HighEdWeb Assocation
The Annual Conference for Higher Education Web Professionals, Austin, Texas, October 23-26, 2011

Session Details

Drupal Workflow: Set it and forget it!

TPR40 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track

Hill Country A & B


Like many Universities, Rochester Institute of Technology remains very print-oriented. Our Bulletins (catalogs) have traditionally been created in print first, and then converted into a website over the weeks or months following the release of the print material. This print-centric design model left the website behind with old content, when most of the users use only the web! Our solution was to reverse this role, and let the web drive the print. We changed the entire process of our publication, allowing content contributors from across campus update their program content all year round, so that the website is ALWAYS up to date. Once a year, an XML snapshot of the Drupal database is taken, converted to an InDesign friendly format, and then produced into our two print Bulletins. This new process saves 10's, if not hundreds, of work hours in the conversion from Word Documents to web pages, and saves the designers many hours as well, since the XML is pre-formatted for InDesign, allowing for minimal layout tweaking. The roadblocks along the way have been vast, but we believe to have overcome them all. Selecting Drupal as our University-wide content management system was required before we could move forward with a CMS solution. Next, we had to implement a robust workflow / revision system that would allow for multiple levels of permissions in editing content, as well as build a training package that would be easy to understand for 100+ users. Lastly, we had to find an optimal solution for converting XML into an InDesign friendly format, allowing the designers time to be minimized. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks in our CMS-driven Bulletin system. The initial time invested was around 3 months work for 2 employees, but once it's complete, you can Set it….. and Forget it!!