• Portretfoto van Chester de Lang
    Chester de Lang

Refreshing one of the first websites on the internet: CWI.nl

Data, design and determination. The foundation of the new CWI website. This blog will give a deep dive in the realization of the recently released CWI website.

The Client

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, the research center for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands, located in Amsterdam. This institute has a rich history with lots of important news articles that have been published on the CWI website. This site was due for a refresh of look and feel.

The Design

CORPS has designed a friendly and efficient UI for the new website, which follows the CWI mentality.

CWI Frontpage
Frontpage of the CWI website

In this design we added the functionalities for profile pages, linking to different research groups, vacancies and much more.

The Migration

Last March, CWI approached us with the following question: “Four Digits has produced a lot of Plone sites, and with that a lot of knowledge has been gathered. Would it be possible to use that knowledge and migrate all of our Plone data to a Wagtail website?“.

Of course we were up for this challenge.

We tried something similar before, with a database dump, but this was a whole different challenge. The CWI website would remain running while we were writing the migration. This posed a couple of different challenges.

The Builds

The migration would suck up a lot of processing power from the Plone instance, so we needed to be careful when to start a migration.

Every night a migration would run, which would take about 2-3 hours. After the migration a post-process step would be done. All the data would be “shifted“ to the correct position in the Wagtail instance.

This was challenging at first. Every morning a message was sent to our Slack channel with the info whether the migration was successful or that it had failed somewhere along the way.

After a couple of these stressful nights, the migration was made more efficient, so that we could also run it during the day.

The API's

For the CWI website a couple of integrations were necessary, the most important ones are a LDAP platform and the so called 'people database'. In these integrations, all of the staff and research groups were defined. These groups are connected to their own page from the aforementioned migration. These pages have their own publications which were also connected from the institute repository.

All in all, these pages contain a lot of information, gathered from all the integrations.

The Programming Language

At the headquarters of CWI, Guido van Rossum has done his research for the development of the Python programming language. The development started a long time ago, but we as Four Digits are very thankful to Guido and his team that worked at CWI. We reap the benefits of his work to this day, and have fallen in love with the Python language.

Thank you

We at Four Digits want to thank CWI for the opportunity that they have provided for us with the creation of the new website. We want to thank Carl Schulz and Hans den Boer, in particular, with their help on the website.


Has this blog peaked your interest and do you perhaps have a Plone instance (or any other CMS) that needs to be migrated to Wagtail?

We would love to have a chat about the possibilities. Contact us if you are interested.

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