Publisher site migration, re-architecture, ongoing support + expansion

Migration of 4 unique Drupal applications into a single WordPress backend instance providing nuanced access management control, contextually-applied global taxonomies, and centralized content publishing for a spectrum of contributing authors, all to serve long-form content across three distinct sub-organization sites.


Publisher / Think Tank Collective


Digital Product Development / Ongoing Maintenance & Support




Drupal, WordPress, AWS (RDS, ECS, Build, CloudFront, S3), Elasticsearch, React, Piano, Cantaloupe Image Server (Java), PHP / Laravel, Lambda Functions


Our client, a long-standing think tank and publisher, came to us with decades of content spread across 4 mammoth Drupal applications. They needed to centralize three distinct sub-organizations' content publishing, complex user access configurations, and data organization schemes, while enhancing performance and security.

This would require:

▪️ A complete re-architecture that would accommodate search-ability and access to a centralized database of published content, contextualized to three different access points.

▪️ Migration and reworking of a massive amount of Drupal content to WordPress.

▪️ Rethinking of the infrastructure and code to serve three front ends optimized for performance, speed, and security.

a person with an umbrella walking across a zebra crossing on a rainy day in a city setting. The black and white photo captures the rainy atmosphere, with buildings and vehicles in the background, including cars and what appears to be a bus. Street signs, such as “ONE WAY,” are also visible, contributing to the urban feel of the scene.


We worked with our client to build a single custom WordPress backend that served the organization's published content to three custom UIs, via carefully-defined contextual search and access parameters.

Along the way, we partnered with multiple stakeholders, including internal division heads, content subject matter experts, and our client's external design partner, to make sure the resulting build was a comprehensive improvement for our client's reader audience.

We completed the project within our client's preferred timeline, and set the stage for an ongoing engagement for support, maintenance, and further growth.

Infrastructure, Backend & Integrations

▪️ The new application is hosted entirely in AWS, utilizing AWS CloudFront CDN and a bevy of other AWS services for media storage, dynamic application performance control, and enterprise security.

▪️ Global content taxonomies to allow for maximally granular control of whether and how content appears on each site, alongside an integration of elasticsearch, resulting in a carefully curated global search experience.

▪️ To maximize performance speed, consistency, and site security, the WordPress application is fully separated from public access, and all three UIs are delivered as lightning-fast and secure static flat-files via CDN. This means no degradation of performance from queries hitting the server, and no public user activity ever touches the backend. To lighten the front end even more, a specialized image compression server is integrated with WordPress to compress and optimize all uploaded images, and lambda functions are used to optimize use of compute resources.

▪️ Integration with Piano paygate service

▪️ We implemented a live fail-over process. Upon any failure around the database, hosting, DNS, or any other part of the infrastructure, the system switches automatically to a set of hourly-generated full site clones hosted separately.

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Maintenance & Additional Work

Our initial migration and rebuild was just the beginning. We've since worked with this client to maintain their new application ecosystem with regular software updates, ongoing testing, feature additions/enhancements, and wholly new builds to serve their overall organizational needs.


▪️ Monthly WordPress core and plugin updates

▪️ Other software and database updates (PHP/Laravel/SQL/Apache/etc.)

▪️ Deployment pipeline maintenance and smoke tests

▪️ Weekly meetings, and periodic review and improvement of existing features, bug fixes, live failover validation, et al.

Annual Report

Soon after the initial migration, our client needed a public-facing annual report deployed quickly—no time for a CMS build.

To work within their timeline, we generated a static annual report front-end, but engineered in a way to easily connect to a CMS, so that a future-year report could be generated via WordPress.

We've now fully connected that initial custom React static app to the CMS editor, and they'll be able to easily generate reports for years to come.

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From one central backend, our client and their cohort of authors and content creators can organize and publish impactful journalism across all of their organizations, via three consistently fast and secure front-end websites.Larger than that, they have in Flavor a long-term go-to partner for however and wherever their organization needs to employ web technology.

Larger than that, they have in Flavor a long-term go-to partner for however and wherever their organization needs to employ web technology.

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Screenshot of a search interface on a website, featuring a search bar at the top and filter options below for “Content Type” with checkboxes for articles, multimedia, events, and books. “Related Tags” are also present, including tax & budget, New York City, finance, healthcare, employment, and regulatory policy, each with a number indicating the count of related items. The main area displays the total search results, with options to sort by date and filter the results.

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