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Why NASA Selected WordPress for Revamping Its Flagship Web site – WP Tavern

Why NASA Selected WordPress for Revamping Its Flagship Web site – WP Tavern

2023-10-07 11:19:54

NASA has eliminated the beta label from the brand new nasa.gov web site, which was launched on WordPress, changing Drupal because the CMS. After a prolonged course of, which required 18 months of lively internet growth, information migration, and content material constructing, NASA has emerged with modernized flagship and science web sites, showcasing the innovation and discoveries which have outlined the company for greater than 65 years.

The multi-million greenback challenge started a couple of years in the past when a mix of the IDEA Act and Drupal 7 EOL supplied a chance for NASA to rethink the CMS they had been utilizing for nasa.gov. Lone Rock Point, a WordPress.com VIP Gold Company Companion, led the challenge, which started with a yr of UX design and an analysis of varied enterprise CMS’s that will in the end find yourself supporting 456 CMS customers, 68,698 migrated pages, and three,023 new touchdown pages. As a part of the challenge, NASA’s web site infrastructure was migrated from an Amazon Net Companies surroundings to WordPress.com VIP.

“In earlier discovery phases of the challenge, content material authors had been had been vocal that they had been concerned about a CMS that allowed them to interrupt freed from templates that had been perceived to be inflexible,” Lone Rock Level President J.J. Toothman stated. “The block based mostly authoring method of Gutenberg is delivering on that and person testing confirmed that WordPress might present that. Now that the positioning is stay, the several types of touchdown pages being created with block based mostly method additional validates that.”

NASA evaluated each proprietary and open supply options, and Toothman stated they took a excessive degree take a look at over 100 CMS platforms. They narrowed it right down to 4 CMS’s – two had been industrial and two had been open supply (WordPress and Drupal). The staff accomplished excessive degree prototyping and person analysis on all 4 of the finalists, and used this information within the CMS choice course of.

Toothman outlined a couple of of the elements that set WordPress aside from the others:

  • Entry to sources. Merely put, there’s an enormous group round WordPress. That group is extending WordPress in progressive methods; sharing data and coaching for WordPress; and repeatedly build up WordPress expertise amongst the group. That makes it simpler for a company like NASA to amass help. There’s choices for that. What was discovered with industrial CMS options is that, as a rule, NASA must return to the unique CMS vendor to seek out sources. That’s restricted flexibility, which is undesirable for them.
  • A plugin ecosystem that delivered actual time content material evaluation capabilities throughout the WordPress admin surroundings within the ares of website positioning and accessibility. The truth that content material could possibly be analyzed by the creator earlier than it was revealed was vital.
  • Ease of use of the content material authoring surroundings

“It’s a giant win for open supply,” Toothman stated. “There have been a variety of CMS capabilities that will have been extra time consuming to implement with out earlier work by others within the WordPress group.”

He cited the integration that the NASA WordPress web site has with NASA’s picture library at images.nasa.gov as one instance. Content material authors within the CMS can seek for photos within the library and embrace them of their content material through an augmentation that was made to the WordPress media library. Human Made did some earlier work with industrial digital asset administration options that NASA was capable of leverage for the images.nasa.gov integration.

NASA Goes All In on WordPress’ Block Editor

The block editor’s flexibility for authoring touchdown pages and breaking freed from a inflexible templating system was some of the vital elements in NASA’s choice of WordPress as a CMS. As a part of the challenge, Lone Rock Level created 55 customized editor blocks to assist NASA web site authors share discoveries and inform their tales.

NASA’s Tabbed Content material block – supply: Lone Rock Point

“There’s over 400 content material authoring/editor customers in NASA’s WordPress CMS,” Toothman stated. “With that many customers, there’s a number of variance in pre-existing familiarity to WordPress and Gutenberg. It was difficult. The training curve was extra vital than anticipated and alter administration was a giant a part of this challenge.

“Some took the block editor rapidly, others wanted extra help. It wasn’t simply studying the mechanics of a brand new CMS, however studying concerning the storytelling choices accessible through the brand new design system and the block editor. We constructed a number of customized of blocks to carry the design system to stay in WordPress, whereas additionally making an attempt to stick to the intention of these design system parts.”

Toothman and his staff discovered strategic methods of serving to new block editor customers develop into acquainted with the authoring instruments. They created hands-on coaching and dealing periods to construct pages in actual time alongside customers and created a web based data base.

“To encourage the person group as they realized the brand new CMS, we created weekly blogs and newsletters that featured screenshots of pages in progress,” Toothman stated. “Seeing their friends’ work and out-of-the-box use of the customized blocks, customers had been impressed to strive various things and ask extra questions. Our content material staff held weekly workplace hours for managing editors to reply questions customers might have, maintain stay demonstrations, and acquire suggestions to provide extra person sources.

“By creating an surroundings that invitations dialogue, collaboration, and creativity, the content material staff was capable of implement content material high quality management requirements on an enormous scale whereas delivering a high-quality end-user expertise.”

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Toothman stated he was shocked and delighted by the inventive methods authors utilized sure blocks.

“Content material authors found out methods to make use of a few of the customized Gutenberg editor blocks as design structure choices and broke freed from the content material intention they had been initially designed for,” he stated.

NASA shall be open sourcing a few of its customized blocks and different items of the challenge to provide again to the WordPress group as a part of the roadmap. The finished challenge stands as a high-profile testomony to the company’s confidence within the block editor and the broader ecosystem of obtainable instruments. It additionally highlights WordPress as a dependable CMS with exemplary adaptability for enterprise-level tasks with complicated publishing necessities.

“For years, myself and many people within the WordPress group have been mythbusting the notion from buyer stakeholders in 2 areas: (a) WordPress isn’t enterprise. It’s only a running a blog platform. (B) WordPress shouldn’t be a safe CMS,” Toothman stated.

“Whereas I don’t anticipate NASA selecting WordPress to wipe out these pre-existing perceptions, it’s additional proof to help the truth that WordPress is enterprise class, and that it may well meet safety benchmarks.”

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