The Iona Group, Inc. is proud to announce the relaunch of the English language version of Martin Engineering powered by Drupal 5.x. Martin Engineering is the leading global supplier of systems to make the handling of bulk materials cleaner, safer, and more productive. Since its founding in 1944, the company has grown dramatically through the development of solutions to help the solids-handling industries around the world. Martin's website receives around 1000 unique visits every day and is used both as an resource for employees as well as a selling tool and knowledge repository for potential and current customers.
The aim of this year and a half project was to restructure Martin's information architecture, introduce new categories for another metaphor for finding Martin's products, breathe new life into the site's design to make it more attractive to visitors and move away from a home-grown CMS into a more robust and solid platform.
Improvements to sitewide administration were paramount; Site administrators wanted full control to change any part of the site from the administration back-end, without having to use FTP or edit any compiled (Flash) code. Moreover, Martin uses their corporate website as a document library for tech data sheets, operator manuals, and all other sorts of product-related print material – around 700 PDFs all together. Further these documents needed to be able, but not required, to be associated to other content on the site.
WebFM FTW? WebFM for Document Management
With around 700 individual PDFs to upload an manage, document management was a major concern. The task needed to be easy and intuitive because documents are associated with many different pieces of content throughout the site. Moreover, each document needed to be able to be used on many pages, have a taxonomy-like categorization scheme, and have metadata tied to each document. Many solutions were explored, including rolling our own, but then we discovered the Web File Manager module. WebFM offered a folder/files, Windows Explorer-like interface for organizing and managing documents, has a sleek AJAX interface, had support for associating metadata as well as attaching documents to any other content easily. The module was still new and buggy when we first started using it, but it has evolved into a great solution and the client loves it for its ease of use.
A few additions were made to WebFM and contributed back to the community to further enhance its use in the Martin site. We added the ability to toggle whether files should display in the WebFM browser as their filename or as the supplied metadata title.
A Case for Druplash: A Drupal-Powered Flash Homepage
Browsing Martin Engineering's products by industry is a feature new to the redesigned site. To highlight this, the homepage features a large interactive Flash piece to highlight these industries and to highlight key products in each area. This is achieved by a bit of Flash which dynamically loads all of its data directly from Drupal using the Services and AMFPHP modules, using a solution Steve and Brian coined "Druplash." The Flash first dynamically loads the industries by retrieving all of the terms of the Industry vocabulary. Associated with each of these terms, using the Taxonomy Image module, are the large background images, of which one is randomly chosen as a background to the piece for the initial view.
After an industry is selected, products tagged with that term are retrieved and a thumbnail of the product image is served back by the Imagecache module. Products have custom fields (thanks to CCK) for shortened product names and a shorter product description for being displayed on the homepage. Finally, the path alias of the selected product is fed into Flash to allow the visitor to go directly to the product's page for more information.
The same technique is also used to feed the Flash banner featured throughout the rest of the site. The Flash here loads in information returned from custom Views to fetch a random Header Image (a custom content type) and a random Header Tagline (another custom content type). The result is an easily managed banner serving system. The same technique was used to power the Global Portal page of the site with custom backgrounds and slogans.
Built for the Future
Martin Engineering plans to roll the Drupal platform out for all of their international sites in the next phase of the project and the framework has been laid with this site to enable that.