The designers at MJE Marketing of San Diego reached out to us with a unique challenge. They had a design approved for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law website (http://www.tjsl.edu) but no way of implementing it and a deadline looming. Every developer they approached wouldn’t take on the job, citing the amount of pages, custom templates, and the older version of Drupal, claiming it would be too complex or too expensive to implement. The site had an older fixed-width, table-based layout, so it was no small task. However, after an in-depth review of the website, we realized it was not nearly as difficult as expected. It did require expert level, in-depth knowledge of Drupal and how templates work, which is one of our core strengths.
How We Helped
It was clear to us that this was strictly a theming project, meaning we would not touch any of the website programming or be editing pages. With over 6,000 pages of content it would be simply impossible to check every single page. After inspecting the existing theme files, the site was composed of only a few templates for page layout and only a handful of CSS files that controlled everything.
Armed with only mockups of the homepage and two variations of content pages, we started by creating a working copy of the website to our development server. We then tackled each template file one by one and previewed our changes on the site. Since pages in the same section shared the same layout, we were confident our changes would be consistent across the site after spot checking less than a dozen pages using that template. We found small variations for things like embedded photos, videos, or other special formatting, but those are all easily addressed with a few lines of CSS code. As we worked, we checked the design across the major mobile devices, such as iPhone, Android, and iPad, as well as the main desktop browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
After only three weeks of development and testing, the changes were deemed readily to go public. Since the changes were restricted to only the template files, the rollout consisted of uploading our changed files to the live server and clearing the Drupal cache. With zero downtime, we were able to deploy a brand new responsive design on time and on budget.