In 2009 the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) chose Appnovation Technologies to develop a Drupal based community website named Adaptation Learning Platforms. The portal is a community platform which allows NGOs, researchers, and policy makers collaborate together and look at how wildlife is affected by global climate challenges. It features community tools such as groups, discussion forums and user profiles. Initally WWF looked at using Open Atrium, but they quickly realized that since the site is not a project based site, the Open Atrium version would not be as effective. WWF made the decision to develop their ALPs site on the Drupal platform because it offers all the community options they wanted to incorporate and is easily scalable.

For more than 45 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

Site Design and Functionalities

The design of the Adaptation Learning Platforms was the focusing of the many ideas the client had during the design process. As it is associated with the World Wildlife Fund, there were certain guidelines that had to be followed, but some leeway was afforded as it was a specifically purposed project site. Color palette and typography were provided by the client. Wireframes were created in OmniGraffle and the base Drupal theme layer is Garland that was stripped down, re-built, and named “Elan”.

Like most community sites, the ALP has user profiles, discussion forums and an events calendar to help like-minded individuals connect. The homepage has a “What’s New” mini feed that updates as new content is added throughout the site. There is also the ability to create groups, open or private, for users with the same focus topic to discuss and collaborate on items like case studies and create a specific group blog. A specialized user dashboard was created so users could have all their options available to them from one location.

The portal’s other focus is research and information. It features a library that stores case studies, reports and news items. Users are also able to access and create Wiki documents. This content is overseen by site administrators and is searchable by type, topic or author tags. The homepage also features a feed from the Climate Prep.Org blog with the latest news items and reports.


For the development, we used our standard environment which consist of dedicated mid-range servers (4GB of RAM, 2x CPUs @ 2 to 3 GHz). Database and web server are on the same machine.

For the deployment, we worked with the client's IT department to optimize their servers. ALP is on a dedicated machine, not a VPS, and the specifications are very similar to our test environment.

We saw four ways to make Drupal run faster: a bigger server, optimized server, optimized Drupal, and accelerators such as mem_cache, Varnish and CDN. For ALP, we focused on optimizing of the servers, on reducing the number of modules, on replacing contributed modules with simpler custom ones where it made sense, and on optimizing our custom modules.

Module Use

There were 42 modules used for the site, including 4 custom modules:

Contributed Modules

There were a number of contributed modules used for the project. Most notable are:

  • Views 6.x-2.10 - The Views module provides a flexible method for Drupal site designers to control how lists and tables of content (nodes in Views 1, almost anything in Views 2) are presented

  • Organic groups 6.x-2.0 - Enables users to create and manage their own 'groups'. Each group can have subscribers, and maintains a group home page where subscribers communicate amongst themselves
  • Bibliography Module 6.x-1.13 - This module allows users manage and display lists of scholarly publications
  • Content Construction Kit (CCK) 6.x-2.5 - The Content Construction Kit allows you to add custom fields to nodes using a web browser
  • Content Profile 6.x-1.0-beta4 - This module builds user profiles as content (aka nodes), which opens the opportunity to use all the powerful modules for content for user profiles too, e.g. the Content Construction Kit (CCK). It's intended to be simple and useful, but is extendable by other modules

Custom Modules

  • WWF Binder - Provides functionality for Book Binders
  • WWF Central - Central module for WWF's Adaptation Learning Platforms site
  • WWF Group - Provides custom functionality for organic groups
  • WWF Search - Provides custom functionality for search

Other Custom Technologies

  • Search Results Tabbing feature – Tabbed the search results by type for better clarity with regards to the different results
  • JS Login block – Uniquely shows the login block on the top right hand with a hide and show feature that allows users to login
  • Homepage Slideshow – Displays user defined content to allow for promotion of a certain content

  • Groups – Able to join/add/delete/edit groups that features a certain area if interest
  • Dashboard pages – Organizes a landing page for users of the site so that they can quickly do everything from one page

Project Team

The Adaptation Learning Portal was built by a team of seven people:

  • Four designers
  • Two creative leads that designed most of the site and mock ups and two junior designers to implement themes
  • Two Drupal developers
  • One lead developer that architected and oversaw development and one intermediate developer to carry out development
  • One project manager

Project Management

Basecamp and Active Collab were used for most project management tasks and WebEX was used extensively for information sharing.


xl_cheese’s picture

I like this one!

Maung Maung’s picture

The site is clean and attractive.
Custom-search results showing different tabs for different content types are very nice. Is it "WWF Search" custom module with "Search Results Tabbing feature"? "Homepage Slideshow" also cool,
Thanks for sharing your experience to the community.

Best Regards

scott.bell’s picture

Hi there,

You are correct, the tabbed search results is custom work. The homepage slideshow is a view with jquery UI tabs applied to it.

Very much appreciate the kind words. Let me know if you have any more questions.

yogendra pal’s picture

Please let me know how did you create that login block? I want to make same but I am unable to do this.


scott.bell’s picture

Hi there thanks for your comment.

You can call the login form from anywhere by using: print drupal_get_form('user_login_block');

The sliding functionality is done by using some simple jquery, which I won't get into here. PM me if you like and i'll be happy to advise.

lca7’s picture

Thanks for sharing.

esbon’s picture

Thanks for sharing and I did not ask any of the original questions, but I am working on a site where I need to put the same dots showing on your homepage. Would please share how I could accomplish the same, keeping in mind I am using the Views Slideshow module’s picture

Great job for great site.

AlMiesel’s picture
"an error occured views/ajax"

The Forum doesn´t work when I click on a Subject
"The requested page could not be found. "

zap-admin’s picture

Never have I seen so much effort put into such flawed reasoning.

Please learn some real science people. I'm all for preserving wildlife but stop allowing yourself to be duped by bogus emotional arguments that supposedly cause the danger. I used to buy into it myself, but not any more.

A very nice site though.

rurri’s picture

Very nice work. Would love to see the full list of modules you are using. Always nice to see what other people are using, and can sometimes be a good way of finding new and useful modules.

burgeonit’s picture

Site looks good.

In Firefox (3.6.12) I get errors

An error occurred on the page if I try to click on different search tabs.

error msg "An error occurred at /views/ajax."

Maung Maung’s picture

If we turned off the javascript, we can click and see the data and links inside the QucikTabs.
(I used NoScript Firefox plugin, in this case).

jakew’s picture

Confirmed. I'm getting that too.

the_only_x’s picture

Hi :)
You should see , I think anyways, but it might by I am talking about?

I don't know, but definately... , , , and

asad.hasan’s picture

A truely great application built using drupal. However a friendly advice would be to aggregate the js and css for a bit of speed increase :)

MikeyM’s picture

Great layout! And great content. So Drupal is helping to save our climate, too!
I am going to change my website to Drupal soon but decided to wait for Drupal 7. I don't want to do it twice...

paolo12’s picture

Very good looking site! However I've found a problem in a Library page. When I try to select any category it returnes me an ajax error.

amitavroy’s picture

Hi, was looking at the functionality of the website when I landed on this search page where the text above the search box are in white... is this intentional?

link is here:

I was browsing on Google chrome 8.0.552.224
from what i feel the css has a problem on line number: 1426
.search-form label - text color is white.

Rameez’s picture

really nice. I would like to know how the homepage featured content silder is made? is it built in theme itself or featuring some content type?

Thanks for sharing.

kit22aa’s picture

Hi there,

I really love your great work at!

According to the description here, the Homepage Slideshow displays user defined content to allow for promotion of a certain content. I would like to use Views to implement a similar slideshow with content created by me only instead of my users. Could you advise me how to implement it and what modules you have used?

Thank you.


scott.bell’s picture

Hi monil,

The theme is custom. Thanks for inquiring :)

monil-dupe’s picture

Anyway this theme is really nice and i liked it a lot. Having a nice heme is one of the steps of success in my opinion.

zgos’s picture

instead of using wordpress.

sanamzaman’s picture

The site is probably no more on drupal. If it is so, what possibly caused it to switch from drupal? As drupal in itself is a great CMS, added with the large number of available modules.

shamio’s picture

This page is written years ago and that time this website used Drupal as CMS for managing it. But now it seems that this website changed the application and website totally and it no longer uses Drupal. Currently it has only one page that links to other websites and it doesn't need Drupal for managing it. Drupal usually uses for managing professional and powerful websites.