Smart Forms for the Marketer

By Ken McAndrew, Senior Technology Consultant on Aug. 19, 2014 View Comments

smart_forms_for_marketers-1This post was originally published by the Ektron Community Blogs here.

As any of my developer brethren will tell you, I’m a big proponent of Ektron’s Smart Forms. In our world, they’re a great way to structure content, to make dictionary objects for storing things like settings, and to store more data in a defined way than is natively available in the Ektron Workarea. I like to call them a database inside the database.

But this is geared more towards marketers and decision-makers, those that use what we developers do. So you might not be familiar with what a Smart Form is or why it’s a good idea to use it. Hopefully after this, you’ll not only understand it, but if your application isn’t making use of the concept, you’ll convince your development team to look into it.

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CMS Implementation Key Steps

By Kathleen Long, Senior Consultant, Digital Experience on Aug. 13, 2014 View Comments

CMS implementation

For many, the mere thought of implementing a content management system (CMS) seems daunting. But while CMS implementation can be varied and overwhelming, the juice is worth the squeeze. A CMS can:

• Simplify website updates
• Organize your content
• Accelerate business processes

Solid content, well-defined technology, and a team with all the right players can lessen your burden and make implementation more manageable.

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Selling Health Insurance: Are We Doing it Wrong?

By John Dobson, Healthcare Practice Director on Jul. 14, 2014 View Comments

Selling Health Insurance: Are We Doing it Wrong?

Eight million people have enrolled in private insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, showing that empowering the consumer to select their own plan is here to stay. As a health plan, what is your strategy to maximize conversion rates for direct-to-consumer sales?

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How to Improve Your Search Engine: Unlocking Basic Features

By Jeff Lawrence, Delivery Director on Jun. 17, 2014 View Comments

Understanding the basics of an effective search strategy is key to unlocking your search engine’s potential, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing ROI. It’s so important to build an utterly simple and helpful search user interface. If you make your customers work to find what they’re looking for, the user experience will suffer and they'll most often look elsewhere.

If you simply turned on your new search tool out of the box, you're probably only getting modest results. Most modern search tools include a number of overlooked options that are not pre-configured or require additional set up to work effectively. Here are three steps to help you figure out if your search engine is living up to its potential.

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Finding the Perfect Balance Between SaaS and In-House DAM

By Jeff Lawrence, Delivery Director on Jun. 10, 2014 View Comments

Finding the Perfect Balance Between SaaS and In-House DAM

It's a delicate balance to develop a hybrid strategy for Digital Asset Management. While Cloud SaaS solutions appeal to many organizations as a way to reduce costs and infrastructure, there are compelling reasons not to move all assets to the cloud. The secret to finding this balance lies in understanding what assets should be moved to the cloud and what should stay in-house.

SaaS and in-house DAM solutions have distinctly different approaches with each offering advantages and disadvantages, as previously discussed in “SaaS vs. In-House DAM - Which is Right For You?”, a hybrid solution can provide a damn perfect balance of SaaS and in-house by leveraging the advantages of both solutions.

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'Heartbleed' Bug Exposes Millions of Sites to Security Risks

By Joshua "jag" Ginsberg, Principal Technology Architect on Apr. 23, 2014 View Comments

'Heartbleed' Bug Exposes Millions of Sites to Security Risks

Security researchers from Codenomicon and Google unveiled on Monday the existence of a bug in certain versions of OpenSSL, the library that encrypts and secures web transactions as well as many other network services.

Bugs are discovered in software all the time, but this one has generated far more attention and panic. Why? Some estimate OpenSSL secures almost 2/3 of the entire web. Furthermore, this bug allows exactly what a security library is meant not to do: allow attackers to get decrypted versions of encrypted traffic. This bug is really bad. As the bug is in the "heartbeat" feature of TLS and it bleeds secure information to attackers, the security community has dubbed this bug HeartBleed.

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Configuring Intranet Security Within Ektron’s CMS, Part 2

By Ken McAndrew, Senior Technology Consultant on Mar. 18, 2014 View Comments

In part one, we discussed how to determine how best to set up users in Ektron™. In this part, we’ll be diving a little deeper into intranet authentication methodologies.

How to Authenticate Intranet Users with LDAP

For one of our recent intranet clients, we were required to use LDAP for authenticating users for both front- and back-end access. LDAP had to be connected to the CMS author accounts, and we also had to account for non-LDAP users needing front-end access only. This would cause conflict between CMS author usernames and membership account usernames. Also, because membership users are not linkable to LDAP, their network passwords would not be maintainable in Ektron.

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Configuring Intranet Security Within Ektron’s CMS, Part 1

By Ken McAndrew, Senior Technology Consultant on Mar. 17, 2014 View Comments

When developing an intranet, one of the items to consider straight out of the gate is security. A content management system will help you get started, but there are still a number of things to think about. This two-part blog series will explore how to securely configure user setup with an intranet powered by Ektron™.

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Easy Application Metrics with Statsd for Mobile Strategy

By Joshua "jag" Ginsberg, Principal Technology Architect on Feb. 21, 2014 View Comments

In this digital economy, it's not enough to simply deliver a custom web and mobile strategy that meets a client's functional specifications. For our clients focused on incorporating DevOps into their ecosystem and culture, our deliverables need to support their goals of maximizing mean time between failures (MTBF) and minimizing mean time to resolution (MTTR).

Less unplanned work responding to outages and regressions means more time developing features and building products, perfect for Agile development methodologies. If you're going to support fixing breakages faster and even preventatively, you need to be able to see how your applications, services, and systems are performing. For that, we recommend statsd.

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Finding ROI in Enterprise Mobile Apps

By Joe Satovich, Web and Mobile Engagement Director on Jan. 21, 2014 View Comments

The mobile revolution has empowered individuals to supplant enterprises as early adopters of personal technology. Because we’ve chosen the convenience, utility, and speed of mobile apps, most of us would fail at everyday tasks without our smartphones—and we’re just fine with that.

Though these consumer needs are becoming priorities in the enterprise (80% of manufacturers are working on apps, and bring your own device (BYOD) is soaking up headlines), it’s still difficult to find research that will help to build a strong business case for a mobile app. If you’re among those starting your mobile strategy, proving ROI requires a lean process that allows you to place small bets while retaining the potential to win big.

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The Top Tech Moments of 2013

By Lauren Howell, Marketing Specialist on Jan. 6, 2014 View Comments

The Top Tech Moments of 2013

2013 was a year full of surprises (both good and bad) in the tech world. Here, a look back at some of the most memorable moments:

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How to Bring Your Sales Team What They Want This Season (Hint: It’s a Mobile App)

By Joe Satovich, Web and Mobile Engagement Director on Dec. 9, 2013 View Comments

Internal business apps are exploding within companies of all sizes, and can drastically help increase your sales reps’ efficiency. But before you get app-happy and launch a mobile project, figure out what it is your sales team needs and how to roll it out so that it sticks.

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Revisiting "the Fold" in Today's Digital Landscape

By Celerity on Nov. 5, 2013 View Comments

“The fold” is one of the basic design concepts of web design that is widely known in the digital space by layman and specialist alike. It’s a concept that is often debated in design shops and boardrooms. But what place does the fold have in modern, responsive web design?

The term was born from the newspaper industry to describe the part of a newspaper that is immediately visible after it has been folded for distribution. Time and time again, newspapers featuring catchy headlines and compelling imagery above the fold had significantly higher sales. The area above the fold became extremely valuable real estate and the design implications were widely accepted by the industry. Designing for the fold quickly became commonplace.

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Is TDD Really Worth It?

By Dave Aronson, Software Developer on Sep. 14, 2013 View Comments

I've heard a lot of controversy among developers as to whether Test Driven Development (TDD) is really worth all the extra time it seems to take.

TDD means developing a small piece of functionality by first writing a test for it, then writing code to make that test pass. TDD should not be confused with BDD, or Behavior Driven Development, which is like TDD from a user's point of view, rather than a developer's. (Many people do BDD for the broad overview and then TDD for the nitty-gritty internal details).

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Internal Customers During the Mobile Revolution: Spoiled or Neglected?

By Joe Satovich, Web and Mobile Engagement Director on Sep. 9, 2013 View Comments

We now live in an era where we can choose to digitally augment and simplify almost any part of our lives. Thanks to Apple, Google, and thousands of consumer app developers, expectations are that information, supported by effortless functionality, should be immediately available on all devices—meaning users have to be able to find it, understand it, use it, and accomplish something with it. Instantly.

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Beyond the Search Bar: Using Enterprise Search to Empower Ektron Websites

By John Dymond, .NET CMS Architect on Aug. 9, 2013 View Comments

When enterprise search was added as a new feature to Ektron's CMS version 8.5, the benefits were immediately evident. Fast, accurate searches were attainable not only on your website, but also within Ektron itself. And Ektron's search functionality has gotten even better with the recent release of v9.0. Now developers have the option of using either Microsoft Search Server or Solr search as their search provider.

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Using Digital Analytics to Drive Intranet Adoption

By Jeff Cooke, Engagement Manager on Jul. 15, 2013 View Comments

As businesses continue to expand in stride with the global economy, the value and demand for more robust intranets is similarly increasing at a rapid pace. And it’s no surprise; given that a 2012 report cited nearly one in five American workers were “Actively Disengaged” with their company. In a previous post, Redesigning the Intranet, we discussed how when looking for newer and better ways to build online employee communities, some companies are designing next-generation intranets with real-time dynamic content and social media capabilities.

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How a Django Developer Can Write Speedy Unit Tests, Pt. 2: Fake it ‘Til You Make It

By Frederick Grim on Jul. 9, 2013 View Comments

This post is the second of a two-part series on writing fast and efficient unit tests in Python/Django. If you missed part one, be sure to start here.

At this point, a Django developer using Agile development methodologies will have a good handle on writing focused unit tests and your days of writing only integration tests for all of your features are long behind you. You stay aware of database transactions, and you employ agile software testing with read-only data in mind.

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Is The DAM Project Worth Doing?

By Jeff Lawrence, Delivery Director on Jun. 3, 2013 View Comments

You know your company needs a new DAM project, but persuading your boss is going to be damn hard! Your boss is probably a true numbers person who wants to see the return on investment (ROI). How do you go about justifying the project, calculating the ROI and convincing your boss?

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Five Questions to Rate User Experience Quality

By Sarah Tricha, Sr. User Experience Designer on May. 30, 2013 View Comments

User experience is the primary competitive advantage for businesses today. The web or mobile interface that is the easiest to use is the one the most people will use. And that’s how market share is won. But what is this elusive quality called “usability?” And how do you know if you need to improve the usability of your web or mobile user experience?

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