Aidan Forrest,
CWP 2.0 highlights and upgrade tips 1024

To recap, the highly anticipated first major update of the Common Web Platform recently became available in the form of a 2.0 stable release. For content editors and technical teams in the public sector, this marks an exciting leap forward.

The feature rich CWP 2.0 takes advantage of the latest (and greatest) features from SilverStripe 4(external link) and updates the CMS with major redesigns for content editors. For technical teams, it brings a refined approach to recipes and simplifies the maintenance of code.

An upgrade to CWP 2.0 unlocks:

  • A modern and responsive user interface
  • Better versioning and asset handling
  • Flexible content and data architecture
  • Content blocks
  • Updated themes
  • New recipe structure

Below, we’ll dive deeper into some of the features and benefits included with a CWP 2.0 upgrade, provide answers to some frequently asked questions, and highlight a few steps to get your upgrade underway.

Website before and after a major CWP upgrade

Your website before and after a major CWP upgrade

Modern and responsive user interface

CWP 2.0 is still the intuitive CMS loved by SilverStripe users – but simpler to use and visually cleaner. The main sections of the CMS are now responsive and reviewing/publishing content on different screen sizes has been simplified for authors.

We’ve also upgraded the WYSIWYG editor to TinyMCE 4(external link) for better accessibility, powerful table editing, and a theme that’s much lighter on the eye.

Better versioning and asset handling

We’ve rebuilt the file management area from the ground up. Authors on CWP 2.0 will enjoy a more intuitive interface and the ability to publish files alongside pages. What’s more, versioning can be applied more consistently to all content – not just pages.

Flexible content and data architecture

The traditional approach to serving content and data lacks the flexibility to meet all audiences right at their doorstep(external link). So with CWP 2.0, we’ve moved towards a more decoupled approach to publishing content – allowing headless CMS applications with the introduction of new APIs.

This enables content teams, designers, and developers to deliver enhanced personalisation and greater flexibility in presentation across multiple devices.

Read more: Decoupled body parts: headless CMS and SilverStripe(external link)

Content blocks

CWP 2.0 introduces the concept of content blocks into the CMS, enabling a new level of design sophistication and customisability for content teams.

Read more: Don’t reinvent the block(external link)

Updated themes

To support government agencies getting their sites operational quickly – in addition to the popular Wātea theme – CWP 2.0 now includes the updated Starter theme. This is a developer focused theme, catering to sites which require more customisation and design.

Recipe variations

Making it easier to find the optimal combination of modules for each project, CWP 2.0 now offers recipe variations. This new modular approach to building projects also helps to reduce development time and remove unused bloat from recipe installs.

Read more: Recipes and supported modules (CWP Developer Docs)

CWP 2.0 FAQs

Q: What’s the difference between an upgrade and a refresh?

A: An upgrade involves moving from one major version of a CMS to another. A refresh is a project that includes rethinking your website and how it achieves its goals. You can do both of these things at the same time, or just simply upgrade to CWP 2.0 and call it a day.

Q: What could go wrong during an upgrade?

A: If the complexity of your website is greater than anticipated, the upgrade process may take longer. An upgrade will always be possible, it’s just a matter of more time.

Q: Why should I upgrade?

A: It’s the responsible thing to do for security reasons plus you’ll get the latest features. Being on the latest version means your site will continue to be supported. Participating agencies have agreed to stay on supported versions, largely for security reasons. Upgrading to CWP 2.0 is like upgrading the software on your phone – it’s a short term inconvenience for a longer term gain.

Upgrading to CWP 2.0 unlocks a number of features and benefits including:

  • Headless capabilities with API driven content
  • Improved UI design and responsive CMS views
  • New themes
  • Content Blocks
  • Campaign publishing functionality
  • Improved file management
  • Asset versioning
  • Continuous security improvements

Q: What will happen to CWP after 2020?

A: The Lead Agency Agreement between DIA and SilverStripe will expire in September 2020. DIA has kicked off a Digital Experience Project where they are going to be working with agencies and suppliers to co-design the next iteration of CWP. Your agency will be contacted and given an opportunity to be involved with the roadmap and participate in a series of workshops. Agencies will be offered the option to continue with SilverStripe and SilverStripe are committed to providing a SilverStripe platform for sites based on CWP 2.0 post-2020.

Q: What’s the support cycle for 1.X?

A: Agencies will be given 18 months notice following the release of a new version before the prior version is marked as unsupported. You can see where support ends for specific CWP 1 versions in the Release section. If your site is running version 1.9.x, you will be supported until the end of September 2020.

Q: How long will an upgrade to CWP 2.0 take?

A: It depends on the complexity of your website, upgrades range from several developer-days to developer-weeks.

Q: How much will an upgrade to CWP 2.0 cost?

A: Contact vendors on the Web Services Panel (WSP) or your vendor of choice for an estimate that is sufficiently accurate for your budgeting purposes.

Q: How complex is my website when it comes to upgrading to CWP 2.0?

Table illustrating complexity of CWP 2 upgrade

Q: What modules am I using?

A: If you are on CWP 1.9, use Site Summariser (available this week) to assess which modules you have. If you are not planning on upgrading to CWP 1.9, then you can raise a Service Desk ticket to request an assessment of your modules (you will need to provide access to your code base to have your site assessed).

Q: Who can do my upgrade for me?

A: Any development team familiar with SilverStripe development should be able to perform an upgrade. We’re hearing from Web Services Panel (WSP) vendors that they are experienced with SilverStripe upgrades and they have capacity to do CWP 2.0 upgrades. SilverStripe has additional partners(external link) outside of the Web Services Panel who can develop in CWP as well.

Q: Do you have documentation for my developers?

A: SilverStripe sure does. Here’s a comment we received recently on the quality of our developer documentation. “I have been building/upgrading a few sites lately and I have to say the current documentation (Lessons and Developer Docs) is amazing. Almost every question I have is answered in there. The days of swearing and struggling to find the answer to seemingly obvious issues are gone. I’d recommend SilverStripe to new developers based solely on the quality of the support documentation. OK, maybe there are more reasons than just that…”

Planning a CWP 2.0 upgrade?

Here’s a quick start checklist to get the ball rolling:

  1. Evaluate the security risks of not upgrading.
  2. Consider the benefits of upgrading.
  3. Assess the complexity of your website. If you are on CWP 1.9, use Site Summariser to assess which modules you have.
  4. Get a quote for upgrading if you are not using your in-house dev team.
  5. Set your budget in January 2019.
  6. Schedule an upgrade with your in-house team or vendor of choice.
  7. Your in-house dev team or your vendor will run a practice deployment and test it and then go through UAT testing and bug fixes. Tests should be at a code level and at a user level.
  8. Deploy CWP 2.0!

Talk to your developer or vendor of choice about upgrading to CWP 2.0 today.

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