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IntroductionDemographicsTools - for users- for developers- for managersWrap-Up

Introduction


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  • What's a site report?

  • Every year, each of the sites in the InterLab community is asked to answer a couple dozen questions that will help other folks understand what they're doing on the web and how they do it.


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What are site reports good for?

- Letting our fellow web developers and managers know what's going on at their sister institutions

- Spotting trends in the way folks across the InterLab community deal with their online resources over years, rather than just taking snapshots of individual organizations.

- Providing a starting point for helpful information exchanges and inter-site cooperation/collaboration

- Planting the seed of an idea, a new approach, a collaboration, or an opportunity to lend someone else a hand


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  • Thanks for the great response!

  • - We've gotten responses from almost all the sites in our InterLab community this year.

  • If you haven't submitted your report and you'd still like to share information for your site, the report submission site will stay open through November 14.

  • It's still located at https://public.ornl.gov/interlab. Use the password you got in the mail. Let me know if you've forgotten it.


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  • Collected reports website

  • Site reports for all the InterLab sites are located at https://public.ornl.gov/interlab/index_collection.cfm .

  • The few that have no information in them will give you a "no data" message.

  • - You can log into the site using the password that is being passed around. Be particular about who you share it with. Please, don't share it beyond the InterLab/DOE community.


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Demographics


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Number of staff using your internal website

The number of staff using internal websites ranges from about 200 to 13,000. The average-size internal site has about 6000 users.


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The scope of the site report is varied.

The scope of the site reports varies from entire laboratory sites, to centrally managed resources, to websites of selected organizations.


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Total IT budget for the site

About half the sites reported in this area. Responses break down into two groups: folks who report site-wide totals come up with figures that range from $7-65M. Those who report funding levels for "core" or "central" site support offer figures that range from $215-350K. To get a real handle on the funding issue, we would probably have to ask a lot more questions, define a lot more terms, and involve a lot more people. The best place to get budgetary details is from the site representatives themselves.


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Percentage of laboratory IT budget outsourced

Again, about half of the sites reported in this category. Of those that did, most outsourced none or almost none of their IT work. Two sites reported that 25-40% of their IT budget is outsourced.


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Number of pages on laboratory's internal site

Responses in this category range from 0 pages to 600,000 pages. The average number of internal pages reported is about 150,000 pages.


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Number of static pages on laboratory's public site

Responses in this category range from 3000 pages to 500,000 pages. The average number of public pages is about 145,000 pages.


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  • Staff effort spent enforcing website standards

  • - Central web staff often have responsibility for enforcing standards on "core" or high-level pages. In these cases, lower level sites are usually the responsibility of line management.

  • Several sites have a group of organizational representatives that oversees standards.

  • - A common complaint is that there is no specific mandate for anyone to develop, apply, or enforce web standards. (more)


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  • Staff effort spent enforcing website standards

  • - Reports suggest that responsibility for standards is often so distributed that no one seems to have responsibility.

  • The number of staff devoted to standards ranged from .75 FTEs to "parts of 12" individuals were involved to some extent.

  • - Developer “interest" groups and seem to provide good results in the area of raising "standards awareness" at some sites.


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  • Tools


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  • Tools for Users


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Browser(s) and version

The vast majority of folks are using either IE 6 or later and Netscape 6 and 7. The Trend toward IE and away from Netscape has continued, but thanks largely to IE's ongoing compatibility problems, Netscape, Mozilla, and Safari continue to capture a sizable fraction of the browsing population. One site has implemented terminal servers to accommodate (1) platforms that aren't well-supported by IE and (2) web-based applications that only work with specific browsers—again, generally IE.


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Email client(s)

We're a pretty diverse group in terms of the email clients we use. The most popular clients are various forms of Microsoft Outlook, Eudora. Other reported clients includes Lotus Notes, Netscape Mail, and Pine. The most obvious trend in this area is a steady migration to Outlook.


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Site search engine(s)

A surprisingly high number of our sites use the Verity/Inktomi Ultraseek to index their public or internal sites. The next most popular product is the Google search appliance, which was just barely on our radar screen last year. A home-grown solution based on Oracle's search engine was also reported. The most obvious search engine trend has been the gradual move from a fairly large number of search tools to a couple search engine options.


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Anti-virus software (desktop)

About equal numbers of sites reported that they use McAfee, TrendMicro, and Norton to protect their desktops from viruses. Other choices include Virex and Symantec. As was the case with search tools, antivirus software users seem to coalescing around a few widely used solutions.


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Anti-virus software (server)

Unlike last year, when the most popular response in this area was "no response," this year pretty much everyone reports using server-based anti-virus software. As was the case with desktops, about equal numbers of sites reported that they use McAfee, TrendMicro, and Norton to protect their servers. Other solutions include VirusWall, Bro, Tumbleweed, Cybersoft's Vfind, ActiveState's Pure Message, and Sophos.

(more)


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Anti-virus software (server)

This year's award for the ultimate antivirus gauntlet goes to Sandia. See their site report for a description of their five-layer approach to email virus eradication.


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Anti-spam software (desktop)

The most commonly reported means of blocking spam at the desktop was using the filtering capabilities of the various email clients. A couple of other sites are using Norton's anti-spam tools.


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Anti-spam software (server)

Server-based solutions are many and varied across the reporting sites. Most sites report that they use server-based anti-spam software. In no particular order, the products used around the InterLab community include: Process Software, Norton, Iron Mail, Bright Mail, Trend Micro, Tumbleweed, Pure Message, Spam Assassin. One site reported that it relies primarily on manual IP blocking by the mail administrator—presumably, this method is also used at most sites to some extent, either by the mail administrators or their network security folks.


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  • Tools for Developers


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WYSIWYG web page development tool(s)

Among InterLab sites, Dreamweaver and FrontPage are, by far, the most widely used WYSIWYG development tools. Other reported tools include GoLive, HotMetal, MS Visual Studio and WebTop.


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Text web page development tool(s)

The hardcore code crunchers among us will be happy to know that the feature-free Notepad is still the most commonly mentioned text tool. WordPad, BBedit and HomeSite are also commonly used. There are about a dozen runners up.


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Programming language(s) for web applications

The most commonly reported programming languages remain Java, Perl, ASP, Cold Fusion, and JSP. Other solutions include C+, Javascript, Basis+, Rexx, J2EE, Web Services, PHP, PL/SQL, VBScript, Python, Lasso, and Tango.


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Programming tools for web applications

Various flavors of Cold Fusion-related tools (Cold Fusion Studio, Dreamweaver MX) and Visual Basic are the most widely reported programming tools. Other less widely used tools include Optimal J, Oracle Designer, Interdev, Crystal Reports, Visual Basic, JDeveloper, Eclipse, Lasso, Tango, and Visual Studio.


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Databases for web applications

Most sites indicate that they used Oracle, Access, or some variety of SQL for their web applications. Other reported choices include FileMaker, Basis+, and Sybase.


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Tools for Website Managers

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Describe webserver environments

The most commonly reported webserver environment is Apache running on some sort of Unix or Linux box. This is a bit of a change from recent years in which various Windows-based environments (Windows IIS running on NT, 2000 boxes, etc.) were the environment du jour. Windows-based solutions are still very common within the InterLab community. Other servers include iPlanet and Mac-based servers.


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Is your site management distributed or centralized?

Last year, we were pretty evenly divided between labs that classified themselves as centrally managed and those whose site management was distributed. This year, there is a clear trend toward centrally managed sites. Some are centrally managed "core" or "top layers" sites with lots of satellite "sub-sites." Others sites have more overt central controls. A couple sites described themselves as distributed, but indicated they were moving toward more central control or to greater adherence to centrally developed standards.


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What content management tools are most often used to manage your site?

A wide variety of content management tools were reported—mostly of the non-enterprise variety. Dreamweaver and FrontPage were mentioned most often. Other reported tools include HomeSite, varieties of FTP, Stellant (in a pilot project), NetObjects Team Fusion, Visual SourceSafe, CVS, and home-grown tools. Several sites indicated they were in the process of looking for inexpensive, flexible, enterprise-scale content management solutions.


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Does your site use portal software?

Currently there are only two portals that have been rolled out "officially"—at LLNL and LANL. Both are running Oracle Portal. LBNL is building a home-grown portal (rumor suggests it's open source); PNNL expects an '04 rollout of Plumtree; MIT-LL is running a pilot of Stellent; Sandia is running a pilot of Vignette; and SLAC is working on developing MySLAC—another home-grown solution.


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Are you considering the use of portals?

A number of other sites are on the cusp of implementing portals. In addition to the pilot projects already mentioned, products under consideration include Oracle, Plumtree, SAP, Novell, BEA Weblogic, and home-grown solutions.

Several sites are not considering using portals. They cite a couple reasons, including the lack of a driver for an enterprise portal and the high cost of portal implementation.


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Are portals implemented enterprise-wide or are they used in selected areas?

Of the two portal implementations that are in production, LLNL's is enterprise-wide and directed at all employees; LANL's is enterprise-wide and directed at managers. Most of the remaining sites that are considering portals seem to be leaning toward a broad initial implementation followed by the construction of lower-level portals with smaller audiences.


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Describe any tools you use for evaluating and testing sites (usability, accessibility, compliance with HTML coding standards, checking links, etc.).

Of the many quality assurance tools mentioned in the site reports, Bobby, W3 Validator Tools, Dreamweaver, and WebTrends appeared most often. The number of other tools reported is enormous and includes Webtester, Cold Fusion Studio HTML Validator, Watchfire, WebTrends, Dr. HTML, Jaws, LinkBot, HTML Tidy, VisCheck, WAVE, CSE HTML Validator, Astra Site Manager, FrontPage, and various custom scripts—among others.


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  • How has your site approached compliance with accessibility standards (Section 508)?

  • Have not been rigorous at implementing…

  • Applying standards inconsistently…

  • - Making a good faith effort…

  • - Evolving toward compliance…

  • - W3C standards and www.section508.gov website

  • - Linking 508 efforts to search engine optimization

  • Developing strategies and requirements

  • (more)


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How has your site approached compliance with accessibility standards (Section 508)?

- Providing checklists and guidelines

- Collaborating with related sites

- Providing training to developers

- Making section 508 part of the review process

- Requiring designers to use 508 testing tools

- Requiring Bobby compliance


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  • Test and development environments

  • Several kinds of environments were reported:

  • Development and/or review environments that mirror production environments

  • - Various means of interposing the "web group" between website developers and actually publishing the site.

  • - Non-mirror development and/or review environment

  • - Mirror site for testing/version control of non-executable content

  • - Multi-tiered environments for website and application testing and deployment


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What software/tools/utilities are are used to manage the "publishing" of finished sites?

Managing the publishing of finished sites is handled in a variety of ways, including the use of home-grown review/approval/publishing applications and several flavors of FTP. A number of sites are discouraging the use of FTP or are phasing it out in favor of more secure file transfer clients. Other publishing tools/utilities include FrontPage, Dreamweaver, SCP, WinSCP, TelnetSSH, CVS, Unix rsync, PVCS, WebDav, and OpenAFS. Several sites also reported using various desktop-to-server publishing arrangements.


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Wrap-Up


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  • Trends we've seen in this year's reports include…

  • The move toward more centralized site management—usually in the form of increased oversight or more rigorous standards enforcement efforts.

  • Coalescing around a couple popular search solutions: Verity and Google.

  • Similar, but less pronounced, clustering around antivirus solutions: McAfee, Trend Micro and Norton.

  • - A continued migration to Outlook at the expense of other clients—primarily Eudora.

  • (more)


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  • Trends we've seen in this year's reports include…

  • Proliferation of server-based antivirus software.

  • More extensive use of Dreamweaver—particularly in the areas of programming and usability.

  • Shift in server environments toward Apache on Unix/Linux and, to some extent, away from Windows-based environments.

  • - Continued move away from Netscape and toward IE; similar move toward other alternatives (like Mozilla and Safari) for un- or under-supported platforms.

  • - Finally, most sites are either using, developing or investigating enterprise portals.


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  • Opportunities for collaboration?

  • Maybe you knew it when you heard it.

  • We have a lot of overlap in search solutions. Are there opportunities to share information? Licensing costs? Code developed to support various types of integration?

  • There's a similar overlap in antivirus and WYSIWYG site development solutions (like Dreamweaver and FrontPage). Are there similar opportunities in this area?

  • (more)


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  • Opportunities for collaboration?

  • - Given the increased emphasis on standards, can you share information (preferably via the Webqueen's standards site) that would enable another site to learn from your experience?

  • - Enterprise portals are an inevitable destination for a number of sites. Are there opportunities to share information? Licensing costs? Is your infrastructure similar enough to other sites that you can share portlets that you've developed with other sites?


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What do you want to hear about next year?

When you come up with an idea you like, drop a line to [email protected] We haven't assembled a program committee for next year yet, but we'll have one shortly. Feel free to volunteer!


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Remember to look at the collected reports website.

https://public.ornl.gov/interlab/index_collection.cfm


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Thanks!


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