Room 315-316
drupal showcase

Urban.org: Urban Institute: 24 research websites, one platform, three-person team

Urban.org: Urban Institute: 24 research websites, one platform, three-person team

Urban.org is one of the dozens of Drupal-based websites that we will be showing during this showcase. All three Drupal developers will be talking through the hosting, security, and funding that it takes to keep not-for-profit websites running. We’ll delve into what it’s like working with Researchers, Writers, Funders, and many other stakeholders. We’ll touch on how we create a five-year umbrella agreement every five years to maintain a high standard of due diligence on dozens of new projects. We’ll reveal statistics about how many Drupal 9 sites we have and how many (gasp) Drupal 7 sites haven’t made the jump quite yet. We will hopefully have time to squeeze in a story or two about how we can archive/make a Drupal site static with one command and deploy to AWS with CircleCI. Finally, we’ll dive into the challenges faced by an internal Drupal team where we deal with constant maintenance requests, countless stakeholder emails, and lots of upgrading. Do we have all the answers? Of course not, but we do have a lot of stories.

Urban.org is the premier publishing platform for the Urban Institute and handles 16,000 research-based articles and publications, as well as thousands of project pages and hundreds of topical landing pages. Our solr index runs on the “free” Pantheon Solr 8 instance and has over 48,000 index entries. Urban.org migrated from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 in early 2022. This is just one website, and we have others!

Learning Objectives

1. Learn about urban.org, how it's built, and what we might want to change about it in the future.
2. Learn about team dynamics in a think tank web development team. Hint: we're very different from your average agency job.
3. Engage with some stories about how rogue individuals have taken down the website and how certain quick decisions avoided long downtimes.


Experience working on a development team and/or interest in urban.org


Meet the team behind urban.org and learn about how a small team can manage dozens of Drupal websites.