LCES & Pencilcase 3.0

Today is the ‘soft launch’ of the new Law Courts Education Society website, the project that Jeff and I have been working 16 hour days on for the past 2 weeks. Why, you might ask, did we do this? Well, the schedule got compressed from 2 months to about 3 weeks due to hiccups, and there was an un-reschedulable stakeholder demo slated for today. So we were asked to do ‘as much as possible’ for today. Instead, we did everything, completing the site (functionality-wise).

So, if you’d be so kind, please have a look and let me know what you think of it. Some things I have control over, others, I don’t. And be warned, I’ve not yet done any ‘graceful degradation’ work, so if you’re not using a contemporary browser, it’ll likely look rather odd. Regardless, pointing out any obvious issues would be appreciated.

This site, regardless of its success, marks perhaps a more important milestone for Pencilneck Software. The launch of LCES also marks the arrival of Version 3.0 of The Pencilcase, our flagship product (a CMS). A lot of work went into this version, and it’s a significant upgrade from our version 2 CMS. Some highlights include:

  • Version control & rollback: The ability to store multiple versions of content, and rollback to any previous version.
  • Full, roles-based permissions system, allowing groups to work effectively together and mimicing organization structure (in english: you can force content to go through a creation/editing/approval/publication process).
  • Document management: an integrated system for uploading and maintaining an organized library of documents for inclusion on the web page
  • Multiple, customized output templates: the ability to have multiple content ‘boxes’ on one page, each editable separately.
  • Permissions-based content: You can now specify required access levels for public pages, allowing for easy creation of private, members-only content. Additionally, there can be multiple access levels for content, allowing for different levels of membership.
  • New back-end interface: The entire administrative interface has been revamped, reworked, reconcepted, etc. It’s all new.
  • Better XHTML support. The previous version, while offering decent XHTML support compared to its peers (and considering its age – nearly 3 years old now), had some issues w/r/t to page validation. Many of these issues have been dealt with, and 99% of content generated by The CMS will now validate as XHTML.
  • Significantly improved multilingual support — publish any page in numerous languages, allow visitors to select (and the system will remember their preference) their preferred language. Finally, you now only have to publish content you want in additional lanaguages – the site will automatically revert to the default language for any page that doesn’t exist in the alternate tongue.

I’m sure there’s other things that are new that I’m forgetting, and we’re working on a professional pamphlet/news release for our corporate site that will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks. In the interim, if you’ve any questions or comments, please contact us for more information.

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