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We work with a lot of universities, assisting them with consulting and more complex development within their Cascade Server instances. My team and I have recently wrapped up a very challenging project for one of our best customers, and I’m very pleased with the results. We greatly enhanced their basic Cascade Server calendaring system in order to create a centralized repository of the entire university’s events.
The site in this example contains multiple listings of the events, including:
- Today’s Events
- Seven-day View
- Listing by Category
- Homepage Listing
- RSS Feeds
- Top Stories by Category displayed on a department’s homepage
The most important requirement for our developers was to make it simple for the end user to maintain, while creating a robust solution that met the client’s requirements. The events are displayed in multiple places across the entire site; thus, we wanted the user to enter the event details in one place, and have it automatically be displayed in the appropriate listings. Thus, the user doesn’t have to worry about finding all places where an event needs to be listed…it’s all done for them. All they have to worry about is keeping up with the large number of events that come their way every day!
To add an event, the user simply fills out a form inside Cascade Server. Among other fields, the user fills out:
- Event Title
- Start & End Date/Time
- Is this event able to be displayed on the homepage? Yes/No
- Is this a featured event? Yes/No
- Details about the event
That’s it. They save it, and the publish it. Cascade Server takes care of the rest. The added story displays in the appropriate listings at the right time. Some of the noteworthy features of this product are:
- A story only shows in the Today’s Events listing if the start and end date span today’s date. This allows the user to enter one event that spans multiple days.
- Category listing pages were set up to display all stories tagged with a certain category (such as Athletics, Libraries, etc.). With this solution, users from any section of the Web site can link to their category’s stories.
- The story is displayed on the homepage (if it was tagged to do so). Also, if the story was tagged as a “featured” story, it will display first on the homepage to give it prominence.
- The RSS feeds of events are automatically populated as well.
- If an event’s end time has passed, the event no longer displays on any listing pages.
This was definitely a team effort involving analysis, system design, and skilled coding…something all of my colleagues excel at. This is just one of the many custom applications we have written in Cascade Server. For example, we’ve also written an advanced News application. But that’s for another posting.