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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Web Content Management Program

What is the Web Content Management program and why is it essential?

One of University IT (UIT)'s priority initiatives is to provide modern, secure, and managed cloud-based web alternatives through the Web Content Management program. The program is a collection of efforts to replace the current Andrew File System (AFS)-based web content management system. AFS is minimally supported and hosts a number of websites created by individuals and other organizations in unsupported, outdated and vulnerable versions of web tools.

By 2021, UIT will establish new vendor platforms, upgrade established platforms, and assist the web content management community in determining the closest-fit solution for their needs.

Learn more about the program and each individual project on the program website.

Moving your Drupal website off AFS and into a cloud-based solution

What are the benefits of moving my website to a cloud solution?
Moving websites into the cloud offers a better experience both for you as the website owner, and for website visitors. This includes faster loading time, integration with Stanford IAM (Identity and Access Management) infrastructure (SAML 2.0), and on-demand scalability and availability. Learn more about UIT's Cloud Transformation program.
Which of my sites will be impacted by this initiative?
Stanford Web Services (SWS) will begin contacting site owners with this information in fall 2019.
What other web hosting solutions does UIT offer?
Information coming soon.
What can I do to start preparing my website to move off the AFS platform?
Information coming soon.

Moving to Drupal 8

What are the features and benefits of Drupal 8?
Why is Drupal 7 support going away?
Drupal 7 is built on frameworks that will be deprecated and no longer supported by their open source communities with security releases and enhancements. Drupal 7 websites must advance to Drupal 8 so that they remain secure and functional. Once on Drupal 8, websites will automatically receive upgrades to Drupal 9 and future versions. (Learn more about why on Drupal.org.)
When will support for Drupal 7 go away?
Open source community Drupal 7 support is scheduled to end in November 2021. Our goal is to move websites hosted on Stanford Sites to Drupal 8 by November 2021. If your custom website is hosted on the Acquia Cloud platform, then long-term support will be offered by the vendor through November 2024. Support for Drupal 7 websites hosted on other platforms may vary.
What happens if I do not move to Drupal 8 by then?
Websites in an earlier version of Drupal will no longer receive necessary security patches and upgrades and would be at risk for increasing security vulnerabilities over time. In addition, hosting environments will eventually no longer support outdated versions of PHP and other libraries critical to the function of Drupal websites. So while the website will not immediately stop working in November 2021, it is best to take steps now to plan and launch an upgraded website.
Which of my websites will be impacted by this initiative?
Ownership is difficult to narrow because there are overlapping individual, workgroup, and PTS group owners. Because of this, individuals should be responsible for their own websites. UIT is working with Campus IT leaders and CIO Council members to review lists of websites that appear to be affiliated with major schools and units.
Will current Drupal 7 Stanford Sites be migrated or converted to D8 automatically?
Drupal 7 Stanford Sites cannot be automatically migrated or converted to D8. The two versions have fundamentally different architectures built around brand new technologies. These technologies make Drupal 8 more scalable, flexible, and reliable and would not be easily adaptable for the D7 framework.
What can I do to start preparing my website to move to Drupal 8?

The best way to start preparing is to spend time reviewing and evaluating the content on your webpages to determine what you want to retain, revise, and remove. Consider the structure of your website (information architecture) and think about ways to improve the organization of pages, and prepare a project timeline, plan and budget. These tips and templates to help you get started are on our Drupal 8 Adoption and Rebuild Guide

Read more about website content auditing in this blog post.

How do I move my Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8?
Stanford units (groups and departments) on Drupal 7 can start by filling out our D8 Adoption Assessment form. SWS will be in touch to assess your current website and provide information on training and support. Or you can review the preparation guide and get started now - simply request your new Drupal 8 website on Stanford Sites.

More information on Drupal 8 for individual or personal sites is coming soon.
How much will it cost to move my site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8?
Stanford units can build their websites on the university’s centrally-managed Stanford Sites Drupal 8 CMS at no cost. Alternatively, they can contract Stanford Web Services for fee-based design and development services. Security upgrades and monitoring is managed by University IT at no cost for all websites on the service.
When will ‘X’ feature be available (e.g., intranets)?
Stanford Sites Drupal 8 CMS will be continuously improved over 2020-2021. For example, the ability to build an intranet is not yet available on Stanford Sites Drupal 8 (but it is still available and supported on Stanford Sites Drupal 7.) For updates on the feature roadmap and what is coming up next, visit https://uit.stanford.edu/sws/drupal-projects, or catch up on what is available in each new release by visiting the Stanford Sites Drupal 8 User Guide.
I am a non-technical user. Will I be able to assemble a site with no coding experience?
Yes! The new service is designed to be far more user-friendly than any version of Stanford Sites Drupal to date. Also, Stanford Web Services will help you get started with a user guide and our usual friendly support team. UIT's Tech Training options are planned and coming soon.
What flexibility do we have on branding/design?
Stanford websites should follow the university’s identity guidelines. These guidelines for websites make the Stanford web experience consistent while providing the flexibility needed to communicate unique messages. We have two essential web branding elements – the Stanford Brand Bar and Global Footer – that should be included in all Stanford websites. Further information on the guidelines and flexibility can be reviewed on the identity website.

Form Builder Replacement

Why is Form Builder going away?
Replacing Form Builder is one part of a larger UIT initiative to modernize Stanford’s web content management systems that currently rely on the Andrew File System (AFS). AFS is minimally supported and hosts web content created by individuals and other organizations in unsupported, outdated, and insecure versions of web tools.
When is Form Builder going away?
After April 30, 2020, you will not be able to create new Form Builder forms. After July 30, 2020, the service and all existing forms will be retired.
What are the benefits of using a cloud-based vendor solution?
A cloud-based solution will provide continual security updates and enhancements.
What can I use in place of Form Builder?
In place of Form Builder, you can use Google Forms, a secure, easily-managed web forms solution that provides many of the same features and functions as Form Builder. For more complex form creation, Qualtrics is a secure and supported alternative.
What will happen to my current forms?
You may still access your current forms but after April 30, 2020, you will not be able to create new forms. After July 30, 2020, the service and all existing forms will be retired.
How can I start preparing for this change?
The best way you can start preparing for the new web forms service is to review your existing Form Builder forms, remove any that are no longer active (check with other form admins first), and determine which forms you may need to replace.
Will Google Forms have the same features and functionality that were in Form Builder?
Yes! With Google Forms, you can create polls, quizzes, surveys, evaluations, and more within Google Drive. Build your own form using the tools in Google Forms, or choose from a variety of templates, such as event registration, course evaluations, and RSVPs. Google Forms’ many features work seamlessly with other collaboration applications in G Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, etc.) through your Stanford login.

These features include the ability to:

  • Create and preview the form as you build it using a simple interface
  • Export data to Excel, Sheets, or other spreadsheets
  • Share forms with collaborators for editing
  • Embed forms in webpages or protect them through single sign-on (SSO)
  • Store forms in Google Drive for easy access
  • Collect and store file uploads submitted with forms in Google Drive
Get more information about the Google Forms service and learn how to get started on the Google Forms service page.
How do I embed my Google Form in a webpage?
You can embed a Google Form in a webpage using iframes. Follow these instructions.
How can I restrict my Google Form to just Stanford users?
Follow these instructions to restrict a Google Form to just Stanford users.
With Form Builder, I could auto-fill user data in a text field. What tool can I use to do this and how?
You can use Qualtrics to auto-fill user data in a text field. Follow these instructions on how to set up the auto-fill.
With Form Builder, I could capture the SUNet ID and other data about a person filling out a survey. What tool can I use to do this and how?
You can use Qualtrics to capture SUNet IDs and other data about the users who fill out Qualtrics surveys. Follow these instructions on how to capture the SUNet ID and other data.

WordPress

When and where can I host and get support for my WordPress site?
The target release of the new WordPress hosting platform is summer 2021. For project updates, visit the WordPress Hosting Project webpage.
What will be included in the new Wordpress hosting platform?
  • Provisioning of default WordPress application
  • Integration with campus directory system
  • Site monitoring 24/7 on-call support for production websites
  • HelpSU ticket management
  • SSL certificate management Log aggregation
  • Compliance with Minimum Security Requirements
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Rescaling of web instances and the complete administration of the underlying operating system

What will not be included:

  • Management or administration of the WordPress application, including migrations, upgrades, patches, themes and plug-in support
  • Web development, design, assistance with coding or content, or web application vulnerability remediation
  • Access to the operating system or the AWS console
How do I request to delete or archive my AFS-based WordPress site?
If you have a website on web.stanford.edu (AFS) that is no longer needed, you can submit a request with your website information.
My department/group has a Wordpress site. Can you give me admin access to the site?
Information coming soon.

Accessibility

What are the accessibility requirements for my site?

Stanford's online accessibility policy applies to all academic and administrative units that create and maintain websites and web‐based applications used in the programs and activities of the university. See the policy at: https://ucomm.stanford.edu/policies/accessibility-policy.

Each Stanford website should contain “Accessibility” contact information for the site’s webmaster and/or the SOAP Office. The contact information may take a variety of forms, such as an email address, a link to the Stanford Services & Support portal, or a contact form on the site. The recommended location for this information is the website’s “Contact” or “About Us” page.

AFS User Volume Provisioning

What will happen when the auto-provisioning of AFS user space becomes a manual request process?

New Stanford people will not be able to save files to their user directory, which includes their web directory unless they submit a Request. (Request form link coming soon.)

Users will still be added to AFS as a known user. This will allow them to log in and be assigned permissions to existing resources.

Why is this change necessary?

University IT will sunset AFS soon. We are taking incremental steps to reduce the overall footprint on AFS. User directory space has remained level over the last few years and this should start to reduce that level with current attrition rates.

Can I still request an AFS user directory space?

Yes. You can submit a request for an AFS user space directory (Request form link coming soon).

Without a home directory, what will happen when I log into a cluster computer at the libraries (or other Stanford locations)?

Behavior will vary based on the system type. In some cases, an error message will be provided to the user which will prevent them from gaining access until they request AFS user directory space. In other cases, users will be able to gain access without a home directory and can navigate to directories where they’ve been granted privileges.

What alternative web spaces can I use in place of AFS?
I have things in my AFS user directory space that my staff/students need to get to. Does that change?

No. Your current space and everything in it will remain intact. The only change is how AFS web spaces will be provisioned to new faculty, staff, and students. They will need to request the space.

Will new users be able to use WebAFS?

Users will need to have a user directory space prior to using WebAFS.

Can I still use Cardinal or other servers to connect with AFS?

Yes.