Training playground site

matthew.wren's Avatar

matthew.wren

31 May, 2016 08:33 PM

Hi,

We're trying to improve the way we train new users in the CMS. Our previous Trainer used to just make "Test" pages in the CMS for users in their folder's but now our site is littered with useless "Test" pages. I had a thought of creating a "Sandbox" type spot so that users can learn how to do the basics in the CMS but allows us to easily manage this content.

Have you done something like this before? I originally thought creating a separate site where everything would reside. What are some suggestions for best creating a playground for our trainer and her students?

  1. 1 Posted by Ryan Griffith on 31 May, 2016 09:12 PM

    Ryan Griffith's Avatar

    Hi Matthew,

    I will defer to our clients on this one, but I would recommend setting up a test instance that is basically a clone of production. As long as you have publishing disabled, your users could do whatever they want and never affect production. It looks like you have a test instance already, so you could utilize that.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks!

  2. 2 Posted by Eric L. Epps on 01 Jun, 2016 11:41 AM

    Eric L. Epps's Avatar

    Yes, I do what Ryan suggested. Our test site is a periodic clone of production with Destinations disabled. It's also a way to let users see new features (I imagine I'll be using it a lot when training for The Ocho).

  3. 3 Posted by matthew.wren on 01 Jun, 2016 01:11 PM

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    We do have a test instance but the username and passwords to login are different. It's something that IT has to set up for a new user. Given the amount of new users we receive, it's a bit cumbersome.

    One thing that comes to mind is to export the site and then import it as a playground site in our prod instance. I remember this process taking a long time but it might be more like what we're looking for. Maybe I'm missing something though and this might not be wise. Thoughts/suggestions?

  4. 4 Posted by Ryan Griffith on 01 Jun, 2016 02:54 PM

    Ryan Griffith's Avatar

    Hi Matthew,

    We do have a test instance but the username and passwords to login are different. It's something that IT has to set up for a new user. Given the amount of new users we receive, it's a bit cumbersome.

    If you use a clone of the production database, the users (and their login) would be the same as your production instance.

    One thing that comes to mind is to export the site and then import it as a playground site in our prod instance. I remember this process taking a long time but it might be more like what we're looking for. Maybe I'm missing something though and this might not be wise.

    While you can certainly do this, the main reason NOT to do this would be the possibility that testing negatively affects your production instance (or environment). For example:

    • a user could unknowingly set up a page such that it consumes a lot of Cascade's resources and causes the system to become slow and unresponsive
    • if you forget to remove publishing capability, a user could unknowingly publish or link to test content; or a user could unknowingly delete delete production content

    If your users are within a separate test environment, you can avoid all of those potential issues.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks!

  5. 5 Posted by matthew.wren on 01 Jun, 2016 06:14 PM

    matthew.wren's Avatar

    How could we clone our Prod instance?

  6. 6 Posted by Ryan Griffith on 01 Jun, 2016 06:56 PM

    Ryan Griffith's Avatar

    Hi Matthew,

    This would be done by creating a backup of your database. For additional information please see this page.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks!

  7. Tim closed this discussion on 15 Jun, 2016 01:03 PM.

  8. matthew.wren re-opened this discussion on 21 Jun, 2016 01:23 PM

  9. 7 Posted by matthew.wren on 21 Jun, 2016 01:23 PM

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    I brought this up with the IT department and they had a few things to say. I'll share what they said and maybe you can provide me insight on their concerns?

    1. Creating and maintaining yet another cloned server will increase the amount of maintenance and overhead to a level that can’t be reasonably supported by IT.
    2. Using the test instance (testcms.scranton.edu) we have for training all new CMS users is not feasible, because it would require us to create a test portal account for every single user (because the testCMS requires single sign-on from the myqa.scranton.edu portal). Test accounts are very restricted because creating and maintaining them involves a lot of manual work. Due to security reasons, it is very rare that students are ever given test portal accounts (and many academic departments utilize grad students as their CMS editors).
    3. I don’t see why setting up another site in the production CMS would harm anything. You have a number of “play” sites up there now, and they haven’t hurt anything.
      I think that we should try going with the original plan, and set up a Training site in production, but be very careful about the amount of files and folders we put in the Training site, and of course, lock it down so it can’t publish anywhere except wwwdev.
  10. 8 Posted by Ryan Griffith on 21 Jun, 2016 03:29 PM

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    Hi Matthew,

    I can certainly understand your IT department's push back due to lack of resources. Although using your existing test server would be the ideal solution, you can certainly use your production instance. Like I said, doing so can definitely open up the potential for issues if you are not careful.

    That being said, I wanted to take this opportunity to bring up our Cascade Cloud service, which would resolve your resource issues by shifting all of the support and maintenance from your IT department to Hannon Hill support. This would include support and maintenance of Cascade, the application server and the database server. We also offer the ability to host a development server in our Cascade Cloud environment, and still provide a complementary on-site development license.

    If you all are interested in more information, you can get an overview on this page or grab the Cascade Cloud white paper (about half-way down the page). Additionally, I can put you in touch with someone from Sales to go over more specifics.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks!

  11. Tim closed this discussion on 06 Jul, 2016 07:20 PM.

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