FirstClass Depot is pleased to announce that RWD Version 5 is now available to customers who have current Maintenance and Support contracts* (see contact us).
RWD version 5 represents a refinement of the features and capabilities introduced in earlier versions of the product, along with some new and exciting capabilities to further enhance your organization's web communications.
We've added a number of advanced features that will help trained web developers get more out of RWD and control things at a more granular level, but we've also addressed the every day publisher's needs in a number of important ways.
Designed for servers running FirstClass 10 and above, RWD 5 is going to change the way you publish!
As usual, we've broken our upgrades into three main areas:
3) Automation and Management Control - New in this release:
New Site Object Picker Options
New Sub Site object: This object is an RWD web container that includes common objects needed by users who need to publish departmental websites. The site template uses a mashup format main page to display the most commonly used objects in a departmental website, but of course the site can be completely customized once deployed.
New Empty AutoNav Container: A real breakthrough in RWD 5, the AutoNav container is now available to add to sites through the picker. Once deployed, use the new AutoNav picker to deploy Documents (web pages), Blogs, Calendars, Podcasts, and Graphics Galleries quickly and easily. Everything you add to your AutoNav Container will appear in the automatically generated menus on the web page. Delete something, and that menu item will go away. It doesn't get any simpler than this.
New Open in Browser Bookmark: This is a deployable bookmark that can be set to open your browser right to whatever page you wish. When first deployed, you will be automatically taken to a web page with instructions, including a video, that will explain how to quickly set the bookmark up for your particular page.
News Blog with no Thumbnail: Almost identical to the standard RWD Blog container, this conference is set to use normal FirstClass messages instead of the customized message form that has the thumbnail image feature. We think this type of blog may be useful for shared blogs where you can't always guarantee that the user is familiar with RWD and the customized message form.
Advanced Course Website: Designed particularly for high school teachers who teach multiple subjects. The new course website employs the mashup capability of RWD to provide what is essentially a zero-click web interface for a particular subject with an assignments container, course calendar, syllabus, and welcome screen. As always, the course website can be completely customized to suite the builder.
New Classroom AutoNav Container: This container comes preloaded with the common objects needed by those who teach - a news blog, a homework blog, a calendar, a graphics gallery, a files repository, and a welcome page. Anything you don't want in your site can be deleted and the menu will adjust itself accordingly, as it will when new objects or pages are added.
Just add one of these to your existing website, make a link to it, and begin publishing content!
New Teacher Website Templates
New Basic / Elementary Teacher Site: For users who are not ready for the more advanced features of RWD, this teacher site contains only one RWD Page - the Class Home Page. In addition to the Home Page, is a Web Content Folder that the teacher can add directly to their FirstClass Desktop. This container is a Classroom AutoNav Container that has been pre-loaded with all of the objects that a teacher needs to get publishing but requires no linking or setup.
Advanced / High School Teacher Site: High School Teachers usually teach more than one subject and hardly ever have the same students in each subject. This website template is built to be built (if you get our meaning). It contains only a Home Page and a short help document to get teachers started with the deployment of their course-specific websites.
New Global Site Administrator Group and Modified Site Administrator Role
In RWD version 5 a new group "RWDe Global Administrators Group" has been introduced. This new group will take over the role of the group known as the RWDe Site Administrator and give it's members all the forms and capabilities previously available in the RWDe Site Administrator group. A Global Administrator would then help with modifying the look and feel of sites when required.
The RWDe Site Administrator group still exists, and will disseminate a simplified Site Administrator form allowing Site Administrators to concentrate on keeping site wide links up to date, deploy teacher and departmental websites, etc.
These changes were made because in many implementations of RWD, the RWDe Site Administrators are not charged with the development of the website design, but rather the day to day maintenance of the site. Given this reality, the much simplified interface for the RWDe Site Administrator Form should be welcomed by web site Administrators - and those that do need all of the power they had previously can simply be added to the RWDe Global Site Administrators Group to restore their full access.
Pickers were introduced in RWD 2 as means of providing pre-made content to web page builders easily.
In RWD 5, we've added some more templates with the latest thinking about how to deliver content via this remarkable method.
Using the pickers, website builders can add pre-templated pages (with pre-made tables, etc in them), they can add folders, blog conferences, podcasts, graphics galleries, calendars and pre-templated mini-websites. In addition to what comes with RWD, customers can add their own content to the picker system to deploy a virtually limitless set of objects to the user base.
Enhanced Administrative Automation
When FirstClass upgrades take place, a set of steps must be taken by the FirstClass Administrator to restore the relationship between RWD and FirstClass Internet Services. In previous versions of RWD, these steps had to be performed manually. In RWD 4, the restoration of function is as quick as a click of a button - both to standard sites and sites where Internet Services is clustered.
Deployment of Global Control functionality also has been set up as a one-click operation.
Enterprise Site Management
In large sites with many school sites in them (and, by extension very large numbers of teacher sites), the deployment and administration of teacher sites can be rather complicated. Teachers are hired, transferred, retired, etc. and keeping track of the directory of these teacher's sites requires a fairly constant level of attention. FirstClass Depot has developed a platform for managing these situation using FirstClass Application Services (FCAS). Enterprise Site Management for RWD is an open ended application that requires customization for each customer but, once in place, can dramatically reduce administrative requirements within the system.
An ongoing focus of FirstClass Depot is the ability to integrate both FirstClass content and organizational back-end data on the web. Parent Portals, Corporate Portals and private websites are becoming more and more important as RWD develops. FirstClass Depot has developed several of these types of applications and some of the development in RWD 4 lends itself to a better user experience in these types of applications. Individual consultation is required to provide more information in this area*
*Please contact us to book a demonstration of RWD or to discuss the upgrade process. Because there are a number of different implementations of RWD around the world, this upgrade must be done in partnership with our support group at FirstClass Depot. After this version is installed, we expect future upgrades to the product to be self-serve capable.