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Overview

Stratacomm contacted Six Feet Up with the challenge of architecting, designing, developing and launching a brand-new Plone 4 site for a highly visible client in less than 4 weeks.

Sugarcane Screenshot

Challenge

When Stratacomm, a full-service strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C., contacted Six Feet Up in May 2011 with the daunting task of architecting, designing, developing and launching a brand-new Plone 4 site in less than 4 weeks, it was immediately apparent this was a sweet project that played to our agile capabilities.

The client, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), needed a new website to serve as a global information hub on sugarcane products and their global economic, environmental and social benefits.

The Six Feet Up project management team quickly adjusted its resource plans and worked with various Plone partners to deliver the project on time and under budget.

"Our client is happy, and we are glad to have Six Feet Up as a good partner who helped make this difficult project a success," said Matt Bowen, the Director of Technology Services at Stratacomm.

Six Feet Up started the project by carefully reviewing and refining Stratacomm's wireframes as part of the initial Planning and Discovery phase that begins any project. This helped us provide Stratacomm with comprehensive technical specs and detailed budget estimates, which they used to assign work to their various development resources.

The new Sugarcane.org website provides visitors with an orderable "Related Items" portlet that displays a list of links and documents related to the topic of the current page. Site administrators easily manage these related items by either performing a manual selection of specific content, or tagging the content with keywords managed by a controlled vocabulary. They can also configure the maximum number of items displayed in the portlet.

Six Feet Up also implemented a video portlet which shows a content-managed image that plays a video pulled directly from YouTube when clicked.

Six Feet Up leveraged collective.blog.star for the site's blog, which was required to support multiple authors. Posts are tagged by product, issue area and region to embed fresh content on relevant pages. In addition, a blog promo portlet was implemented on the homepage to feature a post's title, description, author's portrait and link to their bio folder.

Finally, Six Feet Up implemented the visual look and feel for the site based on Stratacomm's design comps and optimized for a variety of platforms and browsers, including Google Chrome and the Apple iPad.

The new site launched on a production environment hosted by Six Feet Up on a single server with a front-end web server and plone.app.caching as its basic caching mechanism.

Conclusion

The project launched on time and Six Feet Up managed to come in 17% under budget even after the multiple scope changes that crept into the project as the launch approached. "We really appreciated working with Stratacomm. In addition to their strategic and design expertise, they have a solid understanding of how Plone works, which they leverage to approach problems with open and creative minds," said Six Feet Up's CEO Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker, who served as the primary project manager for this effort.

You can visit the new UNICA site at http://sugarcane.org.

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