IDA's web systems ran on Frameworks versions that were more than two years old and several major versions behind. Therefore, it was time to upgrade to newer versions. It would entail greater improvements in user experience and engineering, such as a better editor experience, higher availability and the ability to operate in the cloud. At the same time, it would bring more technical improvements with respect to load time, as well as opportunities for SEO optimisation.
IDA's previous CMS solution ran on Umbraco and for the new solution the choice once again fell on Umbraco for numerous reasons, including price, focus on sustainability and the ability to tailor the back office. The new solution is built on an Umbraco instance, which functions as a headless CMS. The new CMS has built an API layer around it that several different frontends can use to retrieve the necessary data. Implementation of IDA's websites on the new CMS system is planned to take place on an ongoing basis, with the front end as a pilot project. In time, all of IDA’s frontends such as ida.dk, english.ida.dk, idaforsikring.dk and mit.ida.dk will use the same CMS platform.
The various frontends have a number of pre-selected content blocks available. This means that IDA has the opportunity to develop a preview inside Umbraco that provides an example of what the content is going to look like in the finished frontend. It makes the user experience for the editors very manageable and they can drag the content blocks around as needed.
Although all the different frontends are controlled from the same CMS platform, code changes can be made to one front end without affecting the others because it is built as headless. In addition, the solution provides an extremely high level of recyclability, so it's easy to build and modify things that need to take effect on all frontends.
If an editor previously had access to edit one of IDA's four pages, then they were only set up to have necessary access to the specific page in the new Umbraco solution.
The entire solution runs in Kubernetes, ensuring a high level of availability and the ability to test new versions in the production environment before versions go live. Because the solution runs in Kubernetes, the website is quick to get back up and running if the page crashes. An additional advantage is that there is no downtime when deploying, e.g., a new functionality.
IDA is an interest organisation and trade union for engineers, MScs, IT graduates and other highly educated people who work with technology and natural sciences.
IDA has over 150,000 members, and the organisation plays a major role in preparing their members for an attractive work life. With their physical and digital universe, they present their members with a strong professional network, legal advice, political advocacy, in addition to other relevant services and offers.
IDA's previous CMS systems were hard to maintain and upgrade. There was even one CMS for each of the four very different areas of the website (ida.dk, english.ida.dk, idaforsikring.dk and mit.ida.dk). Therefore, the editors had many systems to navigate around.
The frontends and CMS systems were closely linked and it was difficult to maintain an overview of the setup, thus making it difficult for editors to edit pages properly.
Designs across the various frontends were difficult to reuse, as changes in one place did not change the design in the other frontends. So, if all pages were to have the same change, then it would have to be encoded manually in the individual frontend.
The websites were built from scratch in a unified CMS system on the latest version of Umbraco, which is built as a headless CMS.
NextJS is used as the frontend framework. There is a component library and a library of visual components for the front end, which is built inhouse. The frontend can pass content on to the component library and it only selects components and exhibits SEO information.
The solution runs in Kubernetes, which ensures a high level of availability and is self-healing. In other words, if one of the pages goes down, Kubernetes can detect it based on criteria you can select yourself. If it detects that a page has gone down, it will restart by itself.
Seventy different editors at IDA have been given a more manageable CMS where they can quickly view the content in the proper context while editing.
Because the CMS is headless, IDA can decide for themselves which frontend framework they want to use now and going forward. Therefore, users of IDA’s frontends can have a better user experience with fast load times.
Once the backend and frontend are separated, it is possible to upgrade either the CMS system or frontends independently of each other. Therefore, the solution is future-proof and makes it easy to expand by adding new areas to the IDA website.
“The upgrade to our websites was carried out by a joint project group, where Novataris assisted in the establishment. They are a partner who delivers high quality and who focuses on our business goals throughout the project. With the new CMS solution, our team of editors has a more manageable experience when delivering and editing content to our websites.”
Marc Stein, Head of Digital Development.