Cascade Server Product Roadmap notes #csuc13

Notes from “Cascade Server Product Roadmap,” September 16, 2013, 9:00-10:00am.

 Speakers: Kat Liengens and Bradley Wagner.  This was typed at a conference and is being posted without editing.  Report any typos and missing content in comments or to

Cascade Server Product Roadmap

September 16, 2013, 9:00-10:00am Speakers: Kat Liengens and Bradley Wagner

New Initiatives

  • Head of Customer Experience – Charlie Holder
  • Product feedback sessions
  • Cascade Exchange – a place to download previews to import into your instance of Cascade
  • Content strategy user group – Kat starting this.  We’re in the middle of a bit push to create better content.  To talk about Spectate, analytics, etc.; Contact Kat if interested in being in the group.

Cascade Server 7.0

  • Site Clone
  • Site Import/Export
  • […check slides when posted for list of features/bullets for each release]

Cascade Server 7.2
Focus on the user interface and user experience

Cascade Server 7.4
Focus on editing – in-context editing and stale content report

Cascade 7.6
Added some overall improvements

Where content management is headed: We’re in the middle of a content revolution (a good thing)  The days that SEO are a set of check tasks are gone.  Now it’s all about providing fresh quality content to different segments of your audience in very targeted manner.

Likely to see an increase in content editors.   From Forbes, “Just like search was a decade ago and social was five years ago, content marketing is the next digital media revolution.” 5/5/2012

The Future

  • Content marketing and strategy tools
  • Collaboration
  • Task management and content planning

Content Management Systems will ahve to facilitate collaboration with multiple content contributes.  Will include a lot of more task management functionality.

Content Lifecycle Management

Use to be a very basic need.  What Content Management Systems need to do is manage the Content Lifecycle — a way to Create & Manage targeted quality content to Promot to Track and Analyze actionable data to Plan and Strategize, back to Create and Manage.

It’s all going to be data driven.

Bradley Wagner on the Roadmap

Using GitHub — how to post changes and get feedback.  Wanted to leverage GitHub to get more people involved.  Trained many in the company to use GitHub to make changes to the product.  Has led to a remarkable doubling the improvements/changes to the product.  Includes everything like spelling/woding adjustments, to code.


  • Calendars, Blogs, h5b examples
  • Velocity/XSLT Recipes
  • Web Services
  • Universal Migration Tool

Encouraging clients to get involved. The ship it squirrel.  Taking something that had really long release cycles to speed it up to a weekly release.  Hannon Hill has adopted this idea and made it their own (Ship it Good)  Want to create a company culture that ships out value all the time.  Started with an internal server, and made that avaiable at  Trying to take the same shipping culture to apply it to our release cycle

Why is it good?

  • Better team morale
  • You get the goodies faster!
  • Easier upgrades – less to digest with each release
  • Shorter feedback loop – by putting more features out more frequently we’re able to act on suggestions faster

Less is more!

  • 3 releases in the last 6 months
  • Satisfied over 400 votes from the idea exchange

2013 was..

  • Major editing enhancements
  • Content reporting
  • Enhanced Velocity tools
  • UI improvements
  • Universal Migration Tool

In the next release…

…Relationships (previously Subscribers)

  • View relationships for all assets
  • Includes asset chooser associations
  • Directly publish referring assets

Coming in the next release

…Permissions management

  • Add/remove individual permissions to folder’s childen
  • Type-ahead search for users and groups

Content Lifecycle Management

Combining Content Creation, Content Strategy, and Content Management

Want to address all phases of this lifecycle.

  • Website is still the first destination for prospective students
  • 1 out of 5 students removed universities from list after a bad website experience
  • 55% of colleges have blogs

Cursive Content Marketing, July 2013

  • Panda/Penguin updates (Google) has renewed emphasis on quality content
  • 78% of CMOs think customer content is important, but only a fraction (check slides) has a content strategy in place.

Having a content strategy means having a big picture.  What do you have, how is it working…

How our tools are helping

Coming in the future

  • Site-wide, pre-publish link check

More reports to come

  • Site-wide spell check
  • Orphaned assets
  • Accessibility checks
  • Updated but not yet published

Reporting features

  • Exportable
  • Pinnable to your Dashboard


  • Write down the idea
  • Discuss that idea before starting
  • Finally add an asset

Diet Workflow (lightweight workflow object)

  • Collaborate on changes
  • Notify others and discuss (comments)
  • Publish and finish

Still a place for formal workflow and will continue to improve the existing workflow process.  This ad-hoc workflow is the way people a collaborating more and more and how we want to facilitate collaborate collaboration in Cascade.

Content Owners

  • Go-to user or group
  • Responsible for reviews and upkeep


  • Social Posts
  • Landing Pages
  • Forms
  • Callouts
  • Tracked Links
  • Analytics
  • SEO Page Scores

Really, the right side of the Content Lifecycle graph.

Editorial Calendar

  • Plan and schedule content
  • Track progress
  • Measure results

Cascade + Spectate

  • Callout selectors for simple A/B tests — callouts are a simple A/B test.  Want to be able to simply drop callouts into pages in Cascade.
  • Track links on-the-fly — how many times is that link being clicked
  • Live-site page load times of SEO scores

In addition to normal analytics you can see things like page loads and SEO scores.  Want ot make that data available to clients.

Content reuse

One of the main things that a CMS helps to facilitate

A couple of features we’re thiking of adding center around server-side includes and content bricks.

Server-side includes

Allows you to manage a piece of content in one place and it appears in multiple places.  Working on being able to publish blocks as server side includes.  Will require supporting a variety of server environments.

Content bricks

A content brick is basically a snippet of content you want o make available to your end users to insert within a page (example: tuition figure).  We want to make this even easier — to have less developer intervention required.  Want to make it a lot easier for end users to interact with (drop-down menu to insert a snippet).

User interface and user experience

The reality is, most end users are infrequent users of the system, so as such it is our responsibility to make sure end users are familiar with what they’re seeing when they log in.  They don’t have a deep understanding of the moving pieces of the CMS, nor should they.

Recent UI/UX Enhancements

  • In-context editing
  • Fixed position buttons
  • Auto-drafting and preview
  • Dran & Drop Upload/Move

How to improve interfaces

  • Single purpose interfaces
  • Separate end-user and power user interfaces

Example shown: image interface improvements

Common Soon

  • Smart version comments
  • Persistent History — a way for end users to pick up where they left off.

Edit good

  • File editing/creation enhancements
  • Upgrade WYSIWYG
  • Improve in-context editing


  • Screen load times — facilitated by things like partial screen refreshes and caching
  • Publish times — want to make the use of server-side includes more native to the product.  But, sometimes you need to publish the whole site so they want to improve that as well.

Cascade Server Anywhere

Being able to log in from any device

  • Edit and publish on-the-go
  • Simple layouts that scale down
  • Better WYSIWYG editing on mobile devices

2013-2014 Themes

  • Tracking the content lifecycle
  • Reporting
  • Task management, Collaboration, Content Ownership
  • New Spectate features and integration
  • Content Reuse
  • End user and power user UI
  • Relationships and relationship publishing
  • Permissions UI
  • Top Idea Exchange ideas