University of Applied Sciences is a German educational establishment with over 9,500 students and 150 professors. The university’s website serves as a hub for marketing and press content, a research database, and an internal workspace (intranet) for editors and administrators.
Attico International faced several challenges while developing the University’s website. One of the challenges was to implement complex access management that would allow the staff to control the publications produced by various departments, institutes, and faculties with hundreds of people working on the site’s content. Another challenge was to manage images uploaded directly by users, which had different resolutions and sizes across multiple form-factors.
The goals of the project were as follows:
“Building with Emulsify felt like a half-headless approach that gives freedom to Frontend developers and lets us write clean code. The atomic design makes elements consistent and easy to maintain. It was a nice project with Storybook and I really loved it. Happy to see the result of our work and to be part of this project.” — Volha Tsiamliak, Lead Frontend Developer
“Though I worked with a solution for the university for the first time, at this point migration from Drupal 7 to 9 is almost a ‘daily routine’ within our company so all of us knew what to do and just did the job. We used the waterfall methodology with some agile practices, which helped us stay in touch and keep everyone aware of the progress. That was our first big project with Taikonauten, it was the basis for our further cooperation where we assembled the initial team and set up all the workflows.” — Denis Suharevich, Project Manager
To overcome these challenges, our experts implemented various modules and integrations. The Group module was chosen to create arbitrary collections of content and users on the site and grant access control permissions based on those collections. A component-based approach integrated with Storybook was used to implement the frontend and a theme processor was created to minimize the number of actions on the backend. Attico International also used the Resizer tool to streamline the processing of images for various devices. A centralized library was also created to manage application deadlines, which made it faster to change the value of a field for one or more nodes.
Groups Module: The Groups module allows the university to distribute access permissions. With more than 50 different departments, each with its own department page, employees gain tailored access to editing and adding materials with the help of this module. Within each department, a hierarchy of employees is established, and different roles, such as "Assistant," "Editor," and "Administrator," with specific permissions are allocated within a group. This feature greatly simplifies the process of controlling publications for different structures.
Theme Processor: Storybook which was used as a development environment for the frontend allows us to develop and test UI components in isolation from the site’s business logic. Then components are combined into larger elements and site pages. Theme Processor serves as a unique bridge between development units, enabling developers to specify which Storybook particle they want to use in a certain spot on the website and pass the data to the frontend. This feature greatly simplifies the development and integration of the frontend for Drupal.
Resizer: this feature addresses the issue of processing tons of images that are uploaded to the site directly by users. With Image Styles, Drupal’s tool that allows you to change the image according to the required parameters, developers are faced with the challenge of creating a large number of image styles for Retina monitors used by Macs, tablets, and small cell phone screens. To solve this problem, a smart tool was created that can independently make the necessary actions depending on the parameters to be transferred and give the correct picture size for each block. This feature is especially important given the ever-increasing use of mobile devices to view the site where the connection can be unstable.
Centralized Library for Application Deadlines: A page for editors where they can both change or delete the field value of the Application period for Degree Programs Content Type in both languages was created. This feature allows editors to change the value of a certain field often much faster by doing it on one page rather than opening each node separately. The functionality is especially useful given the number of departments and nodes on the site.
Integrations: The university has implemented several integrations, including:
Main Contrib Modules: The university website also uses several main contrib modules, including Content Moderation, Workflows, Simple Menu Permissions, Group, Group Node, Scheduler, Media, and Paragraphs & Paragraphs Browser. These modules provide various functionalities, such as adding moderation states for content, creating workflows with transitions between different states, defining permissions for each menu, enabling group functionality for the Node module, allowing publishing and canceling publishing content automatically, creating a reusable and structured library of images.
The use of Storybook and Theme Processor greatly simplified the development and integration of the frontend for Drupal.
The Resizer tool eliminated the need to create hundreds of different image styles, which improved the developer experience.
Attico International delivered the university’s website that caters to the needs of various departments, institutes, and faculties. The implementation of various modules and integrations has made it easier to manage publications, images, and application deadlines. The centralized library has also made it faster to change the value of a field for one or more nodes, reducing the time and effort required to manage the website. The integration of third-party platforms has also improved the user experience and made it easier to access various publications and podcasts.
"We appreciate their expertise and hard work and look forward to working with Attico International’s team.
The website of our university is an essential part of our communication and outreach efforts. We needed a reliable partner to help us improve our Drupal backend functionality, and Attico International delivered. The new features and integrations they implemented have made our website more efficient, user-friendly, and streamlined. We appreciate their expertise and hard work and look forward to working with Attico International’s team.” — the Client’s Representative
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