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WFAA-TV (Channel 8) Partners with Envision Interactive

Envision was more than happy to partner with WFAA (Channel 8) for the third consecutive year as its online marketing partner for the station’s annual New Year’s Eve event and syndicated television broadcast of Big D NYE 2013.

When Channel 8 approached Envision regarding the continuation of their partnership, Envision looked at this as a great opportunity to expand on the existing BigDNYE.com website. It was obvious an enhanced design was in order, as well as introducing new social features and a mobile version of the website. Channel 8 is a savvy team, so it was a nice collaboration between two parties. Channel 8 helped Envision understand their needs from a broadcast perspective and Envision built on top of that with our knowledge of creating an impactful online presence.

We all know how fast things move in the broadcast world. And due to the client’s need for speed and ever-changing requirements, Envision had to be nimble. From a technical perspective it was critical that the site be built on a CMS so the WFAA client could make quick updates. Envision chose the capable Drupal platform.

This year’s edition of the Big D NYE website introduces real-time integration with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, enabling attendees to publish tweets, messages and photos to the site before, during or after the event. To meet the demands of the growing mobile audience, Envision also created an enhanced mobile version of the website for Big D NYE. Other new features include an online store, streaming video and a new-and-improved countdown clock.

The Big D NYE event takes place at Victory Park American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas on December 31st, you can check out all the cool stuff planned be visiting their website, www.bigdnye.com.

Website Launch of the Month: Cox Petrol

We had a very productive week as the team completed yet another web development project. Cox Petrol is an oil and gas company based out of Dallas, TX that has opened several North Texas gas stations. We provided them with website design, website development, drupal content management system, SEO, and photography.

Take a second or two to view the launch of the new Cox Petrol website.

Drupal 7 Views with Faceted Filters, without ApacheSolr

Search facets and filtering are a great way to guide your user to the information they are looking for. With facets, we can create an intuitive way for users to narrow down the items that are visible on the screen. Drupal’s core search capability does not provide a way to implement facets, so we need to look at contributed modules to achieve this. In Drupal 6, we would reach for the Apache Solr Search module. This is a great, high performance solution, but it has it’s drawbacks. Installing Solr on your web server can be tricky, and with most shared hosting accounts not even permitted. Fortunately, with Drupal 7 and a few API modules, we can incorporate these wonderful little facets without the need for a full-blown Solr setup. (more…)

Drupal Batch API in a Nutshell

Drupals internal batch API can be really helpful for handling large cumbersome processes on your web server. Rather than submitting a form and waiting for one of these processes to finish before reaching the next page, the batch API can be utilized to break the process down across multiple page loads. This not only cuts down on the server load, but will prevent the page from timing out. Progress bars will be displayed to the user while the process runs which will keep them informed of where they are at in the process.

In this example, I’ll explain how to do a simple assembly line-like process to generating page nodes in bulk, similar to Devel’s node generate function. (more…)