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How 1xINTERNET Built an Award-Winning CMS with Drupal and WebOps

European food wholesaler Transgourmet hired 1xINTERNET, one of the biggest Drupal agencies in the EU and a Pantheon partner,  to create a consistent, flexible solution that would enable the company to relaunch all of its websites. Learn more about this solution in the following post. 

That solution — Drupal running on Pantheon, plus a WebOps approach that enabled them to gradually make updates on a site-by-site basis — earned them not just a happy client, but an award.

The Transgourmet websites won a 2020 Splash Award for best multi-website CMS. The Splash Awards honor Drupal service providers and end-users who achieve extraordinary things. Let’s take a look at how 1xINTERNET created a robust, secure, and efficient CMS to help their client streamline and upgrade their digital operations.

The Challenge

Transgourmet’s corporate websites and microsites were implemented and maintained by different teams using different CMS solutions. To make things more difficult, the design was not standardized between websites and not up to date with its latest brand identity. 

Another obstacle that had to be considered was the websites’ visitors are mostly chefs and kitchen managers, who often work with outdated hardware and limited browser permissions. This added further complexity between modern UX requirements and technical constraints.

For a unified brand experience, it was necessary to bring those sites under the same umbrella, with design and technical standards deployed across all of Transgourmet’s digital properties. It was also important that the sites support a decoupled architecture to allow for greater flexibility, as well as to implement a solution that would work with the brand’s e-commerce platform.

To stay competitive in the e-commerce space, Transgourmet needed a scalable, efficient solution to move their business to a digital-first model. 1xINTERNET was able to meet their needs with Drupal. 

The Solution

Transgourmet chose 1xINTERNET and Drupal for their CMS solution, as well Pantheon as their hosting platform. There were several advantages to this approach:

  • Centralized distribution: Drupal allowed all of the websites to run on the same code base. Individual projects just add superficial modifications on top (e.g. config, themes, content), while the majority of features are coming from a central distribution, resulting in seamless integration and low maintenance cost. The frontend was integrated into a design system, which was used by the Drupal distribution as well as by the B2B headless commerce solution. 

  • Flexibility: All of the websites could run independently with development, maintenance, and deployment carried out differently for each one meeting individual project needs. 

  • Scalability: New features could be built and rolled out to websites as needed without having to relaunch or schedule downtime.

Because there were so many different websites and teams, a WebOps framework was essential to meeting their needs. That way, teams could iterate more quickly and work cross-functionally, without having to go through a lengthy development process. 

Each website has different requirements, so 1xINTERNET implemented modular architecture, with more than 50 individualized modules that could be switched on and off for different websites and projects. Here are a few examples:

  • Search: Not all projects require search functionality. If activated, all relevant content types on the specific page are indexed.

  • Translations: Transgourmet operates in many Eastern European countries and Russia, additional languages can be switched on with preconfigured settings.

  • Recipes: Sites can include configurable recipes for gastronomy, hotel businesses, and communal catering.

  • Catalogs: Printed brochures used in markets are also made available as digital interactive assets in Drupal, automatically indexed and ready to use on landing pages for the marketing teams.

Results

With Drupal and Pantheon, 1xINTERNET was able to create a streamlined, flexible, and scalable solution to standardize the Trangourmet brand across its digital properties. By moving all of the web operations under one CMS, they were able to reduce costs associated with using several different hosting platforms and licenses.

What the new Transgourmet website looks like, which provides accesss to all of their individual brands and digital properties.

The CMS also helped Transgourmet to reduce time to market — with bi-weekly sprint iterations, new features and websites can be built and deployed quickly. They can also be easily shared with all projects, eliminating the silos that existed between teams and sites. A great example of this is the COVID-19 campaign website #WinterMeistern, helping restaurant owners survive the pandemic. This website was launched within 2 weeks based on Transgourmet’s Drupal-Distribution with a limited feature set enabled. Only a new theme had to be created. 

With a centralized approach to managing their websites, Transgourmet is also able to stay agile and competitive in the eCommerce space. Currently, the eCommerce platforms are being integrated with Drupal. Hereby the shops run as progressively decoupled webapps inside the Drupal CMS frontend.

To optimize the re-usability of the software even more, the design system is currently being centralized for all web-based applications. The system is developed using web components, which allows both Drupal-based websites and shop frontends built with React and Vue.js to reuse the same code.

Last but not least, moving all websites to a uniform hosting infrastructure allowed Transgourmet to react much faster to changing infrastructure requirements. During the pandemic, several websites have faced significant traffic growth and spikes, often at unexpected moments. Running on a scalable cloud infrastructure allowed the team at 1xINTERNET to react quickly and scale the environments as Transgourmet needed — all without a pesky relaunch or scheduled downtime affecting their ecommerce business.



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Topics Decoupled CMS, Development, Drupal, Ecommerce, WebOps

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