Stanford Law School Legacy CMS to Drupal Migration

Feb 17, 2013
"Stanford Law School (SLS) wanted to migrate from a custom, unsupported, outdated, unwieldy, proprietary legacy CMS to an open-source, scalable, extendable, robust CMS that would meet SLS web needs now and in the future.

The Drupal CMS was selected for the following reasons:

  • Drupal is a scalable and extendable CMS with wide variety of modules that enable a developer to build a system that can meet current site requirements and easily add new functionality in the future.
  • Advanced system of Roles and Permissions makes Drupal a perfect platform to securely distribute content management to departments, students, and other stakeholders.
  • Drupal has great community support and has become the de facto standard at Stanford.

Goals: The primary goal of this project was to migrate from a legacy CMS to Drupal. Migration was comprised of two parts:

  • Conversion of a set of complex layouts and proprietary PHP code into a Drupal-based site that uses modules (mostly contributed and custom where needed) and a custom theme.
  • Migration of approximately 10,000 pages stored in the database, and around 5000 HTML or text-based pages.

The look of the site was to be preserved, so no graphical design changes were made. The secondary goal was to make improvements where possible. The timeline for the project, given the limited resources, was 12 to 18 months. Also, with more than 300,000 page views and 80,000 unique visitors per month, we wanted to be sure the performance wasn't diminished.

Requirements: The primary requirements of the site were as follows:

  • Five information portals (see the first screenshot, below): provide a Mega Menu with links for the portal audience (e.g. alumni), and news, events, publications, and user groups related to the portal.
  • Areas of Interest sections that display all information related to a particular area of law.
  • Person and department directory: a filterable, sorted list of all people and departments associated with SLS.
  • Events section: a searchable, filterable list of events and mini calendar filterable by event type, audience, etc.
  • News Center (see the second screenshot, below): a hub for displaying latest tweets, news, press releases, and publications. The page is also a launching point to all of the school's tweeters and bloggers.
  • Publications Section: searchable, complete bibliography of all publications by SLS faculty and staff.
  • Organizational pages for research centers, programs, student organizations and departments.
  • Library section (see the final screenshot, below): a collection of pages, news, events, and other information related to the Robert Crown Law Library.
  • Static pages for general information about the school, admissions, and other topics, with several levels of child pages.
  • Complex breadcrumbs: the breadcrumb navigation is used on pages within the site buried several levels deep, and the algorithm for how they're generated became so complex, it wound up requiring more than 100 lines of code.
  • Events submission and approval workflow (configured by SLS web team).
  • Additional specialized pages for case studies, fellowship information, etc."