Building Part 4 of 4 Jeff Turcotte

Written on: July 9th, 2013 in clients, engineering, technology

Previously in the Building series, we showed some of the Strategy, User Testing and Creative phases. In part 4, we will be forging ahead with the a focus on the technology; the tools engineered to ensure a great experience for both visitors and the administrative team of


Very early in the process it was determined that would best be suited to a Custom CMS on an Open Source Platform. Custom because they had a lot of structured data that was specifically tailored to the management of their events, and open source because they needed a tool with zero lock-in which can be augmented and enhanced easily as needs change from year to year. With this approach, we could also ensure that all components were up to the high security standard that is is critical to the RSA Conference brand.

Since the RSA Conference CMS was built specifically for their problem set, the RSA Conference administrative team can use a workflow tailored to them, as opposed to forcing their workflow into a generic product.

Some highlights of the tools that RSA Conference has at their disposal are:


Allows the admin to create and edit any page on the site, either through a simple WYSIWYG editor or free-form HTML (if somebody is so inclined). Structured data, such as Upcoming Events or a list of Top Event Sponsors, can be placed within pages, making it dead-simple to incorporate data managed through another tool. This means RSA Conference administrators can make a single update to conference metadata, and have it cascade site-wide throughout all their pages.


Admins can manage all Conference meta data including Sessions, Speakers, Sponsors, and many more. As an international conference, they work with a multitude of registration vendors, so this gives them a lot of flexibility moving forward. The registration vendors can focus on the actual registration process, while RSA Conference can maintain control over how attendees and potential attendees explore the conference information, giving a much more consistent user experience and in turn solidifying their brand.


The custom CMS gives RSA Conference full control over the homepage hero element (otherwise known as the splash banner), making it a very powerful promotional tool. The RSA Conference team can make the week to week changes that they require without the need to call on a designer or developer. That said, the tool is flexible enough to give a designer plenty of leeway to make a splash if necessary.


Blogs are huge part of the new RSAConference site. With a large number of guest bloggers keeping content fresh, we created specific blog author access levels to the CMS, allowing RSA Conference fine grained control over who can post what, when, and where. The administrative area allows RSA Conference to manage drafts and versions, manage guest blogger logins, and review and approve guest blogs.

We also deployed LiveFyre LiveComments to lower the barrier to entry to participate in discussions and share content.


The RSA Conference team had a lot of content for their audience. A major goal of the site was to make it an up-to-date content repository of session videos, podcasts, and presentations to keep people coming back. We put custom tools in place to manage all of these different kinds of content, link them to their respective conference metadata, and integrate with RSA Conference’s CDN(s) of choice.


Deployment and updates

Our server team took the finished site and deployed it to a multi-server cloud setup to handle the ever-growing traffic requirements. iMarc’s code deployment system gives RSA Conference no-downtime updates.

Post-launch, with the collaboration of the RSA Conference team, we are reviewing analytics, doing performance tweaks, and continually ensuring that is the product that will work the way they desire and best represent what they do.

See you at RSA Conference!

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Learn more about iMarc’s engineering practices and standards in our Handbook, and explore some of our Open Source projects and tools at

Interested in working with the iMarc team? See current opportunities at

Missed the earlier parts of the series?

  1. Building Part 1 of 4: Strategy
  2. Building Part 2 of 4: User Testing
  3. Building Part 3 of 4: The Creative Process


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