Modx is a Content Management System (CMS). Content Management Systems do just that: they manage content.
Why Linfield has moved to a CMS to manage web content requires a short history lesson.
Back in the 1990's Linfield's website was a collection of html files on the web server. Departments had personel trained in basic html to create and edit those pages in programs like Dreamweaver or Front Page. These programs used FTP to upload and download files to the web server. Authors had complete access to the web pages and there were few graphic standards. Authors were free to design their pages to meet their aesthetics. You liked pink? You had the power! These were the golden years before Linfield hired someone to get the whole mess in order.
By 2002, much of the web content was stored in databases and was pushed to web pages using dynamic scripting languages like php or asp. These languages required programming skill beyond what could be expected from most content editors. At the same time, security concerns compelled Linfield to move from FTP to WebDav and to shut down off campus access to the web server. This reduced access to the content and reduced the number of applications that could publish content to our server.
By 2006, changes in how web content is delivered (dynamic scripting languages and CSS for presentational information) meant that web pages were too complex for end users to edit directly. To help departments manage their most frequently edited content, we built some web applications that let users manage some of their content. Those of you who used the old file upload tool or link manager were using one of those tools. Most of the text content in department pages was edited by the Webmaster.
By 2008, the Webmaster, fearing for his sanity, began testing open source Content Management Systems. We settled on Modx for it's logical, flexible templating model, ability to exist along side our current site, and it's user-friendly editing interface. By Fall of 2008 we had several departments using it in trials. By the end of 2009 most of the Mac campus site and all of Portland and DCE were running out of Modx.
The primary advantages are:
Modx uses templates as the framework for web content. The templates are created by the Webmaster and define link menus, graphics, what the page looks like. Modx then uses a content editor to allow users to add content - text, images, files - to a web page, the content of the page. Modx provides directory level security so the owner of content in one directory cannot edit the content in another.
Contact the Webmaster who will schedule a 30 minute session to set up your user account in Modx and go over the content editing tools.