In early April, VCU Technology Services and University Relations launched the pilot phase of Compass, the university web framework.

As we outlined in a previous post, starting off in a pilot phase gives us the opportunity to:

  • Test and debug
  • Get feedback
  • Create documentation
  • Develop a solid launch plan

The first version of Compass will be available to everyone in the VCU web community upon release, which is targeted for July 2020.

Which sites are being developed during the pilot phase?

While there were several units that requested to be considered for our pilot phase, the Compass team decided to do our pilot phase migrations on sites managed by either Tech Services or University Relations. These include:

By doing the initial testing and quality assurance review on sites we manage, we can limit any risk to other units (i.e., we can debug without causing issues on live content). This allows us to deliver a vetted framework to the university in July. 

Additionally, we plan to partner closely with a few units this summer (July-Sept) to coordinate their site migration or redesign in a more hands-on way. If you’d like to be considered for a summer 2020 partnership, email   

How has COVID-19 affected the Compass timeline?

Fortunately, VCU’s transition to a remote working environment in response to COVID-19 has not slowed down our progress. We are still on track to meet our planned July 2020 release and other important benchmarks. 

I need to develop and launch a site before Compass is available to the entire university. What can I do now to make it easier to transition my site to Compass in the future?

To ease the migration to Compass in T4, we recommend using the Katmai templates and Plugins System. 

The Katmai to Compass migration will be the most straightforward, since Compass is being developed to have a similar capacity. Just like the Katmai templates, the Compass framework will utilize the Plugins for all body content and provide a limited list of content types and page layout for surrounding structure, such as the header, navigation, side-bar, footer, etc.

If you have questions or need assistance, Technology Services is offering remote T4 consulting sessions twice weekly. You can see the upcoming times and get links to the online Zoom meeting rooms at

Categories Pilot phase