Eval.at is an information platform dealing with work security issues, work acoustics, vibration matters, explosive atmosphere prevention and documentation issues.
The Service is provided by the Austrian Social Insurance for Occupational Risk (AUVA) in Cooperation with Austrian Chamber of Commerce, the Austrian Chamber of Labor, the Austrian Trade Union Federation and the Federation of Austrian Industry.
Eval.at was the first approach on semi-institutional online content in Austria, replacing a would-be distribution need of around half a million brochures by structured online content in 1996. The service was in continuous expansion, gaining interest in the European Union, and being mentioned in various European Commission reports as the best operational solution for the underlying European Directive. Although some technical updates were done out of sheer necessity, the main focus was on adding more information and more tools. By 2006, the service had become more or less unmanageable for anyone not really familiar with the project.
The necessity for a radical technological change was clear. All applications as well as content page generation had to be unified on one platform, while still maintaining the flexibility to “dock” 3rd party content and/or application on different levels of integration.
A centralized, role-based rather than mapped user administration, with enough flexibility for outlier solutions for at least 50 people had to be introduced along with a long list of other topics, among which the requirement for the CMS being able to prevent the usage of SharePoint Services and/or Server (thus preventing active directory users also).
e-n-formation solutions is an Austrian IT-Consulting and solution provider company belonging to Eric G. Trattner, former executive and project manager of logix (ltd), the first solution provider to the eval.at project. This not only means over 15 years of IT and consulting experience, but also almost 15 years of accompanying the eval.at project in the leading role. Therefore, enough in-depth knowledge of all operational and legal topics concerned as well to dare a radical technological and structural change in every aspect.
A project team of 6 people (1 project manager, 1 system technician, 2 developers, and 2 content managers) was assigned to the project. Various tools were rebuilt within the platform, new tools were completely built using Sitefinity provided classes and services, achieving almost total integration when desired. Some of those tools were both complex by nature as well as by function range. Also, the possibility to be prepared for future tasks with one instead of many platforms, while not being condemned to relive user management or role issues every time, was properly addressed.
The built-in Wiki module was able to replace 7 separate information databases, while providing enough flexibility for presentation and data management. Minor flaws will be addressed in version 4. The integration of modules as well as the building of tools and applications as Sitefinity modules has helped minimize internal maintenance and adaption effort while at the same time made site integration of these tools and applications far easier and more flexible. The latter being related to easy control integration for front-end purposes as well as provider-based Sitefinity module philosophy.
Various Tools and Applications of different complexity level are now part of a common platform as custom modules. The modules are primarily used to manage the data associated with the tools and are integrated with the Sitefinity User Management to prevent unauthorized data modifications. For each of these modules we also created a User Control for public access of the data. These Controls are integrated in the Sitefinity Toolbox, which is a very easy and flexible way to use them on the front end. In one module we had to integrate a publication chain, where the data has to be accepted by the management before being published. With the User Roles integrated with the Sitefinity User Management this task was accomplished very easily.
The original eval.at website provided static content with no interactivity. Changing the content meant rewriting the page. Migration to the Sitefinity platform, with all the inherent complexities of dynamic data, structural and functional intricacies, did not affect performance in the least which is a testament to the effort the Sitefinity team spends on code optimization and best practice development. Mind here, that the service still runs on a midrange server, over 4 years in use already.
Being both the developer and the designer of the website, we see the clear benefit of Sitefinity as a platform also for projects exceeding the classic role of a website CMS.
While being able to fulfill all wishes and needs presented to us by our customers, development time has been in line in every single project where Sitefinity was used. Also for the first time in years the focus is back on the functional topic and not entirely consumed by the need to find a feasible technological solution.
Rollout of the site went down without any major issue, internal and external user acceptance of the new design as well as the new platform was almost flawless. Overall, the customer is very pleased with the results and we’re happy to prove that the Sitefinity platform is also the best choice for larger information platforms and content management teams.
The next steps: we are working on a German interface for the product, as well as looking forward to upgrading to the 4.0 RC; after the upgrade we will make use of forums for internal purposes as well as broaden and expand usage of the built-in Wiki.