Spidersnet Infinity: Creating a Site Factory with Drupal & Aegir


This session will focus on how a large media brand is utilising Drupal to replace an ageing custom codebase and is doing so using a code driven approach with cutting edge front end theming. We’ll walk through how we assessed business requirements and converted these into modules and features to provide the components of a Drupal 7 distribution and install profile. We’ll walk through the Aegir driven infrastructure and how this provides a simple environment for building, managing and migrating site instances and how we distributed knowledge on Drush, local development techniques and Apache solr.

The Challenge

Spidersnet, part of the Friday Media Group, have been offering a range of marketing tools to assist new and used automotive traders across the UK for the past 17 years.  Up until July 2014 that had been via a custom built classic asp platform pulling customer specific content from centrally curated feeds. The developers knew the code intimately and could tweak every page to meet their customers needs! Feature roll out, however, was a painful affair with each site being a copy of the last. Code changes needed to be copied to each instance and quickly issues became hard to track. Classic asp developers are also pretty hard to find these days! The decision was made to find an open source CMS that could standardise the site building approach and provide a degree of automation to allow for optimum value from each site build whilst tapping into a growing developer community.

Enter Drupal

Our approach was to find a solution that was as contributed as possible, offered a standardised core codebase & theme, but that provided the flexibility to allow for each site to retain it’s own personality, all the while sharing a core set of features. We then had to re-skill the internal team and manage a roll out which constituted significant business and operational change.

Points covered in this presentation:

  • Establishing business objectives and existing platform functionality - Product Requirements Documentation (PRD) phase
  • Building a pattern portfolio with Zurb Foundation
  • Defining High performance system architecture
  • API & feed integration points
  • Theming architecture
  • Entityforms
  • Features for everything!
  • Flexible install profile and Aegir integration
  • Ongoing update/migration tasks

This session will be a team presentation providing differing perspectives from individuals at miggle involved at different stages of the process across product management and front and back-end development.

Session Track

Drupal Showcase

Experience Level


Drupal Version