GCN Tech Blog

By GCN Staff

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Wyatt Kash

We feel your data management pains

Those of us who have covered technology for a while appreciate how challenging even the best-managed IT projects can be—especially those that involve moving data from one platform to another.

This week, GCN and our sister publications, Federal Computer Week and Washington Technology, are experiencing some of those pains firsthand with our new Web sites.

Over the past New Year’s weekend, and after many weeks of work behind the scenes, we flipped the switch on a new content management system. In doing so, we unleashed a cascade of scripting instructions designed to redirect a large repository of stories, photos, and other digital assets to appear in a set of newly designed display templates—many featuring some sophisticated functionality.

A number of smart people worked a lot of long hours to test, fix and test again. But as we quickly discovered once the new system went live, a lot of settings and coding instructions apparently required more attention than any one individual could have anticipated.

While we’re excited about many of the improvements we have introduced to the Web sites –and many more we plan to bring online in the coming weeks—we were certainly dismayed with some of the glitches and programming gremlins that have plagued the sites.

Stories which were officially published somehow weren’t showing up on the public pages as intended—and sometimes not all. A massive table that mapped existing data file addresses into the new content management system was inadvertently overwritten, wiping out links to wide swaths of content, which in turn needed to be re-linked. RSS feeds for many of our regular subscribers unraveled. And what seemed like simple programming fixes for certain punch list items seemed to spawn a slew of new issues.

As a result, as many of our regular readers started noticing, our Web sites haven’t been very co-operative this week.

So after a harried first week, let us take this opportunity to thank all our readers who contacted us about the glitches, apologize for the inconveniences many of you encountered, and request a bit more patience as we work out the last of the bugs. The experience reminded all of us that of the pains organizations can encounter in upgrading their IT systems.

Posted by Wyatt Kash on Jan 12, 2009 at 9:03 AM


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