May 30, 2017 by Andrew Karaptis

DrupalCon: Drupal Websites and Acquia’s Winning Features

We’ve noticed a rise in client interest in Drupal over 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Drupal’s niche is expanding with good reason.

The open source CMS market is solidifying around Drupal for use cases that require more advanced features than a standard informational or brochureware site. Here at Hedgehog we assess each client project to determine which CMS is the right fit. We have found many recent cases where Drupal was the best choice, especially for clients who wish to use an Open Source technology stack and/or LAMP web hosting to support complex enterprise-level functionalities.

Prestigious Usage Examples

Our recent trip to DrupalCon 2017 in Baltimore revealed that Drupal continues to rack up prestigious high end market uses. The recent launch of the Open Y Drupal distribution allows a large network of separate YMCA organizations to share a coherent set of features and branding while maintaining their own separate websites. Interesting case studies in Drupal usage by NBC Sports, City of Boston, Commonwealth Financial, Quicken, Fidelis Cybersecurity, Motorola, Nokia, MillerCoors, Johnson & Johnson, Weight Watchers, Xerox, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Princess Cruises reveal the multitude of different ways that Drupal unlocks power features for power users.

Hedgehog’s recent redesign and relaunch for Boston Review leveraged this power. We took advantage of Drupal’s architecture to give editors much deeper control over how content is featured and promoted while establishing a bold new digital presence. Drupal’s Views and templating systems allowed us to reuse modular components in an efficient way throughout the site.

For Catholic Health Services of Long Island we’re using Drupal to overcome different challenges. First, Drupal’s Domain Access module allows CHSLI to run a network of 12 completely separate sites out of a single unified Drupal installation and admin. This allows easy sharing and reusing of content across sites with plans to add more sites soon. Second, we’re in the process of using Drupal’s hierarchical theming system to provide a new modern design across all of the sites in this network, allowing for unique aesthetic touches on individual properties while sharing the same components and functionality across sites. Finally, Drupal shines when custom data comes into play and that is exactly what’s needed to import physician data from 3rd party sources within this hospital system and leverage that data for an improved Doctor Finder tool that we have in progress.

Acquia’s Winning Features

Acquia, the premiere enterprise-level hosting platform for Drupal, rose fast to leadership status in the 2016 Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report and Q1 2017 Forrester Wave™ report for Web Content Management Systems. Hedgehog is an Acquia Partner and we’ve seen how Acquia’s devops tools can speed up development cycles by making deployments and environment spin-ups easier. Acquia Platform services are also best-in-class, with Acquia Lift representing the most powerful way to add personalization on Drupal sites, allowing website owners to deliver the most relevant content possible at just the right moment to each visitor. We love leveraging platforms like Acquia to deliver results for our clients.

Ambitious Websites

The Drupal community has taken to using the term “Ambitious Websites” to describe what Drupal can do in comparison to other well-known platforms like WordPress and Joomla. Sure, you can scale something like WordPress to serve a great-looking presentational website with high traffic, but once you get ambitious with lots of custom content types, custom content fields, advanced interactive functionality, complex content workflows, need for robust internationalization, etc. WordPress presents some roadblocks since it doesn’t support that stuff out of the box in WordPress core. Drupal specializes in these more ambitious feature sets, with more advanced functionality out of the box. We’re excited about where Drupal is heading as a platform and how we can use it to unlock power for our clients and their content.

If you have lofty goals for your upcoming web project, drop us a line because we’d love to make those ambitions a reality.

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