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Octane Press: new opportunities with Drupal 9 migration


Continuous systems and process upgrading are undeniable for business growth. Our client, Octane Press, shares its experience in determining possibilities of working more efficiently and profitably.

A publishing company from Baja has already done a great job building its unique brand and achieving stated objectives. And the next challenge the organization aimed to solve was updating its existing platform functionality to keep up with modern technologies and serve its clients at a high-quality level. And this is how Zanzarra’s expert team dealt with this task.

How the project was created

Whether from scratch or redesigning, each upcoming project in Zanzarra starts with a blueprint for stakeholders and end-users. While it takes time to put it together, the process is worth it. It helps to reduce risks, create buy-in, gather the team’s expertise, align communication, and ensure resource availability. Such a discovery process absorbed the team's attention while working with Octane Press - we tried to translate the proactive attitude of the store owners and the technology innovativeness into one big project. 

When the Octane Press realized that it could no longer keep up with the times and integrate anything innovative into the platform, the brand decided to change something. At that time, the company’s CMS required updating: the outdated Drupal 7 version could not provide new payment and delivery methods. So security settings additions, new features, or the implementation of additional modules have become too expensive.

The owner of Octane Press, a prolific author and photographer, Lee Klancher has written more than 30 books as well as published dozens of national magazines which have become the very force that attracts target readers. Given that the niche itself forces online platforms to adhere to a certain standard, it was decided to minimally change the UI / UX. So the site's main feature was its capabilities.

mobile octane

Building technological advantage was based on data migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 on the latest Symfony 4.4 core.

drupal 7-9

A detailed audit highlighted the two priorities of the project - commercial and content-related. Their strategic expansion was to migrate data while maintaining connections. For example, promo codes and discounts applied to orders had to be saved. This process was accompanied by a redesign of existing functionality and a complete back-end and front-end configuration of the platform according to Drupal 9 standards. The scope of work also included non-standard processing functions, such as remote warehousing, accounting, and wholesaling.

Since the transition from the old to the new software version is usually quite complex, the project faced some challenges. So let’s discuss them further!

Project challenges

Working with projects whose primary goal is to upgrade an older version usually begins with identifying where these improvements are needed. Such a process is also supported by enhancing the current functionality, which was related to the basics of payment data, bookkeeping, and inventory management in the case of Octane Press.

The version of the site built on the outdated Drupal 7 included a non-standard centralized system for calculating discounts and promo codes. It worked around the buyer's identity, location, delivery, the number of goods, and more. So this greatly affected the clients’ flow: when adding an item to the cart, they saw one price different from what they paid. At the same time, there was no transaction functionality, making it challenging to process internal reports. Simplifying this day-to-day business administration was to automate all financial aspects. 

Since the module code executed within the site context did not meet customers' needs, Zanzarra had to rethink its logic. It was decided to introduce a third party into the system - Xero's online accounting software. This greatly expanded the platform's capabilities on the Admin’s side, as it became possible to connect to hundreds of applications, gain access to customer records and establish collaborative work. 

We have also integrated the PBSF remote warehouse to the platform. Thus the management of shipments, namely their storing, creating, sending and shipping has been improved.

And if sometimes the search for the right solution was like a wanderer's path among the dust and stones, over the years of formed experience with similar cases, our team finished the project in a short time. It took around one month of coordinated work for developers of different profiles to achieve the business goals. So, we performed the following:

  • Data migration;
  • Migrated orders update;
  • “Bill me later” feature;
  • Coupon code generation.

The migration process has become a cause-and-effect relationship of multitasking that includes moving content, products, users, themes, stylings, JS customizations, and much more. Such transfer required precise control at every stage, from the preparatory to the post-migration phase, to ensure data accuracy and stable work of the upgraded system.

Most of the work on this project was related to backend development and configuration. At the same time, the UI / UX part affected a small number of the changes because, initially, the platform's visualization was pleasing to customers and encouraged them to purchase. While old components were successfully moved from D7 to the D9 version, Zanzarra’s experts added extra features Octane Press wished to implement on their website. Let’s learn about them in more detail.

Project highlights

It was crucial for Octane Press to perform migration saving orders history. We coped with this task so the Admin could easily access the necessary information from the database to make analytics or solve specific issues, like refunds for purchase cancellations.

Zanzarra’s team of experts also developed a centralized system for discount calculation capable of considering several factors which impact its amount: the number of purchases, product type, and buyers’ location. Previously, the pricing worked incorrectly: clients faced incompatibilities between costs on the website and in the cart.  

The old version also lacked several vital modules that affected the connections between the site and the remote warehouse. So, Zanzarra made custom integrations with Xero, GA, Constant Contact, and Warehousing software from scratch. Now, all the inventory management system transactions are connected with the accounting system, reducing the risks of human errors and providing accurate financial reports. In addition, analytics data can now be used effectively to create targeted marketing campaigns.

Xero icon
Project results

Although the Drupal 7 end-of-life (EOL) was extended till November 2023, migrating to the D9 version became a timely solution for Octane Press. While data transmitting from D7 to D9 is a complicated process that requires expert skills, deep analysis, and significant efforts, further platform updating becomes easier for its owner. New helpful features appear with each Drupal update, allowing the book website to innovate faster without any fundamental rebuilding.

The removal of deprecated codes in D9 allowed improving the website security level. Linear codebase decreases the risks of security errors and vulnerability to cyberattacks. Migration allowed Octane Press to get a better website performance. Thus, a set of built-in features contributed to improving frontend rendering and data caching for fast content loading.

What about the new features? Now, Octane Press has an automated algorithm to calculate discounts for retailers and wholesalers based on product type and delivery location. The Xero and Warehouse system integrations ensure supply chain visibility and correspondence of the inventory stock with financial reports.

With Drupal 9, Octane Press received an advanced platform capable of generating leads and increasing customer satisfaction. Zanzarra’s team made it scalable and extensible, allowing owners to meet the company’s growing needs. That means now the organization can manage dependencies and add extra functionality without building the platform from scratch. 

Today OctanePress remains Zanzarra’s loyal customer and uses our Support (SLA) services. To learn more, read here.

Core technologies
Project team
Profile picture for user Yuriy Sandul
Yuriy Sandul
Full-stack developer
Profile picture for user Mykola Shishkin
Mykola Shishkin
Full-stack developer
Profile picture for user Oleksandr Liannyi
Oleksandr Liannyi
Team leader

Let's build something amazing together!