The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog
A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.
Drupal’s the Best for Field VersatilityMarch 20, 2013 / Rick Bjarnason
In today’s world, businesses and their websites go together like a monkey and a banana – when you see one, you just sort of expect it to have the other. When a business chooses the wrong style of website, it can kind of be like seeing a monkey with a carrot. Sure, it still makes sense and meets the basic nutritional requirements, but who are we kidding? It just doesn’t look right!
Robert Mitchell of ComputerWorld.com recently wrote an in-depth article about how companies determine which content management system (CMS) to use. In that article is the story of Integrated Devices Technology (IDT), and how Drupal features made a perfect match for their website needs.
Mitchell writes that IDT’s technical representative Andrew Luchsinger was looking for a customizable and searchable platform to give his customers a better user experience, “IDT’s product portfolio includes more than 25,000 integrated circuits and other electronic components, each offered in dozens of variations based on the electrical specifications each customer requires. Luchsinger wanted a tool that would let people easily search, filter, and display the configurations they needed — something they couldn’t do easily in the firm’s homegrown ColdFusion implementation. The new ‘parametric’ search tool needed to be custom built, and the project required building many custom content types in order to manage everything.”
Because Drupal supports the creation of multiple content types, each with hundreds of attributes, or fields, IDT’s web development company steered them towards a match. According to the developer, “The flexibility over how those fields are organized and presented to the user, both in how the data is input and how it’s displayed, are the heart of Drupal’s power… Drupal does not limit you in terms of how you can capture, organize and present data for a wide range of applications.”
This capability was balanced by the ability of IDT’s developers to customize the interface so that non-technical staff members could help administer the site. Mitchell’s article says, “Ease of use was a big deal for Luchsinger. He wanted the new site to be easy for everyone — especially nontechnical people — who needed to administer the site, even when they were editing complex data structures. That was a tall order, given that ease of use is one area where Drupal hasn’t exactly been considered a leader.”
“Coming into Drupal cold, the user interface can be overwhelming,” [said the Developer]. To address this issue, IDT had [its Developer] customize the interface. “We’ve been able to do much of this by hiding areas of the interface that aren’t required for our users and by altering other forms to reduce confusion,” [the Developer] says. The power of Drupal lies in its flexibility, he adds: Everything can be extended and customized, right down to the look and organization of the administration user interface.
Drupal customization was the right banana for IDT because of its field versatility, customizable nature, and open source system (no extra software licensing fees). What reasons do you have for choosing your CMS, and how well is suiting those needs?