Telecom New Zealand - Intranet
The Telecom Intranet is one of the largest in the country (along with the Inland Revenue Department and Department of Labour, which I also worked on).
I coded a custom web management system to convert the thousands of independantly created subsites and pages into a common look and feel, and apply a new, self-maintaining navigation system site-wide.
My Primary Roles:
- Client Liason with different corporate entities over several years
- ASP/Jscript coding of a unique web management system
- HTML Template creation through many iterations, including an all-new themed version after several years of use
- DHTML menus, random ASP updates (legacy)
- Version control (FTP syncronisation via web interface)
The Intranet was infested with thousands of pages on different servers created over time by different authors using different tools, notably early versions of Frontpage, with little regard to either corporate or web standards.
Phase one was to automate the conversion of existing content (much of it framed) into a consistant format. This I did by creating heuristics to extract the content and structure of legacy pages while discarding the redundant navigation, themes and chrome.
For many reasons, databases or dynamic pages were inappropriate to the environment, and I commited to avoiding any technical dependancies or meta-storage for both legacy and future portability.
Upon applying a template, child, sibling and parent pages (later uncles too) were automatically linked in to the navigation bars, removing a lot of redundant work for the authors.
New standards and guidelines (such as page naming conventions) were also introduced and documented for the multiple content managers involved.
An in-place, online editor system was designed for quick content changes. This was integrated with users browsers, and worked under a basic content sign-off/release system which pushed changes through test platforms.
The entire system was operated using a web interface, which, despite the limitations of HTTP transactions, was able to control thousands of documents where Frontpage would time out after hundreds.
The templates (specially commented HTML files) could be applied repeatedly, and site-wide changes could be made, all the while keeping the content in flat, normally edited HTML files.
After several years of use, a completely new look and feel was applied by adding a new template. Thousands of documents were totally re-written and tested in a matter of days thanks to the regular content.
One of the trickiest problems encountered in the project was running out of storage allocation space (not disk space) due to the incredible depth of the heirachy.