New Europe is a European Political Newspaper, with 19 years of history, that publishes and debates everything about EU politics and European issues. Striving to develop and create a unified content platform, that aims to give everyone the option to express their opinion.
THE NEED FOR A NEW WEBSITE
It’s widely known that every newspaper possess various content, a fact that makes it hard to find a solid platform that can optimally create and promote that content. The need for the users to search the content they are seeking for as fast as possible, the “urgent” demand for editors to create any type of content from anywhere in real-time, and the requirement to create as many and as complex layouts as possible in limited time, were our major goals while developing New Europe’s site. Secondary goals were a mobile version, multi-translation and the need to build a content workflow that would help the editors create and share their content.
We chose to build New Europe’s new platform on a scratch new Drupal 7 installation, for two main reasons. Firstly, the need for managing the content in every possible way using View Modes and Panels accordingly and then the ongoing support for bleeding edge technologies like redis. Based on Panels we created a user-friendly UI for page & ad management, but we also restructured the node add/edit forms to increase editors’ productivity by improving their User Experience. Employing a “View Mode” approach we created reusable content across the site, letting the Content Manager to decide how and where to place it. Instead of allowing editors to insert images or videos by using Drupal’s default modules, we chose to leverage the Media module, in order to provide the option to access different media from various third-party sources in a unified field. Searching the content is handled by using Apache Solr indexes, because they provide scalability and performance benefits over the default core database search. Facet API is used to specify search results for users. In addition, the Feeds mechanism has been used to aggregate content from various global sources, so as for New Europe’s editors are able to transform it manually. While building the environment, we also needed to transfer a considerable amount of data, about 120K nodes, plus files & photos, from a previous Drupal 6. Migrating the data has been preferred, instead of upgrading the website, because new business logic and approaches have been integrated into the new platform. By manipulating the data on our own, we managed to resolve any integrity issues (like stub references) and exclude duplicate content, resulting in inserting the data according to our future plans.
Our approach to building New Europe’s new platform related to figuring out ways to solve existing problems and create room for future growth, but ultimately to give editors the incentives to increase their writing value.