Drupal is a very strong Content Management System with a wide range of applications. For iDelft B.V. (and for many other companies) Drupal has become the standard system for building websites. We are operating an increasing number of Drupal systems. As a result, we are encountered a few problems that required a solution.
Common problems are as following:
- It takes a lot of effort to keep all Drupal core installations up-to-date.
- Drupal modules need to be managed on all installations seperately (for example when a security update needs to be done).
- It is difficult to manage all the Drupal and module code (even with GitHub).
- Setting up and tuning a new Drupal website takes time; for each website again and again while the procedure is (almost) the same.
Our preferred solution to these problems doesn't need any paid licences. Everybody can use the concept. In short, it involves a standard, clean Drupal website with the most commonly used modules enabled: This is a Standard Drupal Configuration (SDC). Which modules are includes in the SDC strongly depend on the customer. Government websites are based on the Government Branding Theme, Commercial websites often feature an ordering portal, etc.
With Drupal, it is possible to set up a so-called Multi-site environment. This means that multiple websites are running in a single Drupal installation. Within this installation, Drupal modules can be shared across the entire multi-site environment, but there can also be site-specifiek modules. The SDC is set as default website. All modules in the SDC can be shared across the entire multi-site environment so that all sites can use them.
By using Drush and bash scripts we are able to semi-automatically create one ore more websites, based on the default website (the SDC). The new websites get their own databases, but they keep on using the same codebase in the multi-site environment. In this way, we can save time because we quickly launch a new website and directly focus on the site-specific content of the website.
There are a lot of advantages:
- It is now very easy to update the Drupal core and modules. This only has to be done at one place for all sites together.
- We can create new websites very fast. It's no longer needed to install Drupal and all commonly used modules.
- It is still possible to provide each website with its own theme, content and specific modules.
- The management and hosting of the Drupal websites becomes a lot more transparent.
- Your Git repository will mainly store the SDC code. Specific modules can be maintained in seperate modules (and charged accordingly!)
- It is not necessary anymore to duplicate Drupal core and module code which makes the management much easier.
Obviously, this approach works particularly well if the sites in a multi-site environment have a similar load.
iDelft fully implemented a SDC as an internally-funded effort. Interested? Contact our office in Delft.