On Monday and Tuesday last week Sig and Pete met Lee Tong at ALGIM 2012 in Roturua. This offered a good opportunity to catch up and exchange experiences and ideas.
Lee works as web developer and administrator for Napier City Council and maintains 21 council websites, databases and the corporate intranet. Since Lees time with the Napier City Council, he has taken their website from a static site to dynamic user interactive site. He has built many sites on the SilverStripe CMS and is an experienced user. He came to ALGIM to talk about SilverStripe and share his work regarding the “Website Standards and Guidelines for Web architecture, Design and Content” for the Napier City Council. The Napier City Council site has won ALGIM Web Awards in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
How did it come that you started looking for a new content management tool at Napier City Council?
We only had a CMS system that was built by me and it was not allowing our users to change everything that they required, it also did not give us the flexibility to design and build sites really quickly.
How many other CMS's did you evaluate?
I had look at a few CMS systems before deciding on SilverStripe, we looked at Joomla, Sharepoint and sitecore.
Do you think there is an advantage for government in using an open source tool?
I am a big believer of government using open source. The information available and the rapid development that you get from open source is amazing, you can’t get it from anything else, I don’t think.
Was the fact that SilverStripe is ‘Made in New Zealand’ a reason for you to choose it over other content management systems out there?
It was not really a consideration but it is certainly a benefit for getting questions answered and having the ability to be able to visit staff if we need to, and it is good for NZ to help a local business.
You created Website Standards and Guidelines for Web Architecture, Design and Content. What was the purpose of the document?
The purpose of the document was to provide a way for the facilities to understand how we could better work together as one organisation. It allows us to build on one platform and spend money more wisely. The document also allows us to work with other companies very easily as they know what is required.
What do you think are the most significant advantages of having such guidelines?
Faster website re-builds, saving council money and advancing our facilities with the latest web technology.
How is this document different from the New Zealand Government Web Standards?
It is more about creating a way to handle the large workload that most councils face with the large number of websites they look after, rather than actually what the standards are for the website.
Who uses the guidelines document you created?
All council facilities and contractors that are doing work for us or one of the facilities.
Does that mean that all Napier City Council sites have to run on SilverStripe in order to integrate with each other?
It does not mean that all facilities have to use SilverStripe but it is shown through the document what the benefits of using it are. So far we have only had great feedback and more facilities wanting to come on board.
What’s the most exciting thing for you when you think about using SilverStripe?
How easy it is to customise.
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