Dixonvalve.com Part 1: In the Beginning, there was Drupal

A Drupal website project dixonvalve.com  I’ve worked on in my tenure at Mindgrub Technologies has been nominated for a Drupal Blue Drop Award.  This is a nice opportunity to reflect on the Dixon project and the technical and project management lessons learned over the course of the project.

In the beginning…

When we started the Dixon project, we had three main goals for the project:

1)      Sell products

2)      Unify the Dixon brand

3)      Increase efficiency within the Dixon marketing team

We’ve kept these goals in mind throughout the Dixon project, but each of our major releases has really focused on one aspect.  In this series of posts, I’ll explore the choices made in our planning phases, project management approach, and challenges faced in each phase of development.

Let’s start near the beginning.  We have a client.  We have high-level goals.  We have user stories and paper wireframes (you’ll just have to trust me on that one for now…).  Let’s start building this – but how should we build it?

Choosing Drupal

We decided on Drupal in our user experience phase, and we looked at how it met each of our goals:

1)      Selling products – Drupal had existing modules that met the ecommerce drive of the site (though these are heavily customized in our implementation on the site). Proven functionality for creating user accounts and the checkout experience already existed within the Drupal community.

2)      Unifying the Dixon brand – Dixon has many divisions and an international presence. Using Drupal, we could create a series of custom templates for Dixon that tied their existing content together in a singular, branded way.

3)      Increasing efficiency for the Dixon marketing team – Dixon’s previous site was a custom solution.  By moving them to a content management system like Drupal, we could not only offer them more functionality on the site, but also give them the ability to maintain the site with an easy-to-use interface.

Perfect – we know our technology, from a high-level business case.  What about from a more technical perspective?  How are we actually architecting this thing?  For that, stay tuned for tech lead Brian Thompson’s version of our origin story…

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