Thank you so much for your involvement so far with the publish.illinois.edu aka the P.I.E Project. As many of you are aware, this service is provided to you through the efforts of many different people around campus including the College of ACES, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Media, and CITES Academic Technology Services. We are pleased to announce that we are ready to do some major improvements to the publish.illinois.edu service in preparation for the service becoming available campus-wide.
The improvements will come in two stages that will include two hopefully brief outages in the service.
The first stage will happen the evening of Saturday, March 10, at approximately 9pm, when we will upgrade WordPress to the most recent version – 3.3.1. After this upgrade, your site’s dashboard will appear slightly different, but you will still have the same capabilities plus a few new ones. If the upgrade goes smoothly, the service will be usable again within 30 minutes of when the upgrade begins.
The second stage will happen Monday, March 12, at 7pm. This stage is more complex as we are making some significant changes. These changes relate to how you login, how new sites are created, and a new capability to use a custom address. Installing the changes should again take 30 minutes if things go smoothly. There will be important changes for your account though once they are complete.
Instead of only having WordPress usernames and passwords, we are integrating your University username and password with the system. After the changes are complete, you will need to log in to WordPress using the link for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign users to use your Active Directory (AD) username and password. That’s the only change to how you log in to WordPress. You’ll have all the same capabilities you had previously. You can control all the details of your profile except the email address. You can also still add non-University users to your site by simply using a non-illinois.edu email address when you add the user to your site.
If you have a need for another PIE site, you will be able to create your own so long as you follow certain rules. First is that it has to be at least 9 characters long unless you want to use your own NetID. Second is that it cannot match any campus “third-level domains”. A third-level domain is the third part of a web address like media in media.illinois.edu or krannertcenter in krannertcenter.illinois.edu. You will also need to choose a title and description. If you meet those criteria, your site will be automatically created. The name will be reviewed to make sure the identifier matches the purpose. We’ll provide the link to that once everything is installed and ready to go.
One of the most requested features we get is the ability to use a different hostname than publish.illinois.edu. If you would like to use a different hostname, you will be able to do so shortly. We are still working on the process for automating the requests and making sure there are no unforeseen bugs. Before that point though, you will need to work with your local IT professional to make sure you have done the preliminary work to have the new address. For best results, you will want to ask your IT professional to create a CNAME for publish.illinois.edu. Don’t worry if that’s an unfamiliar term to you, your IT pro will understand it.
Because these are all new features, we want to be sure they work correctly before we make major pushes on the availability of publish.illinois.edu for all of campus. Be sure to let us know right away if you experience any problems after Saturday and Monday nights.
The P.I.E Team