I haven’t blogged or tweeted much about work lately, and the main reason for this is that I have been working on a project that has been under wraps until yesterday.
The project has now been announced: I’ve been working with Capgemini on the migration of Royal Mail to Drupal. It’s a hugely exciting project – the site will ultimately be one of Europe’s largest Drupal sites – and it’s also great to be bringing Drupal into an enterprise setting with one of the world’s biggest enterprise consulting firms. When I started developing with Drupal almost five years ago, it was to enable me to build richly interactive, community-oriented sites for small businesses, charitable and non-profit organisations. I never imagined that 5 years later I’d be doing the same thing for one of the UK’s biggest and most recognisable brands.
For those outside the UK, it must be understood that Royal Mail is huge. It’s one of the UK’s largest employers, has a network of thousands of post offices, many thousands more post boxes and has a legal requirement to deliver to every single postal address in the country. I pass two post boxes just walking to the bus stop on my way into work in the morning. There’s something exciting about working on a site for a business that plays such a large role in so many people’s lives.
However, Royal Mail isn’t the sole focus – or even the main focus – of the project. What Capgemini is building is a fully-fledged framework of components for delivery of enterprise-scale web projects, with Drupal as a central component. This framework is called Immediate, and working on making this a great product, suitable for many customers, is where the main focus of my efforts are going. This means making use of great Drupal technologies such as Features, Drush (& make files) and CTools exportables to build a packageable system. It also means integrating with a wide variety of third-party providers for e-commerce, identity and authentication, CRM and more.
For such large-scale sites, performance is critical and we have great support from David Strauss and Four Kitchens. Pressflow, memcached, APC and a highly-tuned MySQL server all go into the mix, and Zeus provides an excellent reverse proxy and load balancing solution. No doubt many interesting performance challenges await as the site goes fully live, by which point it will be one of the most heavily-trafficked Drupal sites in the world.
It’s really great to see the good reception this project has had from the Drupal community, and hopefully this latest success will spur on even greater adoption of Drupal within the enterprise world.