A review of features and editor improvements to Portland.gov, for the sprint ending August 6, 2019.
As the summer wears on and vacations come and go, the POWR team and bureau editors across the city continue to make progress on Portland.gov. Sometimes the results are flashy new features with compelling visual demos; at other times the improvements are more behind the scenes, laying the groundwork for upcoming features. Sprint 23 involved more of the latter than the former, but they are important improvements nonetheless.
The Portland.gov content model
The team compiled a narrative and outline of our current content model, explaining each of the content types, their respective utility, and how they may be applied. It is well worth referencing when considering the creation and migration of content into the new system. Read about the content model.
News, events, and notifications can belong to multiple groups
Starting today, you can add news, events, and notifications to more than one group if you are a member of both groups. This changes the way the parent group field works on all content and media. The new field shows you all the groups you belong to like the previous approach, but it also requires that you add the group using the "add group" button. When you create content the first group will automatically be added. If you create media (images, video, documents) from within the rich text editor, you will need to add one of your groups to that media.
In late July, we gave an update to bureau directors asking them to give priority to their teams to complete migration of critical-community-facing content by the end of the year. We plan to redirect the PortlandOregon.gov homepage to point to the new Portland.gov in late 2019. To be ready for this migration, bureau communication leads should meet with the project team and review their migration planning spreadsheet (an inventory of the content to be migrated) and site map (a diagram showing their site structure. Learn more about migration planning.
Revision log messages no longer required
To make it faster for editors to get drafts into the new system and begin tracking their migration progress, we have removed the requirement for a revision log message on every save. We still save a revision for each change you make and recommend log messages for significant changes to your content.
Group creator role
To help bureaus with a large number of projects and advisory groups, a "group creator" role has been added. The group creator role gives the user access to create groups from their "my groups" page. When you create a group, you automatically become an admin for that group.
Note that the POWR team will continue to review program creation requests. In general, we want fewer silos for our content, so we are trying to limit programs that are not needed for the community to find their content.
Large document uploads
A bureau editor brought to our attention the difficulty they were having uploading a very large (80 MB+) document to Portland.gov, and asked about size limits we may have imposed.
While technically an editor can upload documents up to 100 MB, even under optimal upload speed conditions, a file of that size is very likely to timeout before the upload completes. It simply takes too long to transfer the data on typical city network speeds.
With a typical city network connection, editors should be able to upload files as large as 50MB without hitting the timeout error. We are looking at other potential options for special cases in the meantime. Moreover, the practical concerns of presenting such large files for download, particularly for mobile users and those on limited data plans, make doing so less than ideal. Locking up content in large files that must be downloaded is both an equity and accessibility issue.
A key tool for easier web migration has been tested and made ready for implementation: automatic redirection of expired Portlandoregon.gov content. Under this scheme, once the new pages on Portland.gov are ready to "go-live," the old versions can be expired and users who attempt to find that URL will automatically be sent to the new version.
As an example, we set up a project site on the PortlandOregon.gov (POG) with the path /bts/76184. That content has been expired and the new content on Portland.gov has been associated with it. Try visiting /bts/76184 to see what the content redirect will look like for visitors to migrated content.
Typically, a bureau would put this into practice by expiring all of the content within a category on POG and then requesting that the project team set up a redirect for the parent category. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has content they plan to start redirecting to the new Portland.gov in early to mid-September. If your bureau is ready for visitors to start seeing your content exclusively on Portland.gov, let us know so we can help you with your migration redirects.
Content status improvements for editors
Whether migrated or created freshly for Portland.gov, content needs to be tracked for quality assurance and completeness. The development team has improved the admin views for your content, allowing you at-a-glance review for all your groups:
The dot to the left of the content title indicates the current publish state: gray for not currently published; green for published. The group "owning" the content is shown, as well as the content type (page, news) and a yellow or green badge indicating the moderation state.
Note that a piece of content may be published and have a green dot, and also have a subsequent draft pending, perhaps for review. If in review, the reviewer is shown. In simplest terms, the dot answers the question "is any version of this content currently visible to the public?", while the badges answer the question "is another version being drafted since it was published?"
Google Analytics site coordination
We have been exploring a better setup for our analytics, to make it easier to see how the community is using our website(s). The City's web presence spans behind the scenes across multiple domains, and we want to be able to track users seamlessly as they move between them. Over the next couple of sprints, we will be finalizing that design work and implementing an improved analytics protocol.
We have conducted an inventory of existing applications with connections to data such as that in SAP, written in the Cold Fusion language used for POG. There are dozens of them, ranging in size and complexity. Water test results are one example.
No decisions have been made on final dispositions, but for the larger and more complex examples, the best immediate course of action may be to leave them in place and not disrupt services that are performing well for the community. (They might get a visual makeover to provide consistency with the new platform, and any supporting data or information from POG would migrate). As individual apps age-out and replacements are contemplated, migration to Portland.gov's Drupal platform then may become the more efficient option.