SiteMaker Transition Planning

From: John Johnston <johnpj@umich.edu>
Date: Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 3:34 PM
Subject: SiteMaker Transition Planning
To: sm-sig@umich.edu, Budget Administrators Group <Budget.Administrators.Group@umich.edu>, ITS Customer Relations <ITS.Customer.Relations@umich.edu>, "itcommons@umich.edu" <ITCommons@umich.edu>, WWW sig <www-sig@umich.edu>

When SiteMaker was created in 1998, it broke new ground with a combination of flexibility, power, and simplicity for web publishing. It has served us very well since then, but a lot has changed in 15 years:

  • The technology behind SiteMaker has reached end of life and there are now potential performance, security, and opportunity risks in maintaining this legacy system.
  • A variety of more robust and flexible web publishing platforms have emerged that have the potential to better meet the needs of the U-M community while providing a significant cost savings.

With that in mind, ITS has been working with the SiteMaker Steering Committee and a pilot user group to help us take a first step toward evaluating how to best transition active SiteMaker accounts to alternative services. These two groups -- which represent a broad cross-section of stakeholders -- have been very generous with their time and have provided us with valuable early guidance.

At this point, it’s time to broaden the conversation so we’ve created a SiteMaker Transition Project to get additional feedback, help organize our efforts, and share information with the wider campus community. We invite you to learn more about the results of our activities to date on the new project website, which we will continue to build out as we move forward. Here you will find:

  • A list of alternate services that some in the user community are already using to successfully move accounts off SiteMaker.
  • A suggested roadmap that will allow a generous timeline to transition to other services and eventually retire SiteMaker.
  • A contact form, updates (RSS feed), and support materials.

The increasing pace of change in technology requires us to constantly re-examine which tools and services are best suited to building a world-class computing environment that supports the academic and research missions of U-M. Your feedback and support on efforts such as these are critical to achieving that goal.

We invite you to join us as we examine the future of SiteMaker, decide which products and services are viable replacements, and help users transition smoothly over the coming months. There are several ways you can participate (use our contact form to let us know of your interest):

  • You can identify a primary contact for your unit/department to whom we will provide regular status updates.
  • You can participate in our bi-weekly status meetings (conference line available).
  • You can help pilot and test alternative solutions (e.g. Zoho Creator, WordPress, Drupal, MiServer, AWS).

Please contact me or our project manager Cristine Little (crislitt@umich.edu) if you have questions or concerns, and feel free to share this information with others that might be interested.

Thank you and I look forward to working together!