For the most part, the issues that led Duo to pursue a new content management system were not problems so much as areas that could be better. There were exceptions to this, of course: the site’s search function had long been lacking, and the custom CMS-Contribute hybrid did not lend itself well to many types of enhancements or easy updates. It also lacked a larger community and support system. The self-contained, tailored nature of the “Duo CMS” was not inherently bad or ineffective, but it did not offer many of the benefits which had become increasingly important to Duo as a company.
Duo decided to transition to Acquia Drupal, a packaged version of the open source Drupal social publishing system. Already the choice of several clients
(Illinois Humanities Council, Lake County Education, LaGrange Elementary School District 102) Duo was familiar with Drupal’s many interactive features and community-based publishing aspects. The latter benefit coincided with Duo’s desire to expand further into social media, increasing the flexibility of the site’s blog and leaving the door open for the creation of forums, networking groups, and more.
Because of Drupal’s variety of hooks and overrides, fine-tuning a template became relatively simple. This feature made expanding the “Partners” and “People” sections a straightforward task, and removed many complications from other sections as well. Finally equipped with a true internal site wide search, Duo no longer had to rely on spiders to crawl for content. Consolidating the site under one platform allowed for quick template creation and editing, a vast improvement over the previous static HTML.
Drupal unified the Duo site under one CMS banner, which benefits both viewers and administrators: many of the improvements (search, easy page creation and navigation) make for a better user experience, even when controlled entirely from the backend. The new level of flexibility was achieved using the Acquia core, and common modules such as Views, Panels, and Blog. Though not completely “out of the box”, migrating content required few coding or design acrobatics. A mostly straightforward process with a host of advantages, bringing the Duo web site over to Drupal created a solid technological base and a starting point, permanently opening an expanding set of possibilities.