"Imperius" Engine

One of the greatest challenges in organizing the department's site was that each faculty member already had a unique website, which didn't look anything like the department's.

In theory the department could have mandated all faculty redesign their individual sites to conform to the department's standard templates, but this would hardly have been a productive use of faculty time, and would undoubtedly have been met with strong resistance.

Instead, I designed and implemented the "Imperius" engine. This page rendering tool could take any existing page, and (with some limitations) fit it into the standard site template — all without a single change to the page itself.

To apply Imperius to my personal site, all I'd have to do is copy a single, simple .htaccess file to my root directory. That's it!

Although the site does allow faculty to craft custom menus for their own sites, Imperius can also do this automatically. By default, it will crawl the site and construct menus that match the structure they find, using filenames and permissions to help decide how the menus are presented.

For most faculty, with sensibly organized sites, making "my site" look like "the department's site" really is as simple as downloading that one .htaccess file. Plus, since no page anywhere in the faculty member's website is changed in any way (i.e., the physical files are not altered), removing the .htaccess file will instantly restore the site to its previous state.