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Drupal technology leveraged for Sprawiedliwi.org.pl portal gives an opportunity to display almost 1,000 stories of rescue with the use of modern mass media

Key takeaways:

  • Modern portals (both visually and technologically) deployed with emphasis on easy accessibility for users and good usability
  • Increased portal management efficiency for Editors and Administrators of the Museum due to using Drupal technology
  • Customizing portals for mobile devices by using Responsive Web Design based on Twitter Bootstrap library
  • Data integration between portals with migration of complete data sets of the previous versions
  • Providing an efficient solution for exchanging data between designed portals and other websites

Profile:

Industry: Public
Location: Poland

Technologies

Drupal 7, PHP 5.5, PostgreSQL 9.3, Vagrant, Ansible

Flexibility and quality oriented team of BlueSoft’s specialists allowed us to launch innovative portal Polish Righteous. Competency and good relationship with BlueSoft will surely lead us to successful implementation of next project phase.

Karol Wasiowski, Main Business Application Development Specialist

Challenge:

What posed the main challenge was the choice of an appropriate content management system (CMS) which was supposed to enable implementing solutions meeting client demands which are unusual for the systems, while at the same time ensuring simplicity of use by editorial staff who are not technologically savvy. The system architecture was to be designed so as to enable storing complex and interconnected data.

Another challenge was integration and data exchange between the portals and other websites, e.g. the Central Judaica Database.

The Museum wishes its portals’ content to reach as wide an audience as possible, which is why the designed solution had to be adjusted both to being displayed on large monitors and small mobile devices (RWD).

What was also a major challenge was the necessity to migrate data from the old portal to the new data structures while the Museum’s editorial staff were working with the old version. Editorial work, for instance adding articles or organizing data, lasted until the new version was deployed. Therefore, what was necessary was finding a solution enabling completing the entire migration process flawlessly and as quickly as possible. The following content was migrated:

  • nearly 150 000 articles,
  • nearly 100 000 images,
  • more than 1000 audio recordings,
  • more than 1000 films.

Solution

In-depth analysis of popular CMS-class systems, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, revealed that Drupal 7 would be the optimal tool to best meet the client’s expectations. The tool is available with a GNU GPL licence and it was expanded with nearly 200 modules, 17 of which were created from scratch by the project team and 10 required expansion or modification. Moreover, nearly 40 features were created.

Migrating the existing and introducing a number of new functionalities meant handling compatibility issues between particular Drupal modules, which proved to be the biggest challenge the project posed.

In answer to the increasing use of mobile devices, a graphic design was created which included layouts of the new portal versions, taking into account the current usability standards. The portals were customized for mobile devices by using Responsive Web Design based on Twitter Bootstrap library.

Scripts which automate migration to the new structures were created for the purposes of migrating data from the old versions of the portal. Owing to this, data migration may be done at any time with minimum effort on the part of the programmer / deployment specialist.

The portal building process was automated. This helped eliminate manual system configuration and, thus, the risk of overlooking one of the deployment actions was eradicated. This significantly shortened and simplified the entire process of deploying the new version of the system.

While working on the project, much attention was paid to portal security. The server infrastructure was designed based on three layers which differed in terms of security levels and data access. Owing to this, network traffic and service visibility between the layers were reduced to minimum, which at the same time prevents hacking and data theft. Moreover, the adopted infrastructure division will significantly simplify adding new servers if the portal grows and it is necessary to meet higher efficiency criteria.

Result

Because of close cooperation with the client, we created a clear vision of the portal by redefining often conflicting demands, reconciling many points of view and overcoming habits related to using the previous content management system, which was unique, dedicated and tailor made for this client.  We successfully deployed a modernized version of the Polscy Sprawiedliwi website (www.sprawiedliwi.org.pl), while we are currently working on the second portal. 

The Polscy Sprawiedliwi portal gained new artwork and architecture.  Also updated were the social elements – the new functionalities included, first and foremost, advanced searches, owing to which the collection of nearly 1000 stories may be searched by categories, e.g. surnames of the Just and the Saved, their dates and places of birth and death, as well as places where Jews were helped and the type of help they received.

“The Portal we present today is not just new artwork, but first and foremost – new functionalities.  It is an advanced search engine, owing to which the collection of nearly 1000 stories may be searched by categories, e.g. surnames of the Just and the Saved, their dates and places of birth and death, as well as places where Jews were helped and the type of help they received.”

“Our stories have been told at the POLIN Museum for a long time and they will continue to be told.  We are pleased that they are presented using modern broadcasting methods.”

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