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Ag CMS Upgrade Starts April 9

For the past several months, we have been talking about upgrading the Ag Content Management System (Ag CMS) and updating the Ag CMS theme to align with the new NDSU TYPO 3 theme launched at the start of the academic year.

We are finally ready to begin the process of upgrading the Ag CMS and updating the theme. We will be upgrading one "instance" at a time. The Ag CMS is organized in four instances: County Extension Sites, REC Sites, Academic Sites, and Topic & Other Sites. We will be upgrading the smallest instance, Academic Sites, first. The Academic Sites upgrade will begin April 9 and should be complete by April 30.

We will be following the same process for all of the Ag CMS instances:

  • Notify site managers on that instance one week prior to starting upgrade.
  • Copy all sites on that instance to the upgraded Ag CMS server.
  • Once the instance has been copied to the new server, site managers will have two Ag CMS sites: their current site and their new site on the upgraded server.
  • Site managers will have three weeks after the instance has been copied to review their new site and see how it looks in the upgraded Ag CMS and new theme. They can login to their new site and make adjustments to correct any problems with how the site looks and get the new site ready to “go live.”  Important: If content is added or edited on heir current site after the instance has been copied, those changes WILL NOT appear on the new site. If they add or edit content on their new site, those changes WILL NOT appear on their current site.
  • Once site managers have made any necessary changes to their new site, they can make a “go live” request. When we receive the request, we will make the new site live to the public and remove the current site from public view.

Once the Academic Sites instance has been successfully upgraded, we will move on to the other instances. If you are the site manager for any site on the Ag CMS, you will receive an email at least one week in advance of the date your instance will begin the upgrade process.

The upgrade and the theme update are really two separate processes. The Ag CMS upgrade will change the software the Ag CMS is built on (Plone) from one version to another. The update to the Ag CMS theme only affects how content in the Ag CMS looks, not how it is created or maintained. 

The Ag CMS upgrade should result in faster performance of the Ag CMS. Web content will be delivered more quickly to the end users, and Ag CMS content creators will be able to edit, save and publish content more quickly.

The upgrade also will improve the handling of large files. Storage of large files is something we have struggled with in Ag CMS. This upgrade will help us to quickly deliver large files to the end user and to use fewer server resources in the storage of these files.

The upgrade's most noticeable change will be to the visual editor. Ag CMS content creators use the visual editor to create and format Web content on their sites. The upgrade includes a new visual editor that promises to be more intuitive and boasts additional features (like more robust table editing) that are not part of our current visual editor.

At the same time we upgrade the Ag CMS, we will be changing the Ag CMS theme to be consistent with the theme used on other NDSU websites. For an example of the new NDSU theme, go to

If you have questions about the Ag CMS upgrade and theme update, please let me know.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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