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PwC CareerAdvisor Upgrades to Drupal 8

The pains of growing a custom platform led PwC to a new CMS solution.

Project Highlights

In January 2015, PwC US announced the launch of its new CareerAdvisor tool. Aimed to help students discover their professional goals and set themselves up for career success, the CareerAdvisor site provides links to reference articles and videos and other resources with career advice. After visitors create an account, they can track their progress with an interactive checklist of action items for career success and add a list of personal ToDos.

The CareerAdvisor site is critical to connecting with the millennial demographic and building a recruitment talent pool at PwC’s target universities. However, the current site was on a custom platform that could not be extended or supported. Updates and upgrades were needed but could not be deployed to the site in its existing state. PwC also realized that they had too many different technologies supporting their website. Their solution was to consolidate into one central CMS platform: Drupal.

PwC partnered with Mediacurrent to ensure existing front end user functionality was ported to Drupal successfully while using best-of-breed Drupal implementation practices. The move to Drupal would allow for rapid feature velocity moving forward while ensuring an intuitive and performant experience for both site administrators and end users.

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Drupal 7 or Drupal 8?

The project was originally scoped out in Drupal 7. Mediacurrent helped to weigh the pros and cons associated with adopting Drupal 8, reviewing the financial and technical considerations that must be evaluated to inform the best decision. As momentum behind Drupal 8 adoption in the enterprise grew, it became clear that Drupal’s latest version was the best choice. To shift the focus to Drupal 8, Mediacurrent scoped out a new list of modules that would be compatible and be better suited to the development process in Drupal 8. In some cases, we did not need to use contrib modules because the functionality we were tasked to recreate was already built into Drupal core.  

Challenges and Solutions

Preserving Functionality: Some of the functionality of the CareerAdvisor site was tricky to preserve. Specifically the ability for users to perform actions on the site and see updates happen live, without a page refresh. Luckily Drupal 8 core now has the Rest module built in, so we were able to leverage that along with Drupal javascript behaviors to keep this functionality intact.

Quality Assurance: Mediacurrent’s goal was to ensure that all bugs were found, reported and fixed before deployment. We also tested the site post-launch to make sure all priority flows were operational. To accomplish this, our QA team:

  • Created a test plan

  • Worked alongside the developer to test tasks as they were completed

  • Engaged in exploratory and regression testing

  • Executed smoke test post-launch to ensure all modules were operational

Refining UX: Since the site design did not change from their legacy system to Drupal there wasn’t much wiggle room in the ways of improving user experience. Two small but notable touches were making the site logo clickable to lead to the main dashboard and adding tooltip highlighting to user action buttons.

Better Maintainability through Drupal: The site was previously on a completely custom system utilizing an outdated version of AngularJS, Orchard, MSSQL, and C#. By migrating it to Drupal 8 the site became much easier to maintain for developers and site managers.

Improved Authoring Experience: Early-stage feedback from the PwC team on the admin side of the CMS has been very positive. Specifically, site admins have noted that the new site is significantly easier to use than their old system.

computer screen with code

Development Highlights

Flag, Migrate ToolsMigrate Plus and Config Pages were the critical modules used to build PwC’s CareerAdvisor site in Drupal 8. Config Pages serves as the most straightforward, user-friendly way to set up one-off pages. Migrate Plus and Migrate Tools were necessary to get the full use out of the migrate module in core. Finally, Flag provided the functionality needed to for users to set their own status of globally available nodes.

Giving Back 

Contributing code and sharing knowledge to strengthen the Drupal community are at the heart of Mediacurrent’s core values. As a result of this project, several contributions were made back to the Drupal community

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Final Thoughts

Since the development of Drupal 8 began in 2011, Mediacurrent has been learning, contributing and developing to prepare for its release. Our experience has shown that first-hand experience is the best teacher. “Mediacurrent gave me Drupal 8 training when I started and put me on projects involving Drupal 8 right away,” said Chris Runo, project team member and Senior Developer. “This kind of full immersion is the best way to learn and mitigates many potential project pain points in architecting and developing.”

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