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Get With the Pattern: A Better Path to Content Architecture

We are here to save you from bad content architecture!

Drupal is an amazing content modeling tool but there are are no guardrails keeping you from creating a terrible content architecture. Bad architecture means a tax on everything you do for the life of your application.

You might have a bad content architecture if...

  • You have dozens of content types or vocabularies
  • You have dozens of fields on any given content type
  • You have a bunch of different entity types (Block, Paragraphs, ECK)
  • You have poorly named fields and content types that confuse your users

So what does a good content architecture even look like?

In recent years “Atomic design” principles and related methodologies have spread and been adopted by many organizations. Pattern Lab is one example of a popular tool that leverages this type of design thinking which really emphasizes breaking things into components. React.js, similarly, is known for breaking up the page into reusable modular components.

What we haven’t seen in the Drupal community is much of an emphasis on content patterns. Why not? Is every website implementation a special snowflake? We do see that many distributions attempt to establish a base content architecture. Let’s go a step further and say that there are content patterns that apply across *many* organizations and verticals that we could be taking advantage of right now.

In our session, Mediacurrent’s senior design Justin will cover some common design patterns he and his fellow designers use every day. Jay and Justin will then cover how we can apply these same patterns to content architecture so we aren’t reinventing the wheel on every project. We aren’t necessarily prescribing an exact solution but rather principles and ideas that will get your mind wrapped around the idea of using content patterns.

Outline

  • Common architecture problems

  • What is Atomic design?

  • Common design patterns

  • Get everybody using the same language

  • Applying patterns to our component library

  • Implementing content patterns with Paragraphs

Headshot

Meet team member, Jay Callicott

An enthusiastic Drupal developer of ten years, Jay spent six years as Mediacurrent’s Lead Architect before transitioning to his current role in 2015. As the Vice President of Technical Operations, Jay helps to foster best practices and shape processes for Mediacurrent's development team. An active contributor to the Drupal community, Jay has developed dozens of custom modules, coded themes, and written install profiles for projects from Drupal 5 through Drupal 8.

Prior to Mediacurrent, Jay worked as a PHP developer in Little Rock, AR. During that time, Jay worked on several large PHP builds including the Arkansas Drug & Alcohol Testing Database, the Arkansas State Police FBI Civil Harvesting Application and the Arkansas Governor Newsroom which won his agency an e-government award that year.

During his 8 years at Mediacurrent, Jay has led teams on dozens of projects including more recently Turner.com, Jamaica Star, and University of Georgia. He maintains several key marketing automation modules (Pardot, Silverpop, Eloqua, Hubspot, and Automate) that have helped solidify Mediacurrent as a thought leader in the marketing automation space. Jay created and actively maintains one of the most popular distributions on Drupal,  OpenChurch, which has over 100,000 downloads. A Drupal 8 version (relying almost entirely on core modules) was recently released.

Outside of work Jay enjoys family time with his wife and two young children. He stays involved with his local Little Rock church and also volunteers time on occasion to help build faith-based charity and church websites.

Learn more about Jay >