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18 May An exciting new Drupal 8 project for Unwembi

In 2012 Unwembi was awarded a project by the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) to develop an online and hard copy registration form/process that would allow “Sport Legends” to register their relevant details online. We saw this project as relatively simple and developed it using only open source software, namely PHP and MySQL. The project has been running successfully ever since.

Then in April this year SRSA, happy with the excellent service they have received from Unwembi over the last three years, asked us to develop a much larger online system for them.

The scope of the new project was to design and develop a web based information system platform, to facilitate and aid the preparation, management, and execution of the eight mass participation events that SRSA hosts annually.

Unwembi’s roles as web developers and system analysts are not only to meet the functional requirements of the newly proposed system, but to do so in a manner that results in the delivery of a system which is intuitive to its users, reliable, secure and most importantly scalable.

We considered all the viable approaches available to us in terms of user experience (UX), system architecture and technologies in order to develop a solution which met the department’s requirements. We analysed all the requirements (and resources) provided by the client, and identified all the key entities which needed to be managed by the platform.

Having done this, we decided to use the latest version of Drupal 8, to ensure the platform’s tech stack will have long term support and also adheres to modern standards. Doing so will also allow for the possibility of integrated mobile applications in the future, and will also ensure that the platform scales properly as the database grows.

Drupal 8 has some fantastic new features:

  • Object oriented programming thanks to the inclusion of Symfony.
  • With the new PHP framework Drupal will now be using namespaces. This will allow developers to bring more modern practices to Drupal. As well as making code easier to maintain, expand, and reuse.
  • HTML5 is now the de facto standard when it comes to web mark-up language. HTML5 is now available natively in Drupal 8, giving you access to input fields like date, e-mail, phone, etc., and even more functionality and compatibility with mobile and handheld devices.
  • For content-administrators, there’s front-end editing. Now you can click on almost any part of a site and edit it without leaving the page.
  • Drupal 8 caches all entities and only loads JavaScript when necessary. When a page is viewed, its content doesn’t need to be reloaded again. Previously viewed content is quickly loaded from the cache. Once configured and enabled, caching is completely automatic.

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