Cascade.

And although last time was certainly enlightening, this time around, I felt like I was more able to understand and appreciate what was being presented in the various sessions. Also I’m happy to announce that Hannon Hill turned it around this year with better swag – a laptop case and a water bottle.

While not the most exciting, they easily beat the mighty keyboard brush we were blessed with last year.

So without further ado, here’s a summary of what’s new and what’s coming for Cascade Server:

6.8 Highlights

  • Analytics Integration
  • Destination Mappings w/ Content Types (Different Content types are pushed to different locations based on configuration).
  • Parallel Publishing
  • Image Editor
  • Metrics

6.10 Highlights

  • Facebook Connector
  • Cross-Configuation Linking – Allows prepending url in assets (ex. – link between .mobi and normal sites)
  • Velocity Tools – new utility tools are available! From 6.10 release notes:
    *  Escape Tool – Provides methods to escape characters that are reserved in XML and other languages.
    *  Math Tool – Allows simple conversion from String objects to integers.
    *  Display Tool – Contains a wide array of utility methods related to “pretty-printing” data structures like Lists and Arrays; includes methods to aid with truncating content and also null value replacement for collections.
    *  Number Tool – Provides a variety of convenient formatting methods for numeric values.

7.0 Highlights – What you’ve been waiting for!

  • Coming out with ‘Modules‘ which provide a simple UI for creating/embedding content with ‘Out-of-the-box’ site features. Will ‘abstract away the programming’. Ex: Facebook and Twitter Feed Modules.
  • Deep Site Copy – Should make our process of copying new sites much quicker and simpler. According to Bradley, they’re still figuring out how to handle how this function will work with Admin area components.
  • Block Chooser: When selecting a block for a region in a template, you will be able to select available elements with a ‘type ahead search’. Also, the popup selector window will still be an available option, but will appear inline instead of as a separate page. No more lost windows!
  • Full HTML5 Support:
    *  WYSIWYG – tidy check-box now leaves html5 elements
    *  Also, presumably HTML5 elements will be handled correctly in templates and xhtml blocks.
  • Site Import/Export
    *  Easier to move content between instances
  • unPublish on move/rename – no more orphans on the server!

    Though it remains to be seen how the 7.0 features will be implemented, it goes without saying that I’m pretty excited – full site copy, full HTML5 support, and UI improvements already make for a pretty appealing set of features. I wasn’t overly enthused about the Twitter Module demo, but there was talk of other potential Modules that could be added, so it’ll be interesting to see what ships with 7.0 and beyond. I also wanted to explicitly point out the Velocity Tools upgrade in 6.10. Hannon Hill is obviously committed to making Velocity support in Cascade robust and fully functional. I’ve been getting into some Velocity coding, and the new tools make doing certain things *much* easier.

    That’s all for now!

    -Morgan

    View the twitter hashtag for the conference, #csuc11!

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