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2018 Excellence Awards Entry: Automated Community Content Migration
Name: Matt DeSimone
Title: Community Content Engineer
Overview of Use Case
There’s an awful lot that goes into good web design. Hunting down appealing, and engaging, assets for branding a site; organizing them just right and scripting the logic to make easy interactions and navigations for your users – this is hardly just the beginning! What really ends up driving the user interactions a website will see in its lifetime, however, lays a little deeper than the immediate outward appearance of the design: content. People return to YouTube for the cute cat videos, the same as people go to Yelp for snarky reviews, or people return to https://community.alteryx.com/ for the unabridged genius of an entire Community of Alteryx analysts from areas and expertise around the globe.
Recently, we found ourselves in a tough situation of wanting to wholly restructure and redesign our website for a new brand but realized that changing the underlying infrastructure of the website would mean reorganizing, moving, and reclassifying almost all our content. For most websites or communities, good tools do not exist to migrate large quantities of content across new interaction styles or boards and folks with my job might spend weeks manually moving content after an upgrade like this. Luckily, we had Alteryx.
Describe the business challenge or problem you needed to solve:
Having accumulated years of content residing in several specific areas of our Community – knowledgebase articles, discussions, and product ideas - we needed a streamlined approach for migrating it to the new areas of the redesigned Community without having to manually sort up to 15,000 threads and their replies. Here on the Alteryx Community we take our content and its value to our users seriously, so this had to be done as precisely as possible without corrupting or misclassifying any threads. Since this isn’t something human error normally lends itself to, we opted for the route of automation using Alteryx and the APIs of our Community platform vendor, Lithium.
Describe your working solution:
In essence, we performed the same process to the three categories of content mentioned above (knowledgebase articles, discussions, and product ideas): extract all of our existing threads from the Lithium API in the boards they currently reside, sort them into their new boards, standardize any thread labels to that of their target board, and then package this information up to send it to the Lithium API, in syntax, to first move a thread to its target board and then “edit” it to update its labels where necessary. This was all performed in Alteryx and the workflow that automated this process for us can be visualized in its entirety below:
Describe the benefits you have achieved:
In addition to the countless man-hours saved from not having to audit and move each thread by hand, performing our content migration specifically in Alteryx simplified the process for us by:
• Collecting data for our Community directly from Lithium’s web services to easily manipulate in the Designer. • Ensuring perfect accuracy in the logical sorting of threads, en masse, such that no content ended up in the wrong place – which would otherwise cause pain points for end users. • Automating the creation of close to 15,000 API requests to serve to the Lithium API to perform the bulk of the work - with just a few tools. • Allowing us to establish the process and logic of the migration far in advance, and execute with a simple click at the time of upgrade. While this might not seem groundbreaking, versioning a website is extremely labor intensive and requires heavy QA at the time of release – having Alteryx run in the background to move all our content while we were focused on bigger things was a game changer.