I thought it might be interesting to share some of the more technical details about the upgrade and what was done.
The current site has been up and running for nearly 3 years now running on the fantastic, powerful and yet occasionally frustrating Drupal framework. Drupal really is a tremendous system for a site of this nature. It’s stable, runs well, is generally secure, and offers a staggering amount of functionality.
So for a few years now it’s been chugging along nicely on Drupal 5. As the site requirements have changed, along with our finding out how people use it, our increasing use of Social Media, our e-announcements, and just the overall evolution of technology, it was determined that it really was necessary to upgrade to the newer and better supported Drupal 6 version.
Each major version update of Drupal usually brings with it some significant changes to both requirements, database structure, themes, and overall availability of modules and add-on functionality.
While porting the old design was possible to this version, to accomodate the changes and to take advantage of the enhanced functionality we decided to also pursue not only the data upgrade but also a site redesign as well.
A redesign isn’t something we take lightly. We know that people get used to how a site works and where they find the information that they need. What we have been finding though is that we just had too much stuff, notes, announcements, important reminders, that always seemed to be of great importance and require front page exposure. We hope that with the slider show and the quick tabs, along with the increased number of information blocks that we can present all of this information to you but in a format that is still accessible and easy to use.
Now that this first stage of the upgrade / redesign is released, we plan to really pursue some of the great things that this upgraded framework and layout enable us to do. We want to increase community and make it easier for you to share your stories and photos with us. We want to be more social, taking advantage of the tools that sites like Facebook and Flickr can offer us.
I would still expect some pretty significant tweaks and changes to overall look and feel over the next few weeks as we get feedback and see how well we did in bringing this phase of the Route 66 Association of Illinois web site to life.
I’m really pleased with how it came out – please let us know what you think as well.