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Project brief

Jisc had just been handed their new site (jisc.ac.uk) which had been developed by an external agency. It was clear to project managers at Jisc that the architecture and quality of engineering were sub-standard and many parts required fixing and extending to bring them up to the required standard. City Web Consultants was tasked with assessing the current state of the site from the high-level architecture to the low-level coding implementations, and then to implement the necessary fixes and extensions.

We have since been engaged with Jisc to maintain/extend their main site on a daily basis.

Analysis

After assessing the website that had been delivered, it was clear from the outset that the website had not been built to Drupal standards. There were many architectural design decisions and implementations that were highly inefficient, insecure and difficult to maintain and extend. It lacked a clear understanding of how Drupal core, contributed modules and themes should work together harmoniously to achieve complex functionality with simple implementation.

Implementation

Jisc site

Working closely with the team at Jisc, we outlined all the areas that required attention and systematically re-implemented large amounts of functionality to bring it up to the required standard. At this point, the site became stable and has allowed all further implementations to progress at a quicker pace as the code base is now a lot more maintainable. To this date we are still working closely with Jisc to maintain their site and provide assistance where ever we can.

Conclusion

This certainly wasn't the first time City Web Consultants had inherited a site that required re-developing to a high degree. Building a Drupal site can be both a blessing and a curse as it can allow you to build hugely complex and flexible sites. However, the flexibility in the framework also allows developers to build hugely unstable sites. This is why you must be careful to choose the best development team from the very beginning.

Client feedback

Adam [CWC] worked for me as Development Consultant whilst I was at Jisc. He is an excellent leader with some of the best technical skills around. No task was too big or small and he has that unique ability to identify technical issues and know how to solve them.

Whilst working with CWC, I was always amazed at their ability and attitude to solve complex problems or learn something new. Most certainly one of those rare talents that we don't come across to often.

Adam also has the ability to set a vision and know how to deliver it, again something that these days is all to rare.

-- R. Collyer, Head of Digital

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