Home page of Alcinet website

Development of the dynamic intranet part of the website as a complement to an already existing static one. We wanted to create a hybrid website (static and dynamic), which would provide a lot of flexibility since customers do not always want to abandon their existing static websites and simply need to enhance them with additional powerful CMS-based capabilities.

Why Drupal was chosen: 

The Alcinet website required a secure multi-lingual solution, SEO-driven with code of the highest quality. It should allow non-technical staff to easily manage the back-office. We wanted to be able to easily create user profiles and roles and set up permissions allowing users to view and create only what the administrator permits. We (Alcinet) have already built other websites using Drupal 7 and were very satisfied with its user and role management capabilities, its solid permission and access control functionalities as well as its overall flexibility. Moreover, an active and very strong Drupal community on the web provides valuable assistance when needed. Selecting Drupal 7 for this new project was, therefore, the obvious choice.

Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

Goals and challenges:

Alcinet has been building web sites for the last nine years. We generally do small to mid-size projects. Our previous website had an intranet that was developed the “traditional way” with PHP and Mysql. This intranet had to be reworked in order to provide a better user experience and greater flexibility for both authorized users and administrators.

Since many of our customers are not located near our headquarters, we wanted to design a solution that would allow them to see their websites while they are being developed, at their convenience. This is a great time and money saver for both Clients and for us, as we could perform lots of “reviews” over the phone, in front of our screen even if we are hundreds of kilometers apart.

We also wanted to develop a similar functionality for our partners so that they can directly access their dedicated pages after logging on.

Finally, the entire website (Intranet included) had to have a fluid and adaptive design for desktops, tablets and smartphones. Therefore, our challenge was to include a Drupal Intranet, with the same look and feel as the main static website.

Additional goals were the following:

  • Ease of use for the administrator. The site is managed by people who are not technically inclined and who do not have time to use a complex system.
  • Multilingual website in French and English.
  • The site had to include very solid functionalities for client and partner management.
  • Strong access control for secure information displayed on specific pages.
  • Very good response time.
  • Seamless integration of new customers with links to their websites under development.
  • Ability to add new functionalities such as calendar management in the future without changing the overall architecture of the site.

Approach:

We used Drupal 7 to develop the Intranet portion of the site.

A subtheme from Bartik was created. Specific CSS files were developed to allow fluid and adaptive design for desktops, tablets or mobile phones. This was a very complex task. In effect, we had to match properties of the CSS selectors of the Drupal sub-theme with the ones from the static website. A simple “cut and paste” from the static style sheets to the Drupal environment was not possible because the CSS selectors did not have the same names in both static and Intranet environments.

Existing menus of the static website were updated to link to the Drupal Intranet pages.

The flash carousel of the site’s home page was also updated to link each relevant icon to the associated Drupal Intranet pages.
Multilingual capabilities were added to the Intranet, specifically for the “references pages”.

The “contact us page” uses Drupal contact Module and Mollom as our “intelligent” anti-spam moderator.

We combined views, blocks, content type, roles, rules and access control to redirect authorized users to specific pages after being logged in and logged out. This was also quite a complex task to perform.

Modules/Themes/Distributions
Community contributions: 

We (Alcinet) are a new community member in Drupal.org and Drupalfr.org and are pleased to share our experience with others in the forums.

Project team: 

The Alcinet team.

List of Alcinet references
Screenshot of the login page
Screenshot of the contact form