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UCL adopts Drupal

Code Enigma is working with UCL's internal team to build a CMS that will ultimately power hundreds of sites

Code Enigma was commissioned in mid 2015 to plan the move from University College London's legacy content management system to Drupal. A number of systems were considered but Drupal won out because of its flexibility and accessibility. As the current CMS powers over 700 sites and the University has counted at least 2,000 sites that form part of its web estate, this was not a project where we just jumped in and got started. There was a detailed investigation and scoping phase looking into functionality, performance, and usability issues.

As of January 2016 we have started to build the new CMS platform using a mixed team of Code Enigma and UCL developers. The logic for this is that the University team needs to be able to maintain and extend the site once Code Enigma is no longer fully involved. Also, the internal team has no experience of Drupal. This is one of a number of projects where we have mentored the internal team, such as Wellcome Trust, Oxford Council, and Redactive Media.

From a design perspective, we have a head start because UCL has already developed its Indigo front-end framework. However, there are some major development challenges particularly around Search and caching. There are also numerous custom navigations such as the Funnelback search engine, and the Iris research database.

Needless to say, it's every exciting to be helping one of the World's top academic institutions to move across to Drupal.

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