Going Native—Franklin and Marshall Implements Ingeniux Content Management System for Apple OS X and Xserve Server

Franklin and Marshall (F&M) is a leading liberal arts college located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with an enrollment of approximately 1,800 full-time equivalent students. F&M (www.fandm.edu) has a rich history originating with its founding in 1787 by five of the signers of the Declaration on the Independence--including Benjamin Franklin. Appropriately, a spirit of independence and innovation is still reflected in all aspects of the colleges, including its choice for an all-Apple computing environment that includes Apple Xserve servers and the Macintosh computers used by students, staff, and faculty.

For F&M, Apple computers provide good total cost of ownership, computing power, and ease of use. However, when it came to managing the Web site and its more than 5,000 pages of content, F&M was challenged. Like most colleges and universities, F&M knew they needed a content management system to manage their Web site and content contributors. However, a new system would need to support their existing Apple Xserve Web servers and provide end users with an intuitive authoring client that ran on Macintosh OS X.

"Choices were limited," said F&M Web Manager, Chris Weaver. "We were not willing to settle for a system that did not provide the functionality that we needed. Shifting to a different platform was out of the question. Everything we run and have developed is on Apple. Ingeniux offered the best of both worlds, a full-featured content management system that runs natively on our Xserve G5 and provides a really straightforward authoring client for our desktop Mac users."

Besides supporting the Apple platform, F&M needed a system that addressed several business concerns. They wanted to enable departmental staff to create and publish content without relying on technical staff or needing to know HTML. Prior to a content management system, departments had either hired students to hand-code HTML pages or relied on the College Communication group to update information. This was an expensive and inefficient process, and it created a bottleneck that burdened the College Communication Group and led to occasional outdated information on the F&M Web site.

The CMS also had to ensure consistent design and branding for the Web site. This was of prime importance to Marketing and Admissions. Manually enforcing use of HTML templates had been ineffective. The new content management system had to provide an easier way to ensure consistent design.

F&M chose to implement the Ingeniux Content Management System. Although the college had concerns about being the first campus to implement Ingeniux's Apple edition, Ingeniux had two key advantages: The company had considerable experience deploying Web content management solutions in higher education institutions, and Ingeniux CMS offered a Mac OS X software client and publishing server that ran natively on Apple computers. Although the development server, a key component of the Ingeniux system, was not yet Xserve-ready, the fact that Ingeniux is an Apple technology partner and Apple Computer is a reseller of Ingeniux CMS confirmed Ingeniux's long-term commitment to the Apple platform.
The Ingeniux CMS provides a very intuitive Web Authoring Client for Macintosh OS X. Although the Mac Authoring Client previews in a Safari Web browser, it operates as a desktop application that is downloaded as a DMG file. Using Ingeniux, CMS the College Communications group, which manages the F&M Web site, set up the school's administrative and academic departments to publish Web pages without any technical oversight.

The F&M team used XSLT stylesheets, an open standard that works with Ingeniux's XML format, to ensure consistent design and branding. This approach also made it easier to create Web pages. Content in Ingeniux CMS is created separately from its layout. To create a page, the author simply adds text and pictures. A stylesheet created by the Web team determines what the page will look like when it is published. In XML, the Web pages are also easy to re-use. F&M can instantly publish multiple versions of a page, including one optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browsers, one for Apple Safari Web browsers, and one for printer-friendly pages.

When it became time to deploy the Web site, F&M installed the Ingeniux CMS Publishing Server on an Apple Xserve G5 server. With Ingeniux CMS running on Xserve, the Web team has a native Apple publishing solution that showcases Xserve's best-in-class performance and scalability.

By deploying Ingeniux CMS, F&M was able to bring content management on campus and keep using their existing Apple computers. As Chris Weaver said, "The Ingeniux system provided us the solution we wanted and saved us from having to invest in and support a PC operating system just for content management."

The combination of the Ingeniux CMS ease-of-use, editorial, workflow, and collaboration capabilities have given departmental staff freedom to create and manage their own content. Departments at F&M no longer need to hire students to update pages or lobby the Webmaster for resources. It is a win-win situation. Technical staff now have time to focus on value added projects in line with their skill level and frontline staff in departments have the ability to freely add and update Web content.

Ingeniux CMS also has provided the College Communications Group a way to administer Web site development. Using Ingeniux CMS, System Administrators can grant individual users or groups of users granular access to information and system features. For example, when a member of the Admissions department logs into the system, they are only given access to pages within their section. Other sections of the site are read-only. The CMS can also limit which product features are shown, providing users a simplified version that matches their needs and technical ability.

The long-term goal of unifying the site design has been achieved. Templates ensure all pages adhere to design and brand requirements. This has dramatically improved the look and feel of the site and clearly conveys the appropriate messaging to all of the important constituent groups, including prospective students, current students, and alumni.

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