archives.tsr.ch runs on Cocoon, market share doubled
The market share of Cocoon at tsr.ch has just doubled with the launch of their new archives.tsr.ch website (in french) last Tuesday.
I've been assisting their internal team in building the site based on the CMS that me and a small team developed last year for nouvo.ch (and which runs very well, thanks!).
Of course, doubling your market share is easy when going from one site to two, but that's a good start!
All the presentation work has been done by the internal team at TSR, once again the separation of concerns that Cocoon offers has been a great help for them to work on their part while I was improving some backend functions and making things more configurable to suit their needs.
XSLT is and stays a hard language to grasp, but they have done a great job in a fairly short time, the site is clear and easy to navigate, not perfect yet but the very good traffic stats that we're getting show that it works and that people like it.
I don't know yet if the people who run the video streaming servers are also happy, they must be seeing some additional traffic as many links cause immediate playback of videos (and yes, you cannot bookmark videos yet, this should be fixed).
The nice thing with working for a TV network is that you launch the website, and 45 minutes later they announce it in the news and visitors start flowing in with big bursts of traffic. We had some performance issues on the first day, I'm still investigating but it might simply be a lack of bandwitdh as the images are way too heavy for now, we didn't check them before the launch (shame on us) and found out too late that the home page weighs...way too much. And there's a Flash-based game as well, which everybody seems to download after 8 seconds of entering the site...we'll need some tuning to handle such bursts if there are more live announcements.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for an important restoration program of our Swiss French television network's visual archives, the website shows significant excerpts of the many hours of archives that they're working to preserve. There are only about 50 video clips for now, but new material will be added quickly thanks to the ease of use of the system.
The users told me the other day that they enjoy using the software to add material to their site, it's very rewarding to hear this, and another victory of simplicity vs. bloat: this thing is simple to use, not flashy but efficient and meaningful compared to the job at hand.
Funnily, the first request when the project started was to add WYSIWYG editing (instead of the current optimized wiki format that we use), but as soon as the users could edit a demo site with the current software, this requirement disapeeared from the picture. Simplicity works if applied in a meaningful way!
If you understand some french and want to get a piece of my local culture, make sure to watch the video about the first speed radar in 1966. This was shot very close to where I live, and these guy's accent vaudois is very typical of folks around here, this one had us ROFL. There's also Emil, Zouc and Oin-Oin for those who know them, a great way to spend your Copious Free Time.
Wow, this is a long post - but a way cool project, big thanks to the TSR people for allowing me to be part of this!