This project was a joint IT and marketing collaboration in 2014. We put out an RFP to a few companies and Elcom was our preference. Along with the .NET support for custom modules, the other big factor was that Elcom is an Australian company with a local team who understand the Australian market, unlike other vendors who were based internationally and, therefore, where it can be difficult to get product support, or talk to somebody who’s in charge of the product.
The Elcom staff were extremely good to us both during and after the implementation. They were very open to the suggestions we had on how we wanted tasks done. For example, I wrote most of the homepage myself after the Elcom web designers made a template for me to plug custom modules that would dynamically display student timetables, quick links and other information depending on the user. We had a very successful launch of our portal, Ivanhoe Connect, for parents, students and staff.
Managing who can see what information is easy with Elcom. Previously we had to manually import every new staff member, teacher and student, whereas Elcom integrates with AD users and groups to automatically import the users and assign them Elcom security rights and permissions. Offline Tasks is also something we’ve found essential because it can schedule the importing of users from AD 3 times a day to make sure all the group memberships are correct and to disable parents and students that have left.
The homepage is completely dynamic and changes based on who’s viewing it. We’ve written a number of custom modules to do integrations with our other systems, built using C#. These plug in directly into each content zone on a page. For example, on the homepage you can view a timetable module that reads directly out of our Synergetic School Management System based on who is the current logged in user and displays that personalised live timetable feed on the page.
We have a large number of custom sites including the Letters system, our main communications portal for parents, and Ivanhoe Select, our subject selection portal. We can embed an iFrame of one of these sites into an Elcom article that has a stylesheet with a full width content editor. So a section of Ivanhoe Connect might be an entirely different site, but it still looks like it's part of the portal. That was one of our prime design considerations.
The Elcom code blocks are useful for creating dynamically generated structured content. I can write custom front-end scripting code and then embed these code blocks into articles. Then I can keep re-using them as needed. One of the things I’ve written is a custom left hand menu that shows both the folders and articles within it. Being able to do that straight through a core CMS feature was quick to develop and ensures it is responsive.