Top7news is a news aggregator that operates automatically by gathering and archiving the RSS feeds from several Greek news sites, providing a functional and easily accessible front end for the user to read through the latest news.
At Sevenline we examined and reviewed several popular CMS, both open source and commercial, searching for a system which provides an efficient layer of abstraction for the database. The client required a content creation workflow that can easily support the creation of up to 3000-4000 news items (nodes) per day, apply filters (Views) and archive (taxonomy) them in the site categories.
So, with Drupal, we were able to build our automated site and dress it with a custom theme to exactly fit the aesthetic and the imagination of our client. The end result really justified our choice.
Goals and requirements
The client required the following functionality for the end product:
- Ability to automatically download RSS feeds.
- Automatically scrape source websites found in downloaded feeds and extract information (photos, text, video, category).
- Automatically archive the created news items in the appropriate categories based on a set of predefined filters.
- The site has to be easily extensible, the editors in the future must have the ability to easily add new feed sources from the admin interface.
- Back end to easily edit, correct, classify content for site editors.
- Image-based front end, with great aesthetics, bringing a tablet-app like interface for the user to navigate the content. Client's inspiration derived from the famous usatoday.com website.
- Responsive layout, with 5 different breakpoints, based on the approach of progressive enhancement (more content available as screen size grows).
- Fixed column widths to hold ad units, that merges with the responsive layout.
- Provide up to three different layouts for the user to view the content (grid, list and blog view).
- Automatically publish content to social media channels (Facebook and Twitter).
The final product met all the above goals, and even more:
- Every 15 minutes more than 30 different news webpages are crawled and content is extracted and downloaded to the main top7news page. Up to 3000 nodes are created every 24 hours.
- The created backend provides an accessible "office" like environment for editors to review, edit and manage content.
- Five unique views in each page present the content to the user.
- The fluid layout that has been built provides a lovely experience on mobile devices.
- The ad units that are already been placed on the site, merged beautifully with the rest of the content.