Exciting news on the CMS front.

34th Street Alpha
34th Street Alpha

As some may know, The Daily Pennsylvanian web staff and I have been working on using Drupal to run our website and as a replacement for College Publisher on and off since the spring. The first part of that process is now nearly done and we have a nearly complete website for our magazine 34th Street!

We made the decision to go ahead and develop and launch a site in Drupal a few weeks ago and since then have been in a somewhat hectic mode scrambling to get all the launch features ready. A great deal of thanks goes to the folks who made the New York Observer site happen and wrote up how they did it.

Now it’s on to testing and training the other editors on how to use the system and looking for places to make the site work better, and make publishing easier. We also have to write a complete set of documentation for future and current editors on how to use the system, how to modify it, how to deal with Drupal upgrades and what to do in case things go wrong. For college newspapers, a huge issue is continuity and if we were going to run our own site it was decided that we would have to do it right with plans and provisions in place to deal with continuity problems once the current staff and I leave.

This Friday, we received our archive of articles and media files from College Publisher and will be spending time importing them into the new site. It could get a little hairy, as the College Publisher data structure is quite different from Drupal’s database structure.

At the beginning of the process, there was also a conscious decision that everything we did would be open sourced and given to the community. I spent much of last night trying to bundle up our current install into a Drupal installation profile, but quickly realized that generalizing our work and packaging it is a highly non-trivial task that I don’t have a whole lot of time for right now.

We’re still committed to doing it, it’ll just be a little longer.

If you want to see the new site, are willing to provide feedback and I know who you are or someone who knows who you are, get in touch and I’ll set up an account for you so you can see the site and the inner workings.

Now, I’m off to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving! =)