Goodbye Drupal 8, Hello GatherContent + Static Site

Andrew Mallis

Single page applications are all the rage. Stack your Paragraphs. Tell your story. Go Drupal!

But then, the rubber meets the road.

Patterns aren’t as repeatable as expected, and the story can’t be told with existing components. Enter bolted-on features, infinite variation, and technical debt. While well meaning, Paragraphs is a clunky (and inaccurately named) tool for the job it often tries to perform. Moreover, the architectural overhead on the back-end to power front-end expressions is so high that its cost can stifle innovation.

This is a case study of how we took an existing Drupal 8 site and (unintentionally) got off the island.

Our client, the deYoung Museum, had an ambitious design project scope with tight timelines on delivery. First, we built a prototype for their upcoming exhibition. Then, because our prototyping toolkit Kalastatic produces production-ready code, we launched the prototype live.

We nimbly iterated, refined, and rolled out new features for all while conducting a technical discovery on backend build options. We considered Drupal amongst 6 others; the client settled on GatherContent.

We’ll talk more about the team’s journey, how we repurposed a content editing tool as a CMS, and how we automated deployments via its workflow states using Circle CI and Netlify.

We’ll look at the components architectures in our system that more greatly empowered our client to own their digital stories, and author them to the point where received a webby honoree without our needing to author a line of code.

Drupal is a registered trademark of Dries Buytaert.