Cascade: What you see ISN'T what you get
September 23, 2016

Cascade: What you see ISN'T what you get

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Standard Installed

Overall Satisfaction with Cascade Server

Cascade is the server used for our university's main website. It was originally setup to allow all campus departments to keep their sections up to date. But it's not intuitive for users, which (even with training) has led to fewer and fewer users. This has resulted in my department going back to doing most of the website updates.
  • 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.
  • Initially, ROI was positive - because we completely redesigned the website when we implemented Cascade.
  • Over time, the inability to keep up with the latest interactive tools has reduced visitors time on site.
  • Also over time, the difficulty of use has led to less buy-in by backend users, leading to outdated pages, little timely information, and lower visitors.
Because the (bad) Cascade decision was made quickly by a small team, we have a larger team and a longer timeline, with a growing list of functionality that we expect a replacement system to have. We've been looking into a number of other products to replace Cascade. Highest on the list (so far) are Drupal and Joomla. We're also currently using WordPress for a few secondary sites, because it offers functionality that Cascade doesn't have.
Even though we know that switching servers would be a HUGE project (especially for our small team) I can't wait to get started. Cascade just doesn't keep up with open source options. I'm very tired of telling people "that's a great idea for our website, but we can't do it with Cascade."

Cascade CMS Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG editor
Code quality / cleanliness
Admin section
Page templates
Mobile optimization / responsive design
Publishing workflow
Content taxonomy
SEO support
Bulk management
Availability / breadth of extensions
Role-based user permissions