For the past few months we’ve been working hard on a new website for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, a national charity based right here in Warwickshire which aims to conserve the UK’s rare native breeds of animals.
The new website launched last week to coincide with the release of RBST’s 2012 Rare Breeds Watchlist.
The project was a lot of fun to work on, and it was great to see the website get launched and get some great, positive feedback from visitors and staff. The driving force behind the website is a custom content management system which enables the RBST staff to keep the website up to date as easily, and more importantly quickly, as possible.
From a technical point of view, one challenge was faced was importing the hundreds of PDF articles from the RBST’s quarterly magazine, The Ark, and allowing users to use a keyword search to locate relevant results. We installed some fantastic, easy to use server side software called XPDF to allow the PDFs to be read as plaintext, which helped tremendously.
Another potential banana skin was the existing news archive stretching back to 2006 – with a few articles posted every week, we were looking at hundreds of news articles which needed to be imported from their current CMS (which was Drupal, by the way) to their new system.
Despite initially struggling to get to grips with the unusual, but inventive, database table structure that Drupal utlises, we were able to import all of the news items and re-organise them to their new structure with relative ease, and even managed to keep the photographs associated with the articles.
In the future, we may also be looking to add in streaming webcams onto the website. All in all, it was a great project for us to get our teeth into, and we look forward to working with RBST in the future.
So what are you waiting for? Visit the new RBST website and take a look around.