Power has a price
Updated April 08, 2015

Power has a price

Jason Slater | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Standard Installed

Overall Satisfaction with Cascade Server

Cascade Server is used to maintain the official website for the college primarily devoted to recruitment and alumni/parent relations. It also supports many official office websites. It allowed us to transfer content maintenance duties to various office staff involved with the content development rather than funnel all updates through Web Communications.
  • 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 distributed content maintenance duties to other areas of the campus thus freeing up resources. With a userbase of primarily infrequent activity and lack of general technical competence the support needs are also high but we still come out ahead.
  • All development must be done in-house as opposed to a solution like WordPress with many plugins available. This has required us to spent much more time creating a solution to a problem that is easily already solved by a plugin in WordPress.
  • Because of user frustration and extended development needs our reputation has suffered.
WordPress was never evaluated when we decided on Cascade around 2008. We looked for an enterprise level system that would have vendor support and had more developer resources at the time. Our resources have diminished so having plugin solutions like WordPress would solve many user requests. WordPress has a much broader community of users for reference material when trying to solve problems.
Do you have XML/XSLT developers? Is your user base one of frequent use or infrequent use as infrequent use requires much more support? Are your users technically competent with the ability to navigate file/folder structures and understand basic web concepts to maintain content such as linking, uploading, publishing?

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.

Using Cascade Server

Changing systems would require too much effort. Our institution is using Cascade Server, WordPress and Drupal but we only serve 2200 students so we have 1 too many content management systems. Reflecting on current technical resources we would like to drop down to 2. This effort hasn't moved forward because of the extensive work required to migrate content and train users in a new system.

Cascade Server Implementation