How to launch a news site in 8 weeks

Merging content from two existing systems into one and creating a brand new website in less than eight weeks. That’s what happened when Norwegian daily newspaper Dagen.no moved to Escenic Content Engine.

Always answer questions from the developers before turning to other tasks. And make sure that your export files are correct and structured in the right way. That’s how Norwegian news site Dagen.no managed to launch a new website in less than eight weeks. Online Editor Fred C. Gjestad explains why:

“We knew that we shouldn’t keep the developers waiting. So we prioritized answering their questions before doing anything else.”

Outline of implementation process
  • March 25: First scoping workshop
  • March 31: Second scoping workshop
  • April 10: Setup of developer environment
  • April 10 - June 3: Development in progress
  • June 4: Go live. The change to Escenic Content Engine went smoothly

Ambitious deadline

Gjestad and his colleague also went through the XML files for exporting content from the old CMS to the Escenic Content Engine many times to make sure that they would work as smoothly as possible.

“When we decided on Escenic for our news CMS, we wanted to go live just before the summer holidays. We’re a small newsroom and with some of us away on vacation we knew it would have been too risky to go live in the middle of the summer. We hoped that Escenic could deliver, but it was an ambitious deadline,” he says.

The first scoping workshop was on March 25. The developers started working on the project April 10. And the new site went live on June 4 - less than eight weeks after the developers started work. “It was very fast,” Fred C. Gjestad says.

 

It was very fast.

Fred C. Gjestad,

Online Editor, dagen.no

We want to make news  - not build a CMS

Dagen.no had gone through two different CMSs in two years and were not satisfied. When they started to look for a new CMS, they quickly focused on Escenic.

“We wanted a tried and tested system. And we knew Escenic was a solid choice, because my colleague and I both worked at Aftenposten (another Norwegian news outlet in the Schibsted Group, ed.) for years - seeing Escenic performing and working well,” he says.

Especially the core of Escenic was attractive to Dagen.no.

“We considered building a system ourselves. But we don’t have the resources to build everything from scratch. We’re in news business for news, not the CMS business. We want to use our energy on the creative process and make great news. And we know that the core of Escenic - the content engine - is powerful enough to meet our needs now and in the future."

High quality data a big help

One of the most important factors for ensuring a fast migration was the XML files.

“We were extremely careful with our XML files. We went through our data, cleaned it out and made sure that the migration would run smoothly. We also went through all our data exports from our wires, from our archive and from our print products,” Fred C. Gjestad says.

Once the data is well structured, it can be used to create new and better user experiences. So not only did the high quality data secure a fast migration from the old site to the new but it also lays a foundation for improvements to Dagen.no in the future.

Dedicated frontend programmer

Another important factor is that Dagen.no had a programmer dedicated to design, ensuring that design decisions were quickly and efficiently implemented in publication templates and CSS.