Friday, November 10, 2006

We recently launched Verizon Literacy Network, part of Verizon Foundation that represents Verizon's community outreach programs. We built it in Typo3 with several custom extensions and I think was a great fit for the Typo3 architecture. The content is managed between 3 organizations, Verizon and two partners, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the National Center for Family Literacy. It was very easy to set it up where they could all access their own content areas and Verizon could control the final publishing step.

Some custom extension work allowed us to recreate some of the tools they had on their old site allowing searches for course materials and searches for local Literacy organizations by state or zip code. The zip code search leverages a SOAP service to find all the zip codes and I was very pleased at how easy that was to integrate into our custom php code. We were also able to upgrade their forum quite a bit by using the latest Typo3 forum software. This added much better editing and moderation as well as several great new features like thread subscription. A full site search was another important addition.

Probably the biggest challenge was moving the site to IIS for production. We do nearly all of our Typo3 work on Red Hat boxes with Apache but this site had to be hosted on IIS. Other than some flakiness around mod_rewrite Typo3 is running well under IIS and Zend's recent partnership with Microsoft should help this improve even more in the future. I'd still rather use Apache for PHP but sometimes there are legacy asp apps or current .NET apps that have to be there or just reluctance by an internal IT team to support Linux.


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