• Web Workflow and Publishing Cycle

Web Site Workflow and Publishing Schedule

Update: August 2011


Workflows and Publishing

The Suffolk University Web site, www.suffolk.edu, is updated on a regular schedule. To be updated on the University’s live servers and made available to the public at www.suffolk.edu, new and edited Web content must pass through a pre-assigned workflow where it is reviewed, sent back to the editor for corrections if necessary, approved, and then released to webstage, the University’s staging server.

The live update, or publication of the page, occurs when the staging server is synced with the live servers.


The Workflow is the path that begins with the entry of catalog content, and ends with the release of that content from workflow, when it is ready for publication to the University Web site at www.suffolk.edu.


  1. All new content and edits begin with entry into the RedDot (OpenText) Content Management System by a member of an academic department or administrative office.
  2. During the creation or editing of a page, it resides in the Tasks folder of the editor. It is not available for review and cannot be edited by someone else until the editor submits the page to workflow. Once it is submitted into the workflow, it can be reviewed.
  3. Each department or administrative office has a unique workflow.
    1. For an academic department, pages are first created, and then reviewed by one or more individuals in the department before being released to the Office of the Dean.
    2. For an administrative office, a page is edited, reviewed, and then released to Web Services.
    3. Within each department or unit, content is reviewed for
      1. Accuracy of information
      2. Clarity
      3. Spelling and grammar
      4. Text Formatting
  4. If a page requires corrections, is not passed through for publication, but returned to the original editor for revision, usually with directions from the reviewer.
  5. Next, either Web Services, the Communication Director of the College or Business School or NESAD reviews each page to assure that it meets technical guidelines and requirements, then releases the page to the staging server or returns the page to the reviewer for further updates.
    1. NOTE: All pages in the Admission and Financial Aid area of the Web site are edited by the Office of University Communication. Please be sure that all edits in this area are directed to mschneider@suffolk.edu.
  6. A page may be released to webstage at any time after it passes through workflow. The page does not go live, however, until the staging server is published, or synced, to the public-facing web servers.
  7. Catalog workflows follow similar workflows to those outlined above, but may require more review steps. Thus, it may take catalog pages longer to pass through the workflow.

Publishing Schedule

Publish on Release

Each business day, many pages are released to Web Services and the offices of the Deans for review and publication. Most of these pages are set to publish upon release from workflow, and they are reviewed at various times during the day. The page does not appear live, however, until it is synced to the external servers.

Web Services syncs the Web site each business day at approximately 8:30 am, and again at approximately 4:45 pm. Pages received by Web Services after 4:15 pm each business day may not be synced to appear on the live site until the following morning.

In addition to these scheduled publishing times, Web Services may sync the site as required to push pages to the live site during the day. If a page requires urgent publication the page must be released to Web Services or the appropriate Dean’s office via the workflow, and an email request must be sent to webadmin@suffolk.edu.

Home Page Publish

To ensure that all news and events updates are reflected daily on the web site, we publish out each home page every morning, regardless of whether or not there is a full-site publish, since home page changes do not have a workflow to push these updates on release. In addition, the University home page is published again every Friday afternoon at about 4pm for weekend updates. An additional Friday night home page publish can be established for any home page that needs to be updated for the weekend.

The home page publishing schedule is as follows:

  • Alumni home Page – 4:30am
  • College of Arts & Sciences home page – 5:30am
  • Center for International Education home page – 4:00am
  • University home page – 5:00am
  • Business School home page – 6:00am

Web pages can also be held on the staging server and published out when necessary. For example, we can hold polling pages on the staging server, and then push them out to coincide with the timing of a news broadcast. When an event like this is scheduled, we will wait to push out all updated pages to coincide with the poll.

We are also able to hold pages on the staging server or even within RedDot so that they will not publish out until a site or a series of updates are ready to be published. For example, we hold all catalog pages on the staging server until we are ready to push them out to the live servers as a group on a pre-selected date and time.

Full-site Publishing

Web Services runs a full-site publish each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night. The publishing cycle begins at 9pm and finishes at between 7 and 8:30am the following morning. In a full-site publish, the CMS reviews every single page within the web site, and publishes out every item that has been updated recently.

A full-site publish also picks up changes that are not related to workflow, such as the import of course descriptions from the Datatel Colleague database, and any pages that are not part of the main structure of the site, such as the Admitted Student web pages.

News & Events that are posted to a home page using keywords and linking/appearance schedules are not a part of a workflow and will update with either a full-site publish or a home page publish as outlined below.

Web Services will, on occasion, turn off the full-site publish if there are other issues with the web site. These issues usually revolve around the movement of sites from one location to another or the import of course descriptions or the posting of a poll at a time scheduled to coincide with a news broadcast. When this happens, we adapt the full-site publishing schedule to meet these needs, and try to ensure that all pages that should publish out are published, while all pages that shouldn’t publish out are not published.

Linking/Appearance Schedules for News and Events

News & Events that are posted to a home page using keywords and linking/appearance schedules. They are not a part of a workflow and will update with either a full-site publish or a home page publish.

News and Events publication is outlined in Part Six of the Content Provider’s Guides. The guides are available at http://www.suffolk.edu/offices/22003.html .

The linking/appearance function allows the posting of items to appear at a pre-determined date and time. Note that the CMS will consider an item to be permanently posted if it has no linking /appearance schedule, or has a schedule that has a start date but an open end date.

Only the Public Affairs Office can authorize the publication of a news story or event to the University Home page. For more information, contact webnews@suffolk.edu