The previous iteration of the Coastal Community Church website served Coastal well for the few years they had been using it since the church launched in 2009. But an outdated design with a heavy Flash components and no mobile experience meant it was time for a change. In addition, the previous site had a very minimal proprietary CMS that allowed for some basic managing of content, but required contacting the developer to add a new page or change anything beyond basic text. With a new campus on the horizon, Coastal needed the flexibility to manage their entire site without restriction.
Drupal was the obvious choice here based on the need for separate sites for each campus but with a unified and user-friendly backend that allows for endless customization. Domain Access was the second requirement only behind Drupal itself because of the heavy emphasis on a unique site for each campus while at the same time most of the content was relevant to both sites. Work began on the design in late December of 2012. The requirements were to create something fresh and clean with a heavy focus on content while keeping things flexible enough to be viewed on mobile devices.
Even with Drupal and Domain Access, architecting the backend was no small feat. Each campus had its own service times and location as well as it's own set of ministries and activities that needed their own pages and tailored content depending on which campus site a visitor was on. Ministries became taxonomy terms that, coupled with Views, would allow content editors to create a tailored landing page without having to update content twice. Certain data about the campus itself (service times, location, etc.) were built directly into Domain Access so this information was not only easy to edit, but was able to be referenced in a variety of different views across the site to reflect the current campus.
Built alongside the Coastal site was a companion digital platform called Bethel which currently provides off-site automation of media, specifically podcasts. Bethel is built with a combination of Drupal 8 and Node.js which creates a blazing fast API that Coastal can tap into. Large audio and video files can be uploaded through this API which stores everything in S3 buckets. As soon as these media files are uploaded, Bethel automates the creation of both an audio and a video podcast which is sent to iTunes. In addition, media can be tagged with a sermon series which will show up right on the Coastal website. This automation and "upload once" approach has saved time for editors uploading media every week and utilizing an off-site platform has kept hardware requirements down to a minimum.
The entire buildout took about a year with a couple months of testing and fine tuning in the end before the site was launched. Work on the site is ongoing and it continues to evolve and improve based on the feedback from content editors to make things easier to use and increasingly flexible. Drupal allowed not only flexibility to serve Coastal's immediate needs but also has the power and flexibility to grow with them into their next phases including additional campus launches in the future if desired.