How drupal saved the day from #acenetc

Jennifer Alexander and Bryan Mayjor from Oregon State University gave a presentation on using Drupal to manage their Websites.  Basically, they were tasked to create Websites to support three 600+ page books on pest management they had printed. Drupal helped them achieve this task.

The first thing they shared was the lessons learned:

  1. Invest in things that you will reuse.
  2. Allot time for the project and define the scope.
  3. Know where the funding is coming from. $2 from each book went back to funding the project.
  4. Takes a team to make the project happen.
  5. It takes the right technology.

The gave an entertaining presentation where participants could choose the topic that interested them.

Drupal Presentation

The first topic selected was Mobile First Approach. The presenters pointed out that they were striving for a site that would automatically adjust for different screen size. They noted that 61% leave a website not optimized for small touch screens, and 91% of higher education websites are not mobile friendly. This will become a major problem in the near future because “Google says it plans to demote Web sites in mobile search results if they don’t work properly on mobile devices.

The next area chosen for discussion was Houston We Have an Image Problem. During this portion of the presentation, Mayjor explained how they were able to import and sync thousands of images, basically, on the fly. He added that they used the Feeds module used to import images. The Feeds module can import images based on RSS feed, OPML file, or CSV file. They happened to be using a CSV file. The large scale images were uploaded and thumbnails were automatically created when imported.

The next section expounded upon was Responsive Web Design. Mayjor stressed that they wanted a site that would optimize display based on width of device. He said it was important to not reinvent the wheel. They opted for a responsive HTML 5 theme and subtheme. Mayjor mentioned four themes: Zen, Omega, Adaptive theme, and bootstrap, and mentioned that they use Adaptive Theme.

While demonstrating these different areas, Mayjor used some different tools that I found interesting. The first was an IOS Simulator, which he used to show the Website with different screen sizes. The other was called Drush; a Drupal Shell. He was able to make changes to the site using a command line shell. A useful way to manage the site.

I enjoyed the presentation because of the topic and how they arranged the presentation. While I will probably not be using Drupal, the concepts mentioned are worth keeping in mind.