Over the past year we’ve significantly changed the way we develop Drupal websites, we’re using newer technologies and more efficient workflows to ultimately achieve better quality websites. Our web team has gone from strength to strength growing to five people plus outside contractors, agencies and partners.
In February 2013 I attended Drupal Camp London, it was my first Drupal specific web conference and it was fascinating to see how other companies managed similar Drupal workflows as to what we did. One common denominator was the use of Drush, the Drupal command line tool.
Since then we completely changed our setup from developing on shared hosting accounts to developing on our own internal Linux virtual machine. We wrote scripts for setting up development areas using Drush to install Drupal, a base theme and common modules we used. Once the site was then ready to go live we had further scripts for uploading the files and database to whatever hosting the customer wanted to use.
Drush has the added benefits of being able to update modules, it meant that we could quickly and easily test updates before making them live.
The overall result is that we could very quickly create development areas with up to date modules and any other common assets we use.
Trello & Basecamp
Project management tools have become essential as we’ve grown and worked closer with external agencies. With services such as OpenAtrium, Trello and Basecamp we can setup projects and assign tasks and tickets between each other. With email you can quickly get into a mess with hundreds of emails but with a project management tool its easy to stay on top of the job.
One common theme for a lot of the other web companies I’ve spoken to recently is the uptake of Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ve always been against renting software in this way however I seemed to be in the minority so we finally decided to sign up. It’s a jump I’m glad we made, having access to the same software that our partners use has a lot of advantages and the new tools its introduced us to has helped enhance our workflow further.
We’ve played with a lot CSS extensions over the past year and finally decided on using LESS. The tools fit in well with our Linux development server and our Drupal workflow.
YAML & Twig
Two of the big changes in Drupal 8 have been making their way into some of our other projects. We’ve been writing custom applications by writing configuration files in YAML and theme files in Twig. It’s given us a great head start for when we start developing Drupal 8 based sites later in the year.
We’re already putting our enhanced skills to work on a number of projects in 2014. If you’re interested in a website from The Web Orchard or working with us then email [email protected] or call 01743 343411