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TAMU Webmaster's Blog

Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters


Final Post

This will be our final post.  The site has had a great run.  At its height we had grown beyond a local campus resource and were getting viewership and comments from across the country.   Some of our posts broke new ground and were even ahead of those who literally wrote the book on a given topic.  Our team has not had the ability to keep fresh content coming, though, and we all know (and analytics confirms) that without fresh content viewership drops to almost nothing.

Any future announcements will most likely be made through the GoWeb mailing list.

Thank you for your support through the years that we have been online.

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

EDUCAUSE 2017 Presentation

During one of our conversations with Modo Labs – our mobile app vendor – they mentioned that the analytics for our push notifications stood out “A LOT” from their other clients, and suggested that we turn this into a case study.  After we talked further about our emergency communications process they invited us to co-present at the EDUCAUSE conference in October.

The presentation turned into a great opportunity for us to collaborate and support one another.  Eric Kim, co-founder and VP for Design, started off with a discussion of where the industry is and the growing trend of push notifications being the communication of choice.  That transitioned into my description of how we used push notifications as part of our emergency communication during Hurricane Harvey.

I have posted the presentation slides on Slideshare for anyone who would like to look further.

Monday, November 13th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Google Post

Posting on Google is a new way to share relevant, fresh content with the people who are searching for you. Use images and add links to drive traffic to specific content.

  • Announce new promotions or daily specials.
  • Promote visibility of new and upcoming events.
  • Highlight some of your newest products or best-sellers.
  • Take reservations, attract signups for a newsletter, or sell a product directly.

When you create your Post, you’ll have several options, and you can use any or all of them to complete your post. You can add an image, a title, and up to 300 words of text describing the post. You can also add a call-to-action button from a range of different options, including “learn more,” “reserve,” “buy,” “sign up,” or “get offer.”.

If you would like a consultation please email

Monday, November 6th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Move In Day

We are excited to have Res Life Move-In Day on the app again. It was even better than last year with more hits. Using CampusBird to display parking locations, drop-off zones, and dorms. Giving users useful tips and hints on the landing page.

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 Mobile App, Uncategorized No Comments

Using GTM to block test and dev sites

I would guess that few of us remove our Google Analytics or Tag Manager calls from our site code when it is on a test or development server.  Depending on your setup, this could mean that hits to these environments increment (and distort) the analytics for your production sites.  A simple use of a blocking exception can prevent this.

This process is even simpler than previous examples since we don’t have to use a GA variable at all. Here, we just set up a blocking trigger that fires when the page hostname contains “test” or “dev” or whatever string you use to differentiate your test environment from production.   Then add this trigger as an exception on your site’s tag and none of your test/development sites will add to your analytics count.

Monday, August 28th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

New Student Conference 2017

New Student Conferences (NSC) app welcomes new students and family members to Aggieland. This is the first year NSC was included in the TAMU app and also the first time we have used the Modo Labs Agenda Module. The Agenda Module lets us import events from a single Google Spreadsheet CSV file. This specialized calendar for NSC is for multi-day events, with support for multiple tracks and personalized user schedules. We look forward to helping users and events like NSC with the TAMU app in the future.

Monday, June 5th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Why we need Solr?

Apache Solr is a java based open source enterprise search platform. Many of web applications have some form of text searching. Given the fact that most applications are based on MySQL, the normal approach is to use some sort of SQL ‘LIKE’ query.

So, why we need Solr?

  • Performance: Solr is faster than using MySQL comparison, it achieves fast search responses because, it searches an inverted index not the text directly.
  • Scalability: Sorl can be setup on different sever from web/database server. Which allow search functionally to scale independently from your web/database servers.
  • Smart Searching: Solr has the ability to handle spell check and correction, auto suggest, results highlighting, similar key word suggestions, facet navigations, synonym search results, and much more.

Apache Solr is proven in terms of search engine, it has all the core features to perform any type of search functionality. Solr has been widely adopted, also it has a large community of supporters. For more information about Solr, please check


Thursday, May 18th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Tech Summit 2017

Had a great time at the TAMU Tech Summit this week in Galveston. It was my first time attending, and I have to say I was pretty impressed overall with the tracks and the level of expertise gathered. There were some really good keynote speeches, and I finally got to meet a number of people I had only known by name before. Personally, I’d like to see at little more in the system administration or networking areas, but that just means there are areas of opportunity to grow in the future.

Thanks to all our leaders on campus who worked to facilitate and make this possible.

Friday, February 24th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Campus Analytics Team Revisited

After losing Chase Friedman as the leader of our GoWeb Analytics Special Interest Group, we have rebooted the group and are starting fresh.  We have now met twice and plan to be more active than we have for the last several months.

The goals we have set for the team are:

  • Learn analytics ourselves so that we can be a local resource
  • Create a plan to get a central tracking code on top-level university sites
  • Survey university units to determine their needs
  • Create a local documentation hub that web professionals on campus can reference
  • Set up training and consulting opportunities so that the team can share what we learn with the rest of campus.

Obviously there are many sub-points to each of these, but this gives you an idea of the direction we are going.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Let me introduce myself

Howdy, my name is Joseph Prather.

I previously worked for Texas A&M as an independent consultant for the Department of Information Technology (DOIT), Division of Student Affairs, for over a year. In 2015, I became a full time staff member of the DOIT team as a Senior Software Applications Developer.

I am thrilled to be the new Web and Information designer for the Marketing and Communications(Marcomm) team. My job will be a combination of web developing and marketing strategies. I will be taking over the day to day operations of Google Business products, as well as Maps and Google Analytics.

My goals involve using my experience as a web developer to lead the efforts in creating a more coherent environment for Content Management Systems (CMS) used at TexasA&M. To achieve this goal, I plan to aid in providing additional centralized resources for widely used CMS, such as Cascade and WordPress. This strategy combined with marketing tools and better practices, will result in a more coherent experience for the end users of the Texas A&M University brand.

I look forward to contribute in upholding Marcomm as the premiere resource/leader for those under the TAMU brand.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments