Axel Springer started its operations in China by launching their automobile magazine Autobild online as Autobild.com.cn. By the end of 2009, they chose to move to Drupal and worked with us to bring their team up to speed with the many concepts and technical bricks that would allow them to migrate their millions of entries and hundreds of thousands of users to that new platform. We provided training and consulting on Drupal, development workflows and performance related topics as well as custom development, allowing them to launch in November 2009 a much more streamlined and user-friendly publication platform.
The core of the work revolved around creating the content structure and the many complex landing pages for the various sections of this new site. Since Autobild.com.cn is addressing the Chinese market, we were facing a lot of difficult choices to make to build very content heavy pages, listing several hundreds to thousands of entries at once.
The developed solution had to provide integration with a few external systems, including OpenX, that we used to manage their advertising needs which is core to their business, as well as Discuz!, a Chinese BBS.
Prior to launch, we worked with the team to ensure the several millions entries that were present in their previous system would be migrated to their new platform; this included media, users and various complex relational models.
The main challenge was performance; initially serving 15,000 to 30,000 unique visitors a day, the site quickly grew an audience of up to 100,000 unique visitors a day. As such, and combined with the many complex and content heavy pages that are specific to big Chinese sites, we decided to review their whole infrastructure; the content is served through 2 load-balanced NGINX servers, master/slave databases, using several levels of content caching including Boost, Memcached and Varnish and making use of the great Pressflow distribution.