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Plone and Drupal Coexistence in Higher Ed (PSM14 Recap)

written by Calvin Hendryx-Parker on Monday July 14, 2014
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This is a recap of Calvin Parker's presentation at the Plone Symposium Midwest 2014

Content is King

Everyone in marketing has become obsessed with content marketing, and the demand for more people in more departments to have a way to create content has driven the creation of more websites.

Fast Forward

The problem with this rapid explosion of content across organizations is many websites have been rapidly created on different platforms with not central strategy.

Plone & Drupal have a 70% Coexistence in Higher Ed

Because of this we have seen that as recent as March of 2014 about 70% of every U.S. university that uses Plone also uses Drupal to some level.

How Do you Control Web Branding, Content & Infrastructure?

Consolidating is an option

Some organizations choose the obvious approach of trying to consolidate all of their websites onto a single platform.  This can work and we even have a solution for it called WebUnity,  but it can also be expensive and time consuming. You have to:

  • Evaluate CMSs and vendors
  • Migrate all your content and themes
  • Deal with Bit Rot
  • Train everyone on the new system

This can also be demotivating and polarizing when people refuse to change.

There is another option: Integration!

  • Keep all your content and websites in their existing CMS
  • Connect those sites so they can syndicate and track content

UCLA Case Study

Large University with a central IT department, but all of the content management is done independently by the various departments. Integration via a tool like PushHub allows them to have independent teams share content across sites and keep the content up to date as it changes or is retracted.

What is PushHub?

PushHub is a content syndication system built with:

  • Pyramid w/ ZODB
  • Redis
  • Feedparser
  • Solr

It uses the Pubsubhubbub standard from Google.

PHP - I can't believe I'm about to do this...

PushHub can easily be called from PHP based CMSs like Drupal and WordPress as well as from Plone. See slides 18-21 above for sample code.


You can easily create content across several Plone and Drupal websites.

  • When creating content, simply publish and share to PushHub
  • Then on another site you can search PushHub and select content to show up in a related articles widget or other content areas
  • You can control if just the title shows up or an extract
  • You can even copy an entire article from one site to the other and keep it in sync and with the canonical source marked correctly for SEO
  • When you update the master copy, all other copies get a notification and update instantly

See the slides for examples or the webinar recording in the link below.

Learn More:

Posted by Sean Upton on Jul 15, 2014 04:12 PM
PushHub sounds nicer for the same use-case than CMIS. At the University I work for, I briefly consulted on a project proposal a few years back that was originally slated to be an Alfresco+CMIS+Drupal solution to the syndication problem (at the time, I proposed replacing with Plone optionally with Drupal in a later phase, implementing DAV for traversal/fetch only, and using Solr for discovery). PushHub sounds like a well-thought-out approach to this problem area. What is the content / metadata model for syndication? How does fielded metadata get preserved across systems 1:1?
Posted by calvin on Jul 15, 2014 04:18 PM
Currently the content and metadata are using ATOM for transport and are based on dublin core metadata, but down the road we are going to move the the newer pubsubhubub standard which can use JSON to give us greater flexibility. Right now the metadata is 1:1 depending on what is supported on the target systems. We store the content at each endpoint so they can make use of it how they see fit if they selected an item to syndicated to their site.
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