Fresno Met goes Drupal

Last week we launched the new and improved website for the Fresno Metropolitan Museum.

This site is a great case study for why you need a good server environment. I started this build months ago on pair networks servers running Drupal 4.6. It was barely functional and pair kept saying the boxes were fine. I've been here before. Bad things happen to Drupal when the servers are slow (namely annoyed users and table corruptions but it can get worse). I brought the Met over to Advomatic, we upgraded to 4.7, dumped flexinode and rebuilt everything with CCK. Boy was that ever fun!!? Integration of tools like the new imagefield and imagecache for CCK actually were fun. This is when Drupal starts to feel like a powerful weapon. whee!

There are some really cool feratures for both users and admins. First off I'm happy to see various departments blogging. The site admins now have the ability to create full galleries of images for Exhibitions and Collections. We mixed in a little theming magic and galleries + captions are automatically embedded into the individial pages. One of my favorite sections is the Renovation Station, which tracks construction progress. The Lightbox module provides a nice alternative to viewing full-size images here and within exhibitions. Plus the people love the Ajax. Hat tip to strange bird labs - the dhtml fader on the homepage is a straight rip from The Egg, which it a gorgeous Drupal site.

Setting up ecommerce for membership and tickets was a breeze. I see huge improvements to the e-commerce module in 4.7. For years I've hated every ecommerce tool I tried (zen cart, digishop, oscommerce, paypal_pro, hand-rolled whatevah). This setup was super-fast, allows for flexibility, and PayPal IPN works silently in the background as it's meant to. finally. I have high hopes for effective inventory tracking for ticket sales.

Note: The design, layouts, and initial IA for the Fresno Met site were done by Suzanne Bertz-Rosa.