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Comic-Con International

Award Category 
Drupal Version 
This website looks great on mobile devices!
Brief Overview 

San Diego Comic-Con International is a multi-genre convention held annually in San Diego, filling the San Diego Convention Center with over 130,000 attendees. With a massive fan-base, their website needs to lightweight without compromising design and usability.

The Comic-Con website is an excellent example of a basic Drupal build-out that focuses on high-quality content delivery, easy content management and responsive functionality for on-the-go Comic-Con fans. Even with five distinct sections, the site uses relatively few modules and is built for growth.

Launch or Publication Date 
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Comic-Con International Website
Why these Modules, Theme, and Distribution were Chosen 

Maximizing the functionality of relatively few tried-and-true modules while containing five distinct subsections is one of the greatest achievements of the Comic-Con site.  

To serve up contextual information, make navigation on the front and backend easy and split the website into show-specific subsections the team used established Drupal best-practices and modules like Views, Taxonomy, Menu, and Context.

In order for the website to mirror the visual appeal and image-heavy nature of Comic-Con’s print publications, the display of images and slideshows was key. Client-side adaptive image, Image, Flex Slider Views Slideshow and Colorbox were implemented, along with custom work to display long photo captions.  

While Comic-Con was already a high-traffic site by means of a large fan-base, special attention was given to building a site that ranks at the top of comic-related searches, using Meta Tags, Redirect, Google Analytics, XML Sitemap and Pathauto.

Omega was chosen as a base theme because of its potential for adaptability to the responsive theming Comic-Con International wanted.  The custom-built responsive theme ensures optimal display on all devices, with a focus on dynamic resizing of images and ease of navigation.

A key feature of this site is a custom workflow solution based on Revisioning, Revisioning Scheduler, Cache Expiration, Purge and a custom Uncacher module. It documents past versions of nodes, allows scheduling of when revisions publish and ensures that published pages are immediately made visible to users, despite extensive caching in Drupal itself and a Varnish reverse proxy front-end. Most importantly, though the workflow is robust, the management of it is simple.

The new website features include:

  • SOLR Search
  • Revisioning and Scheduling of Publications
  • Social Media Integration
  • Feeds to bring in external data
  • SEO
  • File Management
  • Contextual Menus
  • Easy Navigation on Front and Backend
  • Photo Galleries, Slideshows
  • Online Form Submission
  • Server Performance Optimization to handle highly variable traffic loads and irregular web activity
Owner's Name 
Comic-Con International
Development Company 
Sage Tree Solutions
Sage Tree Solutions crafts high-quality, strategy-driven, scalable, responsive Drupal websites for higher education, nonprofits, and ecommerce companies. Our in-house team launches Drupal websites from our office in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. Our four areas of specialty are Consulting (business analysis, discovery, training), Drupal Engineering (audits, development, design, responsive theming, custom module development), DevOps (performance, scaling, deployment, maintenance), and Production Management (professional oversight on timeline, sprints, budget and communication). Call us at 866-728-9100 or visit our website and we'll take care of your Drupal needs.
Why Drupal Was Chosen 
Comic-Con chose Drupal for its flexibility and robust content management features. With all stakeholders -fans, guests, attendees, volunteers, board members, artists, sponsors, press and award winners, to name a few- interested in the three shows they put on, visitors to the site need to be able to find relevant information quickly on all types of devices. They handle a lot of media, images, sections, program information and had previously been using a static site. Moving to Drupal allowed their editors to take control of the content and not depend on developers for updates and changes. It is also part of a larger move by Comic-Con to produce fewer print publications and instead increase the accessibility and visibility of content with online publications.
Describe the Project (Goals, Requirements, and Outcome) 

Responsive Theming:

Given the techie nature of the CCI fan base, creating web content served up for smart devices was a must. The new site is highly compact and scalable for multi-size smart devices and will provide useful access to web content anytime, anywhere.


Usability & Information Hierarchy:

As a legacy website with a decade of content, the information hierarchy took time to surface and refine. The agreed upon solution creates a global navigation per each show and the official CCI blog known as Toucan. Each major section then has its own universe of content that can be scaled, branded, customized and later archived for historical reference.


Performance & Scaling:

Great attention was given to the nature of web traffic that CCI generates between high profile guests, featured events, speakers, celebrities and ticket sale information. Their traffic has wild swings from dormant to raging which makes even scalable cloud infrastructure buckle. Working closely with CCI's technical team and the hosting provider, new server topology, reverse proxy and serious database tuning was implemented. Currently the site can handle exponentially more traffic than their original configuration.


Type of Nomination 
Additional developers