January 21, 2014 - Cascade Server 7.8 Upgrade

We upgraded Cascade production server from version 7.6 to version 7.8.1 with two patches after testing it successfully on our test server. Let us know if you encounter any issues or have any questions about this version by sending us an email at  

Hannon Hill resolved some of the issues from Hannon Hill JIRA and included some of the best ideas from their ideas exchange forum.  One of the most talked about feature in this upgrade is the extension of relationships to more asset types including page types, files and folders.  Users can also publish the referring assets directly from the Relationships tab. They also made noticeable changes in the user interface and in the way users interact with assets.

To see a detailed list of changes, go to Cascade 7.8 release notes.

August 31, 2013 - Cascade Server 7.6 Upgrade

Web Comm completed the production upgrade to Cascade 7.6 without incident on August 31st, 2013. Here are the release notes from Hannon Hill including changes since our last upgrade:

We also added a MIME type entry for SVG files and re-activated the Chicago application server (after adjusting its cache sync settings). Of note are fixes to the Google Analytics connector and internal search functionality. Please re-verify any Twitter or Google Analytics Connectors for your sites.

Please contact Web Comm Support if you encounter any difficulties with the new version.

March 21, 2013 - Cascade Server 7.2.1 Upgrade

This weekend, Northwestern's Cascade Server web content management system will be upgraded to version 7.2.1. The maintenance window will be from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, March 23. We will be disabling access to content editing at that time. Your published site will still be functional. In addition to performance improvements, the new release includes features for content managers, such as updates to the WYSIWYG editor, page drafts, and asset moving and renaming. Please review the WCMS Cascade 7.2.1 Upgrade Notes document for more details on these changes. As always, if you encounter any unusual issues, please let your web content management support person or web developer team know.

March 5, 2012 - Happy 3rd Birthday to Cascade Server at Northwestern!

Happy 3rd Birthday to Cascade Server!

Our license for Cascade Server just rolled into its 4th year. Cascade Server now manages 222 sites and 764 NetIDs have connected to the system to edit content. Over last year, this is an increase of 87 sites and 320 NetIDs. This year we continued to support upgrades as they were released from the vendor and provided feedback at every opportunity on the direction of the product. We filed approximately 70 bug reports over the course of the year that resulted in fixes to both the user interface and the back-end components of the system. We are presently are testing the new 7 series of Cascade Server that should drastically improve performance and provide some great new user interface improvements -- it should be available some time this summer. Many of you also know that we undertook a major infrastructure upgrade to support the expanding use of Cascade on campus, which increased our capacity by a factor of more than eight and provides more efficient service for users on each campus.

In no particular order, our new partners are joined together with the following groups around campus who are using Cascade Server in some capacity:

  • University Relations
  • Northwestern University Information Technology/Communications
  • Northwestern Law 
  • Feinberg School of Medicine
  • McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • The School of Education and Social Policy
  • The Graduate School
  • The Bienen School of Music
  • Northwestern University in Qatar
  • Student Affairs IT
  • Weinberg College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • The School of Continuing Studies (training and testing)

December 4, 2011 - Cascade Server Capacity Expansion

Today we launched the new Cascade Server architecture at Northwestern University after weeks of planning and testing. The new systems were tested thoroughly by several web development teams throughout the University and are made available today to users. All users logging in to Cascade Server will now use these systems automatically. Each of the new servers acting in this cluster has approximately four times the resources as the single server that we have been using (and upgrading) for the past three years. We think you'll notice the improvement right away. If you encounter any unusual issues, especially related to login or publishing, please let your web content management support person or web developer team know.

December 8, 2010 - Cascade User Conference Videos Posted, Q4 2010 Update

The Hannon Hill company blog has been posting encoded web videos of their September 2010 users' conference sessions over the past few weeks. The final batch of videos was posted a week ago. The most interesting video for the general Cascade Server audience is likely the product roadmap presentation given by Bradley Wagner, Director of Engineering. The roadmap presentation talks about what's coming up in the new feature release of Cascade Server, 6.8. Highlights include robust in-system image editing and integrated Google Analytics page performance data.

As we close out the year, we noticed that this month we broke 400 registered NetIDs. The Office of Web Communications launched the Undergraduate Admissions website and the Bienen School of Music websites this quarter as well, and we updated the about page to reflect new additions to our service users; WCAS and Student Affairs are both partnering with us to build their first site in Cascade Server.

July 7, 2010 - Prepare for the Cascade Server 6.7 Update

The latest quarterly feature release of Cascade Server, version 6.7, is coming to our installation soon. To prepare for the new features and interface improvements, you can peruse the"Changes in Cascade Server 6.7" flyer. Some highlights include a new Recycle Bin, improved content preview, and content editor improvements.

On July 13 at 1 p.m., the vendor will be hosting a 1 hour webinar detailing the new features and answering questions from its customers. After registering for the webinar, you will receive an e-mail with details on how you can connect to the online session. These webinars have been well-received to date and we encourage you to attend one if you have time.

April 10, 2010 - WCMS Quarter 1 2010 Project Update

Developers in Cascade Server can now access a repository of course descriptions for every course entered and maintained in SES/CAESAR. Please contact Web Communications for more information on how you can access this information and query it to build web pages.

Cascade Server adoption continues to grow. To date, 220 NetIDs have connected to the system to edit and publish pages.

April 8, 2010  - Cascade Server 6.4.4 installed

A bugfix release for Cascade server is now installed to production. The most notable changes are:

  • Resolves an issue with editing content in TinyMCE which contains hidden form fields
  • Resolves a long-standing issue with the "default site" setting and custom authentication mechanisms
  • (Developers) Adds review-date metadata value to index blocks

With this fix to default site settings, it's now possible to log in directly to a site of your choice. Each user may configure for themselves which site they would like to log in to immediately (rather than the global area). To set your default site preference, click on the Cascade menu (to the left of Home), then Preferences, then User Preferences and select a site using the chooser.

Full release notes for 6.4.4 are available on the Hannon Hill website.

March 22, 2010  - Cascade Server 6.4.3 installed & Graduate School Partnership

The 6.4.3 version of Cascade Server was installed several weeks ago. It is a minor bugfix release. There are no notable improvements to features or user experience.

The Graduate School and Web Communications have begun a project to transition TGS' website from a SOCiety-based CMS to Cascade Server. This project will bring in almost every piece of TGS' current website with a new design and improved performance thanks to Cascade's push architecture. Web Communications will be supporting The Graduate School in its efforts to make this transition by provisioning computing resources for them in the Cascade Server environment and providing developer resources to its web team.

January 29, 2010  - WCMS Project Q4 2009 Report

Cascade has been upgraded from 6.2 to 6.4 and 6.4.1 The highlights of this feature release include:

  • Many improvements to workflow
  • A new "Twitter Connector" that can publish links to newly published pages automatically
  • A new "Wordpress Connector" that can create blog posts in Wordpress parallel to content submitted through Cascade Server's interface
  • Much improved interface for comparing differences between versions. The new UI highlights (in different colors) added text, deleted text, text that changed in formatting (with a note, e.g. "changed from header 4 to header 1") and changes to link destinations. You can access this compare tool through the Advanced->Versions button on any page asset
  • See the release notes for 6.4 for more information

Web Communications and NUIT/Communications are pleased to announce that the two-month project to move the NUIT website from Serena Collage to Cascade Server is complete. The process migrated all of their news, content pages, landing pages, policies and intranet content, totaling over 2,000 pages.

The Cascade Server system at Northwestern University now hosts 65 different sites containers, some of which contain several sites of their own. There are 185 NetIDs in the system and 6,113 pages.

July 18, 2009 - Cascade Server 6.2 installed

Cascade 6.2 has been installed to the production server. This release includes many fixes present in the 6.0.* series as well as some additional features that make Sites more interoperable.

This version introduces a new syntax for cross-site links and improves how asset references are handled when a folder is copied. The contents of copied folders now contain updated references to assets newly created in the copying process. This means that boilerplate folders are easier for end-users to copy and begin using -- and Asset Factories based on folders now publish correctly self contained clones of the original folder.

Now that links can be created in-system to assets in other sites, it's important to revisit your Site objects to ensure that their URLs are correct, as rewritten links will be based on the root URL set for the site.

For more information, see the full release notes and be sure to read the special considerations section at the end.

July 13, 2009 - Cascade Server 6.0.3 tested, installed to production

Web Communications has successfully tested and installed Cascade Server 6.0.3. Notable in this release is a fix for a spellchecker bug that caused issues when editing patterns like "AB'C", where two letters are followed by an apostrophe.

The upcoming 6.2 release, when it becomes available, will be installed as soon as possible to production. Included with it are enhancements to the product that improve cross-site linking capabilities, expanding the available list of assets that can be connected across sites to include page links within the WYSIWYG editor. In 6.2, templates can also be shared between Sites. 

Additionally, the Image Resizer plugin has been made available on our installation. This Asset Factory plugin allows you to create File AFs which will automatically resize most image types (excluding GIFs) upon upload. See the resizer notes for more details.

May 20, 2009 - Cascade Server 6.0.2 tested, installed to production

Web Communications has successfully tested and installed Cascade Server

May 13, 2009 - Cascade Server 6.0.1 release, in testing now

Hannon Hill announces the release of Cascade Server 6.0.1. See the release notes for details on what has changed. There are approximately 40 issues resolved by this release. Most notable for our installation are:

Data Definition Regular Expressions

JavaScript regular expressions can now effectively be used to validate data entered into Structured Data fields.  Previously, a user could enter invalid data into a structured data field being validated by a JavaScript regular expression and then click through any error messages displayed on submission of the content.  For more information, read about Structured Data Definitions and the Structured Data Definition Schema.

Xalan Extensions

The existing preference governing Xalan extensions released in version 6.0 of Cascade has been split into two separate preferences: one that enables JavaScript extensions and one that enables Java extensions.  Using these preferences, Cascade Administrators can now disable Java extensions while allowing JavaScript extensions to remain enabled.

Web Communications is testing this release and will apply the update to our production server overnight once we are satisfied that the patch does not introduce any new issues.