Note: some of the questions posted below are answered in more depth in the pre-deployment document that is sent to all new customers prior to implementation. To download this document, click here (pdf).
Q: What, exactly, is RWD?
A: Rapid Web Designer (RWD) is a comprehensive Web Content Management and Managed Web Publishing application that works entirely within the FirstClass Platform and architecture. RWD means something slightly different to users, depending on their role in the organization;
To administrators, RWD is a finely tuned management system that controls deployment, look and feel, global navigation and user management of any number of websites that are hosted on the FirstClass server.
To content publishers such as departmental representatives, teachers, etc, RWD is a simple tool that creates web pages and other web objects such as message blogs, podcasts and calendars easily and quickly without any need for HTML or web design experience .
Visitors to RWD websites enjoy access to the content in your FirstClass system, published by the subject matter experts throughout the system, with a consistent look and feel and navigation across the entire site.
Q: How does RWD work?
A: RWD works by taking advantage of the native functionality of FirstClass to act as a web server. RWD consists of a very detailed and complex set of web templates that interpret FirstClass document data to present a web page to browsers that hit the URL of the page. Each page rendered on the web displays a mixture of information that comes from a specific object (a web page, a calendar, conference, etc) and a special administrator form that provides global content (look and feel, global links, special messages) to all pages in the site.
Q: How is RWD different from FirstClass Web Publishing?
A: FirstClass web publishing is a quick and easy way to publish personal content to the web with some basic formatting and navigational components created automatically. While a very powerful feature of FirstClass, the standard web publishing does not constitute a managed web publishing system; each user is autonomous and there is no significant control over the website as a whole.
RWD leverages the simplicity of FirstClass web publishing and then adds enterprise web publishing capabilities to the mix. RWD allows for a central design for all web pages to be seen on every web page, regardless of the publisher. This central design features a common graphical look and feel, global links that appear on every page, centrally created announcements and warnings and other features that give the organization a centrally controlled web presence while still allowing distributed content generation.
Q: Where is RWD being used?
A: RWD has an extensive installed base with customers throughout North America, Europe and Scandanavia primarily. Over 100 School districts - some of them in the top 10 largest in North America - use RWD with a high degree of satisfaction. The image below illustrates just those customers for who we maintain an account with for the purposes of support.
Q: Does RWD require its own server computer?
A: No, RWD runs entirely within the FirstClass hardware and software architecture with components being installed both in the core FirstClass server and in Internet Services
Q: Does installing RWD mean that I have to upgrade my hardware?
A: Not usually. A successful installation of RWD will tend to increase load on both the server and internet services as more and more people start to visit your sites so if your system is nearing it’s capacity prior to implementing RWD, you might want to consider beefing up your systems. Very busy systems with many websites will benefit from adding additional Internet Services clusters for load balancing.
Q: Does RWD work with all versions of FirstClass?
A: While many aspects of RWD will work on older version of FirstClass, each release of RWD takes advantage of the latest features of FirstClass itself so it is always important to have the current release of FirstClass when using RWD. Some features in RWD will not work on older versions of FirstClass.
Q: How is RWD installed on my system?
A: There is an installer for RWD version 1 however, due to the diverse nature of FirstClass setups that exist, FirstClass Depot offers a free remote installation service that is endorsed by Open Text. During the installation, we will log into your system using an account you have assigned to us, load all of the templates and form resources, documentation, icons, etc that make up RWD onto your system and register RWD as an application on your server. Once installed, RWD is ready to be used once you have been trained.
Q: What do I need to do to be ready for RWD?
A: We have a document that we will send you prior to the implementation of RWD on your system that will give you information to help you prepare.
The RWD Implementation Checklist provides extensive details about system preparation, Web Name registration, Who should attend the training and implementation, the form and agenda for the training and so on.
Q: Is training mandatory for RWD?
A: In order to receive support from FirstClass Depot for RWD, we require that customers have had at least some implementation services and training. While this may sound unfair, we must protect ourselves from performing incremental ‘email’ training that is disguised as technical support. RWD is a deep and broadly capable application and it is not a simple prospect to take advantage of its capabilities without a structured training and implementation session.
Q: Why is the cost of training and implementation more expensive than the software itself for my small district or independent school?
A: The cost of RWD training is actually very reasonable, particularly when you consider that in most implementations, the result of the training service is a functioning website or collection of websites. Training and implementation services are priced competitively for similar types of services however, RWD software is priced well below any software that we are aware of with similar functionality.
Q: Does administering an RWD system require users to have sub-administrator privileges in FirstClass?
A: No. RWD was designed to give the maximum amount of control to the web administrators without compromising the ability of the FirstClass Administrator to control access to the critical functions of FirstClass itself. RWD Website Administrators must be able to see the directory of those people and objects that they are overseeing and their accounts should not be overly restricted but otherwise, they can be normal users.
Q: What makes an RWD Website administrator able to perform their role?
A: When a user in your system is made a member of the RWDe Site Administrators user group in FirstClass, they inherit all of the permissions and views required to act as a Site Admin.
Q: How do people publish web content with RWD?
A: Users who are going to create web pages with RWD are made members of one of the RWD Builders groups and that membership gives them access to the tools and resources needed to publish content with RWD.
Some web content, such as conference submissions and calendar events can be published without requiring the user to have an RWD license but a license is required for every user who uses any of the RWD Builder forms.
Q: What are the main roles defined in RWD?
A: RWD has four primary roles defined for users and each role is determined by the user’s RWD group membership. The four roles are:
Responsible for the creation and management of one or more of the organization’s root sites, maintenance of the site’s global links, creation and deployment of sub-sites for departments and the deployment of teacher websites. Also may have some role in the creation of object templates (Pickers) to be used by RWD Builders. In a properly deployed site, this role is given only to a select few individuals who are well trained in the use of the RWD Global Administrator forms and understand & respect the powerful capabilities of the software to propagate information very broadly.
Site Administrators can take on any of the other two roles in RWD as their resources include the others as well.
RWDe Site Administrators are generally those individuals who are responsible for the maintenance of the particular website’s global links, the creation and deployment of sub-sites for departments and the deployment of teacher websites. Site Administrators do not have the ability to modify most aspects of the website design however, and the role is generally restricted to global content and link updates.
Rarely used, this group is designed to give RWD Builders the ability to create their own graphical layouts and links that do not look and feel like the global template used for the site. This capability requires the use of a much more complex web page builder form than the basic one, and significant training is required in order to use it properly.
The most common role, RWD Builders use a simple form to create and manage their websites. RWD Builders have no control over the graphical look and feel of their web pages, except in the body of the page itself. They have limited ability to affect the links on their pages as well, generally having the Navigation Sidebar and the Information Sidebar features only. They do not have the ability to add or remove links in the Header Links bar.
Users should be a member of ONLY one RWD group.
Q: How are licenses allocated in RWD?
A: Every user who is a member of any of the RWD Builder groups uses up a license.