Cascade CMS (formerly Cascade Server) by Hannon Hill is a content management system, with built-in tools to help users eliminate stale content, increase digital outreach, and promote end-user adoption and accountability. Cascade CMS is designed for decentralized web teams…
- Publishing workflow (19)9.090%
- Role-based user permissions (19)8.080%
- Admin section (19)8.080%
- WYSIWYG editor (19)6.161%
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Cascade CMS (formerly Cascade Server) by Hannon Hill is a content management system, with built-in tools to help users eliminate stale content, increase digital outreach, and promote end-user adoption and accountability. Cascade CMS is designed for decentralized web teams in most major industries,…
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ExpressionEngine is a content management system from EllisLab in 2002, a successor to pMachine Pro, a blogging system, which is written in object-oriented PHP and uses MySQL for data storage. ExpressionEngine is their flagship Content Delivery Platform.
This component helps a company minimize the security risks by controlling access to the software and its data, and encouraging best practices among users.
- 8Role-based user permissions(19) Ratings
Permissions to perform actions or access or modify data are assigned to roles, which are then assigned to users, reducing complexity of administration.
Features related to platform-wide settings and structure, such as permissions, languages, integrations, customizations, etc.
- 7API(12) Ratings
An API (application programming interface) provides a standard programming interface for connecting third-party systems to the software for data creation, access, updating and/or deletion.
- 7.3Internationalization / multi-language(7) Ratings
The software supports multiple languages, countries, currencies, etc.
Features that support the creation of website content.
- 6.1WYSIWYG editor(19) Ratings
What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editing tool allows users to build pages without writing code.
- 6Code quality / cleanliness(18) Ratings
Code generated by WYSIWYG editor is clean and validates according to W3C standards.
- 8Admin section(19) Ratings
The admin page is easy to navigate and use.
- 9Page templates(17) Ratings
The CMS has standard webpage templates or types of web pages (e.g. homepage, article page, interior page, blog page, etc.); users can also build custom templates.
- 5.5Library of website themes(2) Ratings
A library of website frameworks or themes is available as a starting point for building a website.
- 7Mobile optimization / responsive design(15) Ratings
The CMS helps users build webpages that work well on mobile devices – whether m-dot pages or responsively designed pages.
- 9Publishing workflow(19) Ratings
The software allows users to set up a custom workflow for updating the website, including approval processes.
- 6.4Form generator(7) Ratings
Users can build website forms for visitors to fill out.
Features for managing website content
- 8Content taxonomy(13) Ratings
Users can create multiple levels and types of content categories including tags.
- 7SEO support(14) Ratings
The CMS helps users create the right website infrastructure (pagination, page headers, titles, meta tags, url structure, etc.) to increase the site’s visibility in search engine results.
- 9Bulk management(14) Ratings
Users can change an attribute on a group of documents or sites all at once through features such as global search and replace, making bulk changes easier.
- 6Availability / breadth of extensions(11) Ratings
There is a broad library of extensions, plug-ins, modules or add-ons that allow users to easily customize their websites without building custom code.
- 4.8Community / comment management(5) Ratings
Users can put post/page comments through an approval process, auto-approve commenters based on their email addresses, block commenters by IP address, delete comments, etc.
- Tech Details
- Supported: WYSIWYG editor
- Supported: Code quality / cleanliness
- Supported: Content versioning
- Supported: Admin section
- Supported: Page templates
- Supported: Mobile optimization / responsive design
- Supported: Publishing workflow
- Supported: Form generator
- Supported: Content scheduling
- Supported: Internal content search
- Supported: Content taxonomy
- Supported: SEO support
- Supported: Browser compatibility
- Supported: Bulk management
- Supported: Availability / breadth of extensions
- Supported: Import / export
- Supported: Website analytics
- Supported: API
- Supported: Internationalization / multi-language
- Supported: Role-based user permissions
- Supported: User-level audit trail
- Supported: Version history
- Supported: Simple roll-back capabilities
- Supported: PHP
- Supported: Python
- Supported: Java
- Supported: .NET
- Supported: Full support of COPE (create once, publish everywhere)
|Deployment Types||On-premise, Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud, or Web-Based|
|Operating Systems||Windows, Linux, Mac|
- 9.1Likelihood to Renew26 ratings
- 6.7Availability8 ratings
- 8Performance2 ratings
- 9.1Usability4 ratings
- 9.1Support Rating10 ratings
- 5Online Training1 rating
- 7In-Person Training1 rating
- 9.1Implementation Rating8 ratings
- 9Configurability2 ratings
- 5Product Scalability1 rating
- 6Ease of integration2 ratings
- 5Vendor pre-sale2 ratings
- 6Vendor post-sale2 ratings
- Multiple sites
- More robust reporting and ability for end-users to create various reports.
- The online help through the knowledge base is hit or miss. Some pages need to be updated, and some of them are hard to follow.
- Simplified page layout.
- Allow quick editing and previewing.
- Use templates and apply CSS.
- Image uploading and linking can be cumbersome.
- Users posting in div tags and inadvertent coding into content HTML can mess up page design and navigation display.
- Version upgrades on the cloud are lightning fast. Only took about half hour to convert our site, with about 50,000+ assets.
- Setting permissions is very intuitive and easy to set up at a high or granular level.
- CMS tracks assets and links when moved, deleted or renamed, and allows for relational publishing of all effected assets.
- Great customer service!
- There aren't many options in who can assist with developing sites, as there aren't many Cascade developers available. We contract most of our development work with third party vendors.
- Cascade CMS makes no assumptions about your content. Templates control how the content gets displayed.
- Workflows are intuitive and allow for one or more people to review content before it is published.
- The published site is static (no database connection) which allows for faster page loads and reduced risk of attack.
- Upgrades require some technical knowledge; there is not a one-button upgrade.
- There is not an integrated backup/restore. Our IT department manages backups for this server.
- Cascade CMS uses a simple folder–page paradigm that our content editors can quickly grasp, as it parallels the drive structures they find on their Mac and Windows computers and the URL paths within their sites.
- A powerful and flexible Content Type system allows site managers and administrators to simplify complex page structures and user interactions into manageable fields and WYSIWYG content blocks our content editors can maintain.
- Cascade CMS implements a fully-baked-publishing paradigm. This allows public-facing web pages to be served by an arbitrary number of front-end web servers, while isolating the CMS itself from any spikes in external traffic.
- Cascade CMS provides granular control of permissions/actions pertaining to non-publishable (administrative) and publishable assets assigned to users, groups and site-specific roles. Additionally, optional workflows, asset-naming criteria, file-size limits, spelling and accessibility checks, and other restrictions/automations can be applied and enforced.
- Cascade CMS is not an out-of-the-box pre-built system that you can install, turn on and expect to be serving sites and pages on day one. It's not a blogging system like WordPress, or a drag-and-drop system like SquareSpace (both of which I've used for their own purposes). You need to have someone tasked with management and system administration – and if you implement the on-premise self-hosted version, you ought to have several people. We have the university's IT shop handling infrastructure (server hardware, containers, clustering, operating systems, load-balancing, DNS, database servers, NAS/SAN drives), our Web & Design team managing Cascade CMS (system settings, sites, templates, permissions) and managers coordinating each respective academic unit (A&S, business, education, law, marine science).
- Distributed authoring
- Overall we feel that Cascade Server meets our needs with a wide variety of features.
- The content contributor interface is much like Word, and easy for our content providers to use.
- The company is highly responsive to suggestions and input when building out versions.
- Spectate comes free with Cascade.
- With the roll out of the newest version, many improvements were made.
- They could extend versioning to other pieces within Cascade.
- Extending integration with other platforms, both for pulling information and pushing information (which is on their roadmap already).
- Security is decent
- Organization (allowing use of a folder tree) is helpful
- Backups of page versions works well
- Plain and simply, this is not a WYSIWYG editor - not matter how hard they market it as one. What you see on the backend is NOT what you see on the front end. You have to know at least basic coding to get things spaced correctly, and if something is more complicated - you need to know more than basic coding. Want to add a picture into the main body of a page? Text formatting, image cropping... it just doesn't work as well as it does with other products. Example: Better know how to add space around the image in Photoshop or be able to add spacing in HTML. Otherwise the image will sit directly against the text.
- Functions that you're used to seeing on most websites, like comment capability, 'posts you may like,' tagged pages, and website searching is either missing completely or is difficult to implement and (therefore) doesn't work.
- Updating to new releases doesn't mean everything actually gets updated. You have to do A LOT of backend work to make new functions work. or you'll have missing functionality and issues like styles not looking the same from the backend to the frontend, etc.
- iframes! Video can only be embedded through iframes, there is no capability to use third party widgets unless you can make it work in an iframe, etc. And don't even get me started on forms.
- After years of repeated trainings, everyone completely abandoned the web calendar, because it was way too difficult to use. It was literally blank for a year before we replaced it with an outside system - which we had to embed in an iframe. (See above.)
- There is no open graph integration. So if someone shares one of your webpages on social media, Facebook, Tumblr, etc won't recognize images, title or description. Unless you code each page separately when you create it.
- No login capability for frontend users. So forget about user forums, or other info that you'd want to require a login to see.
- Sit search capability is pretty sad. Can't tag or keyword pages to help with searches, can't designate landing pages to come up first when their topics are searched, and can't search specific sections of the website.
- Side blocks are sometimes cutoff - and some just don't show up at all on mobile devices.
Cascade Server is a powerful CMS that is flexible, adaptable and scalable.
- It's easy to use, even for non technical end-users
- Technical implementation can be as simple or as advanced you need
- The amount of clicks can be reduced in order to speed up the user experience
- Can't query the database directly
- The asset management is one of the best features.
- Creating individual blocks to complete a web page with different lines of code makes it simple to display.
- The help guide provided by Hannon Hill is nice to have when you're learning on your own.
- Improve the browser support.
- Enhance the block features.
- Easy, almost text-document style interface for people who don't know coding and HTML. Made it easy to update.
- Have the option to switch to HTML and CSS if needed, in case there were more intricate things I wanted to do.
- Having the ability to save drafts to get back to later made it easy to work on longer and more complicated page updates.
- With the ability to time page availability (go up on this date, come down on this date, etc) we didn't have to worry about timelines as much.
- Most of the more confusing aspects of Cascade were simply when the tools went above my head--usually when that was the case I just sent an email to IT to get help.
- The publishing aspect had a lot of steps sometimes.
- Sometimes the HTML would update to something else, even though I had changed it, in HTML. Usually something with paragraphs or breaks.
- Cascade Server pushes pages to a static web server via SFTP so when we need to apply an update to the database or application, public pages remain available but not updateable. This is very tolerable for our users especially during off hours.
- Cascade Server has a built in link checking so links don't break when pages are moved or renamed.
- Hannon Hill does a great job of listening to its customers. The company is Higher Ed focused and feature requests are often included in future releases.
- The way Cascade handles permissions can be difficult if users move between areas in a large organization. If users leave the organization entirely, it is easy to de-provision by removing from the global AD group.
- Workflow is available in Cascade Server but is a bit complex and not as user-friendly as some other systems.
- We can customize the edit screen to add form fields which allows us to then customize the output.
- We can set permissions to view or edit content on a very granular level.
- We can customize the site template as needed.
- Cascade has few pre-built templates or plugins, so our site is a fully customized build.
- XSLT formats can be challenging to edit.
- Very easy-to-use. I trained over 200 users, and never once heard someone say that it was difficult to figure out. People generally left the training excited to get started managing their content.
- Technology independent. We were able to put any language into it that our customers required: .NET, classic ASP, PHP, static HTML.
- Customer Support. The Hannon Hill team was truly amazing when it came to helping their customers, including us. They always went above and beyond to fix issues, help customers figure out complex methods for using Cascade Server, and general support.
- Annual User's Conference. This was a great event that brought Cascade Server enthusiasts together, and the entire Hannon Hill staff was present and available for customers to talk 1-on-1 with.
- Cascade Server had a hard time handling a large amount of data. Since it is a "push" CMS (publishes out individual files that are disconnected from the CMS, vs. a "pull" CMS, which dynamically displays the pages by reading the CMS's database), it had to index pages and content in order to build the pages. If there were a ton of items to index, it took a while to process. They were constantly improving this process, however. I would have liked to have seen an option of using a pull vs. push model.
- Cascade Server was not as "drag-n-drop" enabled as other products out there. Customers sometimes complained that Cascade Server wasn't "slick".
- Cascade Server was very developer-friendly, allowing development shops like ours to customize it the way the customer needed. However, there were many times where development was required to make an application, whereas having an app that you could just insert, style with some options, and have it work, wasn't available. Hannon Hill always provided the app code, but there was no good way to just drop it into a site...it required a good amount of configuration.
- Cascade's display interface is very similar to the interface one uses to navigate the files in their computer. An experienced computer user should have no problems navigating through Cascade's interface to find webpages and files.
- Creating new files and pages is as easy as finding the appropriate folder and hitting a couple of buttons. A new user can easily figure out how to create new files and folders without any training.
- Cascade ensures that no two editors publish the same draft at the same time. When one is ready to publish a page, Cascade informs them if there is another draft of the page available to be published. This feature helps save unnecessary time and confusion that happens when more than one person is working on a webpage.
- Although Cascade's interface allows for easy location of files, the font and folder sizes can sometimes make navigation and identification of files and folders uncomfortable to a user's eye.
- Except for deleting and renaming files, Cascade does not allow for much editing of multiple files and/or webpages simultaneously. This can sometimes cost valuable work time.
- Cascade does not have a clean and organized system for users to leave comments to each other and/or on specific webpages.
- Unified templates
- Dynamic data definnitions
- Reusable data
- Xslt and velocity scripting
- Bulk publishing
- User/group permissions
- Scheduled publishing jobs
- Interface rendering speed
- System resources
- Analytic data
- Web content
- Loading speed
- More custom templates
- Easy to learn
- Simple controls
- Point and click functionality
- Ability to use more advanced options
- Cumbersome file layout
- Certain instruction manuals can be difficult to find
- Lots of clicking to get simple things done.
- Needs to be more streamlined
- Publishing files seems redundant often
- Cascade Server handles the task of permissions and access very well. It allows for very precise permissions based on individual assets from an entire site all the way down to a single page or directory. Users and groups are easy to understand and manage.
- Customization of the product to fit our needs is amazing. Our programmers have been able to create a system that is superbly flexible, yet does not allow for "off-the-wall" changes and edits to pages.
- Version control is wonderful. User can now make edits to pages and not feel pressured to make it perfect, knowing that it can be rolled back to a previous version to start again, if needed.
- Not much that I can add here, except that as a non-programmer, it can be a bit overwhelming to understand all the options and capabilities of the system. We have programmers who have been able to do almost anything we need with the system, but I can't understand it!
- Cascade Server comes with several avenues of support. The main resource is help.hannonhill.com, where all support requests are handled by staff but other users frequently contribute. Other avenues include the annual user training conference and the "Idea Exchange," where users vote on new features.
- Because Cascade Server is XML-based, it can ingest any XML-formatted feed (e.g. RSS) from external platforms like Flickr, Tumblr and WordPress. Conversely, content can be published in multiple formats, following the "Create Once, Publish Everywhere" (COPE) strategy. For example, a single page, published as a traditional HTML file, can also be published as a mobile friendly page and PDF document. Similarly, a groups of press releases can be published as an RSS feed and a group of website pages can be published as an XML Google sitemap.
- Cascade Server user interface is customizable for different content types. We've created custom interfaces for admissions open house pages, job openings, staff directories, events and press releases.
- One of the drawbacks of being an XML-based content management system is that any text entered, that isn't XML-compliant, triggers an XML error and the content can't be saved. The company seems to be working on this, as it recently released a new feature allowing content to be saved as JSON and CSS, which don't have to be XML-compliant.
- There is room for improvement when working with images. While the company has made improvements to the image editor and recently added the ability upload images via "drag and drop", the system can't save multiple versions of uploaded images automatically (e.g. original, medium, thumbnail).
- While Cascade Server's push architecture offers performance and security benefits, it can make maintaining a large website challenging. For example, the only way to re-publish template-specific pages is by writing your own web services application in either PHP or Java.
- Very flexible. The system is based in XML which allows for a lot of flexibility for distributed and syndicated content with XSLT and Velocity.
- Large and active user community in Higher Ed. This system is used by many other higher education institutions so there are many relevant resources beyond the vendor and Higher Ed is an industry where other institutions help each other.
- Distinct separation of content from layout. It is very easy to break content out into separate blocks for reuse while leaving a template and layout intact.
- No inherit control over types of content that users can upload such as pdf, jpg, or other files. This has to be done via regular expressions. It's also possible for users to create files/folders that don't use web-safe naming conventions.
- Requires an experienced XML/XSLT developer to implement and structure. Because it's so flexible it's also very complicated to implement a structured solution that allows users to maintain content without getting frustrated with layout and formatting challenges with the WYSIWYG.
- The system doesn't support the latest XML/XSLT standards so you must use a lesser known scripting language Velocity to accomplish more advanced tasks.
We have users that are not competent and try and follow exact steps to maintain content rather than grasp the concept thus increasing their support needs. Workflow is incredibly complicated and can be more of an impedance to users. There seems to be no easy way to overhaul a websites IA and content while keeping the current site alive and then swapping it out later.
- By removing the core coding skills from the average user including non-technical individuals, Cascade Server allows all users to produce consistent content regardless of the content author.
- By providing excellent workflows content publishing is easily monitored and controlled, including scheduled after-hours publishes.
- By allowing multiple publish destinations you can easily test things out and publish to development servers before making anything live on the public site
- We safe a ton of time monitoring stale content and broken links now that Cascade Server handles these for us automatically.
- Would love to see better integration with Spectate. We have need to manage our social media and the lack on connectivity via API prevents us from accomplishing this.
- Would love to see the ability to parse code within the default content block. Think WordPress shortcodes.
- The new button layout at the bottom (sticky buttons) are messed up. They are difficult to click as they start popping in to show the draft buttons. Instead of inserting them to the right and shifting the others to the left. Just put the new buttons in on the left to prevent this jumping around
- Allow the use of multiple users and groups.
- With working in such a large organization, it makes it easy to manage multiple web pages, by allowing users to update their pages.
- Cascade Server is very simple and easy to learn.
- Cascade Server could have more updated "How to" content.
- Improve the documentation and offer more plugin features
- Cascade Server is generally very secure because most of the time it publishes out static HTML content. We've not had a compromised site using Cascade Server.
- The Hannon Hill team is very good at providing quick support. They have a support forum, a Knowledge Base and also an idea exchange where you can submit feature requests.
- Cascade Server is good at being agnostic when it comes to installing the software and publishing the content to a web server.
- Unlike most content management systems I was use to, Cascade Server has a publishing queue that takes time to render and then publish out your content. The queue is shared among all users of the site. We've set best practices to publishing (such as never publish the full-site during business hours).
- Most content management systems provide community plugins and themes, however Cascade Server does not.
- When you first come into Cascade Server as a developer, you'll find there are a lot of connections to piece together a page. In other words, the learning curve is steep.
- Cascade Server is easy to use and navigate through. I am not very web savvy and I particularly enjoy this product. it is easy to create, find, and edit new webpages and add photos and links
- My organizations website looks so much better because of Cascade Server, and we have been able to train numerous people and get them on board to use it for their own departments site within the organization. Everyone is enjoying Cascade and making use of its easy-to-use format.
- Many people can attend to a website using Cascade, making it easy to divvy up responsibilities while still maintaining a consistent, nice-looking website.