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Network Communications, Inc. - NCI.com

Award Category 
Drupal Version 
Brief Overview 

NCI is the largest publisher in the United States of printed and online magazines for the real estate market. Almost everyone in the U.S. has seen their real estate magazines in one of the 300,000 distribution points you can find them. The websites serve as an additional avenue to reach their markets. They have 22 distinct brands that are tailored to specific target audiences within each market.

Launch or Publication Date 
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Key Modules, Theme, and Distribution Used 
Views Draggable Views CCK
Why these Modules, Theme, and Distribution were Chosen 

NCI’s main feature was a custom rotator for each of their sites that allowed them to organize advertiser displays in three very specific ways, all while streamlining the maintenance of the site. Once again, we were able to utilize a number of Drupal’s contributory modules (Views, Draggable Views, CCK) and a custom-built module to give site editors their requested user-interface.

 
While working on their main request, we also made a list of their modules that did not meet Drupal standards. A LAMP stack analysis was also performed to help NCI deal with load issues. Mediacurrent was able to identify configuration changes to help improve performance during peak traffic times.
Owner's Name 
NCI
Development Company 
Mediacurrent
We are home to an elite team of Drupal developers, who have a proven track record of building amazing websites. Mediacurrent has worked hard at setting the bar high and has the portfolio to prove it. We can build any kind of website – from a simple blog to an enterprise-level Drupal site with millions of visitors. We strongly believe in open-source principles, collaboration, and sharing knowledge to strengthen the Drupal community. We organize Drupalcamps, meet-ups, generate white papers, blog, give presentations, sponsor events, and provide training. We are headquartered in metro-Atlanta, Georgia.
Why Drupal Was Chosen 
Industry-leader, Network Communications, Inc. turned to Drupal as a solution for implementing a highly customized content management system to publish home design content and ads to regional markets around the United States. As the need to allow each market to alter their site and reach their desired target audience became apparent, NCI desired a company with a reputation for high-caliber Drupal support services delivered in a timely fashion—they turned to Mediacurrent. While the sites were designed well, behind the scenes, the original creators had implemented highly-customized functions that needed to be brought into an approach that better matched Drupal “best practices.” http://www.athomearkansas.com/ http://www.atlantahomesmag.com/ http://www.stlouishomesmag.com/ http://www.coloradohomesmag.com/ http://www.mountainliving.com/ http://www.kchandg.com/ http://www.nehomemag.com/
Describe the Project (Goals, Requirements, and Outcome) 

Challenges & Solutions

When sites such as www.atlantahomesmag.com and www.mountainliving.com grew in popularity, NCI realized the custom Drupal platform was not meeting their advertisers’ demands for customization and fast performance during peak traffic periods.

  • First task at hand was to improve the stability of the code by reducing the amount of custom code and replacing them with more stable, secure Drupal modules. The time spent refactoring code and addressing architecture issues was repaid in speed of new feature development and platform stability down the road.
  • NCI needed a module configuration that allowed them to specifically organize advertiser displays yet be easy to maintain. Mediacurrent was able to remedy the customization and scaling issues that were surfacing by extending a number of contributory modules to give site editors their desired user interface.
  • Another challenge we had to overcome was troubleshooting issues stemming from NCI’s complex Domain Access based multi-site architecture. For example, imported content was not displaying correctly on all domains—an issue that the previous vendor was unable to resolve. Mediacurrent analyzed the problem and determined that it was a result of misconfiguration of the Domain Access module, and a bug in the custom code powering the content import. Once the issue was understood, a fix was developed allowing the content import to work as originally specified across all NCI domains.

 

Final Thoughts

NCI is a common scenario, and similar to other organizations that have engaged us in support services. Their web sites were initially created by a web agency whose speciality was not strictly Drupal. The agency's lack of deep Drupal experience resulted in a cobbled together Drupal platform that was inflexible, slow, and laborious to maintain.
 
As an extension of NCI’s team, Mediacurrent was able to rapidly develop new features like custom ad campaigns and targeted search, while continually improving the backend experience for NCI's content editors. Mediacurrent utilized its Drupal expertise to analyze and improve on NCI's technically advanced Domain Access enabled platform, while maintaining a high level of performance across the sites.
 
NCI has since extended the support agreement and partnership with Mediacurrent. We are now in the planning phases for an upgrade to Drupal 7.
 
Type of Nomination 
Website
Features 
As an extension of NCI’s team, Mediacurrent was able to rapidly develop new features like custom ad campaigns and targeted search, while continually improving the backend experience for NCI's content editors. Mediacurrent utilized its Drupal expertise to analyze and improve on NCI's technically advanced Domain Access enabled platform, while maintaining a high level of performance across the sites.
Who Made It 
Mediacurrent
Screenshot 
Industry-leader, Network Communications, Inc. turned to Drupal
Additional developers