Takeaways from the 10th Cascade User Conference

By Kat Liendgens — Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 9:00am

Last week, Hannon Hill celebrated a big milestone: our 10th annual Cascade User Conference. It was our biggest event to date, and it was great to catch up with old friends and meet many of our new customers. As always, let’s talk about a few of the key takeaways.

The Ocho

Who wouldn’t be excited about Cascade 8? Affectionately referred to as “The Ocho” - an homage to the movie Dodgeball - Cascade 8 provides a new interface that is modern, intuitive, and fast. Bradley Wagner, VP of Engineering, whetted our attendees’ appetite for The Ocho during his roadmap presentation. As a result, Mike Strauch’s session, which provided a more in-depth look at the new interface, was packed - and the feedback was fantastic. I can’t count how many times attendees asked me about the release date. Trust me, we’re just as anxious to officially roll out Cascade 8 - and we’re getting there!

 

Velocity: Awe and Adoption

Twitter comment on Velocity
As you know, Cascade Server supports both XSLT and Velocity as transformation languages. Over the years, adoption of Velocity has significantly increased. Most of our new customers immediately start with Velocity, and the majority of our tenured customers are transitioning due to its power, flexibility, and low learning curve. So, it was no surprise to see multiple sessions focused on use cases, benefits, and tips and tricks. Hannon Hill’s own Kelly Truong hosted a session highlighting the Locator Tool and the Query Tool, both of which are incredibly powerful features that speed up both performance and development. We’re certain that as we continue to add more Velocity tools to our arsenal, it will become even more popular in the Cascade community.

 

Adaptive Content with Targeted Content Delivery and COPE

Twitter comment on adaptive content

While many attendees were not familiar with the term adaptive content, the concept resonated with them instantly. As we mentioned in one of our recent blog posts, adaptive content means delivering targeted content to multiple platforms, reaching segments of your target audience at specific points in time. Adaptive content involves two key concepts: personalization and COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere). It was great to see that our customers are ahead of the curve in those aspects. Linda Watson, for instance, talked about the research that Rollins College had done in order to develop their marketing personas in order to execute a data-driven content strategy and delivery. And, much to our delight, we had several presentations on COPE and how to implement it in Cascade Server.

The Single Template Approach

Twitter comment on single template approach

Another emerging trend among the Cascade community is transitioning to a single template. Linda Jayne of Cuyahoga Community College painted a familiar picture: you start out with a handful of templates and receive what appears to be a simple request - a department has the need for a slideshow on their page. You fulfill their request but, before you know it, you’ve built out 30 different templates in order to accommodate everyone. So why not leverage the flexibility of Cascade Server and create one template that allows your end users to select and change the layout of page elements?

So much sharing!

Twitter comment on Cascade Exchange

One of the most impressive characteristics of the Cascade Server community is the willingness to share - and this year’s conference illustrated how collaborative and generous our customers are with each other. Presenters freely shared their code via Github and patiently provided advice to attendees after their sessions ended.

Hannon Hill enthusiastically participates in sharing, which is why we provide free downloadable and customizable modules including a course catalog, faculty directory, blog, newsroom, calendar, and social media mashup - all available to you on the Cascade Exchange.

We also realized that Wing Ming Chan of SUNY Upstate is an icon among our customers. Not only did he win the Customer MVP for all of the help he provides on the listserv and the help forum, but he even built his own Cascade Server library that’s completely free to use.

 

Cascade Love 

More than ever, the Cascade community is spreading the love not just by sharing code, but by sharing hugs. And there were lots of them, which is a true testament to the fact that when you join the community, you’re part of the family. Phillip Coxwell of Auburn University created this short video that sums it up best:

It is truly inspiring to see the many ways in which our customers are using Cascade Server and Spectate to not just manage content, but constantly improve it.

Every year, the Hannon Hill Team returns from the Cascade User Conference eager to work harder than ever to create the best content tools available and help users achieve their goals.

Twitter comment on CUC15
We look forward to seeing you next year!

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