Oct 25 2014
Oct 25
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We are delighted to be working with the British Council on a new Drupal hosting and infrastructure support project. The British Council are valued clients, and we have worked with them for more than 6 years managing both the global suite of 150 country sites, and the prestigious suite of Drupal teaching and learning sites.

We will be working to to create four individual platforms for hosting key Drupal websites on, moving away from just one main infrastructure, to improve resilience, efficiency and increase availability to the sites which generate more than 35 million page impressions per month and are used by more than 65 million people each year alone.

Will also continue to provide 24/7 Drupal website support to the sites which include Learn English, Teaching English and Premier Skills English.

Martin Heineberg, websites and media coordinator for the British Council, said: “Having worked with Ixis for more than six years, we knew we could rely on them to provide the right solution for hosting the websites. As Drupal hosting and support experts, they are always quick to respond and resolve any rare instances involving technical issues.”

We are looking forward to getting started with this hosting and support project, which will be one of the largest Drupal infrastructures in the UK.

Read more at on the Prolific North Website

Feb 25 2013
Feb 25

We have recently launched a revamped site for Times Education targetting newly qualified teachers with the NUT.

New Teachers is a core asset of Times Education, providing teaching tips, resources, online live advice chat and the latest job vacancies for new teachers.

Ixis have worked with Times Education for 4 years, providing development and consultancy support to a range of sites including assets for headteachers and the provision of careers guidance for schools. We also provide a hosting and support infrastructure that ensures the sites are secure and performing especially under heavy traffic loads at peak times.

Times Education have partnered with the National Union of Teachers to update and refresh the New Teachers site and Ixis were commissioned to migrate the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 and apply the new design theme. Rather than use the traditional Drupal upgrade process we opted to move just the content and users utilising the Migrate module.

We took a phased approach to the migration with key client involvement at every step of the way. Content was evaluated during migration to see if there was any room for improvement in both functionality and usability. Existing users had to be migrated in order to keep the SSO functioning as expected and to provide a seamless transition from old site to new.

The new site provides a much improved user experience and a clearer navigation, showcasing the content and maximising the resources provided for new teachers. Screen shots of before the site was refreshed and after:

 

The administrators now have full control over the layout of the site through a drag and drop Panels interface. This allows them to make fairly major changes to the layout of their site without them needing to dig down deep into Drupal configuration screens.  The Panels user interface worked and looked beautiful with the block based layout of the new design.

 

In addition to a more flexible site layout they can also import resources from the main tes.co.uk straight into the New Teachers site automatically thanks to integration with their XML datasets, saving time.

Finally we re-architected the single sign on user authentication system fixing long standing issues which speeds up the user experience when interacting with the New Teachers website.

Nov 05 2012
Nov 05

Ixis are delighted to be sponsoring the forthcoming DrupalCamp North West, which is being held at Salford University’s business school at MediaCity UK.

The event is the brainchild of the North West Drupal User Group, bringing together developers, themers and those using, or interested in, Drupal and will be held on 23-25 November.

Friday is entitled Drupal Means Business - giving delegates and businesses the opportunity to network with potential partners and learn from enthusiasts in the digital industry. The business day is aimed at Digital Managers, Marketing Managers and IT Procurement Managers.

Business sessions will include case studies from our clients including Epilepsy Action and the British Council sharing learning and knowledge on open source projects. 

Saturday will be a session-based format targeted at developers, with guest speakers and sessions held throughout the venue. Sunday gives the attendees the chance to decide the topics and formats of discussion. Popular proposed topics will be curated and groups will then enjoy a day of debate and collaborative discussions. Speakers confirmed include Morton DK and Josh Koenig, both active and prolific Drupal developers. Our very own Mike Carter will be hosting a session during the camp which is not to be missed!

We will also be recruiting during the weekend, so speak to us if you think you're right for Ixis, we are always looking for good developers with a strong PHP background, Linux Sys Admins and client services staff.

Ixis are supporting the event via sponsorship and also help with marketing and promotion of the event. Find out how you can spread the word too here.

You can book your place for the business day here and the developer days via the site here

We look forward to seeing you there!

Oct 01 2012
Oct 01

September saw our ‘Helping the Public Sector with Open Source’ campaign kick-off at the Efficient ICT 2012 conference in London.

As well as launching our hugely popular pocketsize guide to open source (OS) and Drupal, Ixis teamed up with the British Council to deliver a seminar detailing the view from both sides of the coin – the supplier and the public sector organisation switching from proprietary frameworks to OS.

Speaking with Alexei Paspalas, Head of Digital Technology from British Council, Ixis discussed its role in the Council’s web project, as well as providing key information organisations need to know when considering OS and which CMS is the right one for their project.

This was a great opportunity for the Ixis team to hear the questions and concerns about OS straight from the horses mouth.

And what was the main concern?

We were asked the question whether OS is more secure than proprietary systems. In an official statement from the Cabinet Office released in 2011, it addressed that all software has vulnerabilities and strengths and weaknesses in security characteristics, such as provenance, quality, support, and vulnerability management. The statement concluded that neither category is considered more or less secure than the other so therefore OS cannot be excluded for an options analysis for Government ICT.  Read more on the statement in this PDF on Open Source Software and Security

In addition, Drupal OS software has a community of more than 630,000 users and developers meaning people are constantly working to make sure it’s not only a cutting-edge OS platform but also that any security issues and bugs are fixed.

Our campaign trail continues this month at the forthcoming Think G-Cloud conference on 18th October at London’s Business Design Centre. We’d love to see you there and if you’d like to attend you can book your place here or drop us a line

Sep 10 2012
Sep 10

Ixis has taken delivery of a new batch of little ones being welcomed into the family as we speak.  

The new set of limited edition Druplicons are pantone matched to the Drupal logo and in my opinion, superior to their brothers. We will be distributing these along with our pocket sized guide to Drupal at our roadshow events, starting this Thursday at Efficient ICT 2012 in London.  

We will also be giving these little ones away at PHPNW 2012 conference in October and the recently announced NWDUG DrupalCamp North West in November.  We hope to see you at one of these events.  

Apr 19 2012
Apr 19

As part of our commitment to supporting the Drupal Community, we sponsored a Drupal London community event on Monday evening, exploring how several UK government departments have been implementing open source software in their projects.

The agenda coming directly from Number 10 is to adopt open source software to deliver best value and Drupal is emerging as a clear favourite. The event was brilliantly attended by a wide range of Drupal agencies, Government Departments, public sector bodies and general Drupal enthusiasts.

We were treated to a rich and varied selection of presentations, including insights into the Government Open Source Action Plan from the Home Office; Running a Perfect Government Project delivered by Ofstead and a run down of how Data.gov.uk, one of the most famous Drupal projects was deployed from the Cabinet Office. Ixis have been working within this field for years and are currently putting the finishing touches to our latest work with the British Council digital project team.

We have recently implemented a Drupal content management system for the British Council, as well as managing the hosting and support for the website infrastructure.  The project will house the entire web infrastructure of the British Council international websites. Here at Ixis, we are excited by the future of open source within Government, particularly following our recent appointment onto the G-Cloud procurement framework. The presentations will be available shortly so you can share the learning from the event, so watch this space.  The first set of introductory videos can be viewed here

What was most interesting for me was how the Drupal community is committed to sharing best practise and collaboration on projects to work with Government and the Public Sector. Our objectives and passion are shared – to deliver excellent open source projects whilst sharing the code and learning from each other. In what other community does this happen in? The evening was topped off with the usual prizes for the best tweets and a social at the local pub after the presentations – well, it'd be rude not to! 

Apr 03 2012
Apr 03

Epilepsy Action is the largest member-led epilepsy organisation in Britain, acting as the voice for the UK’s estimated 600,000 people with epilepsy. Originally, Ixis provided support for the community site www.forum4e.com, which consists of user forums and blogs, before successfully winning the contract for the full site migration of www.epilepsy.org.uk to Drupal, as well as on-going hosting and support. 

The aim was to improve user experience and increase the range of information available to create more opportunities to encourage support. Ixis was recently commissioned to upgrade the site to Drupal 7.  The new site provides easy access to rich content and the ability for users to customise their experience, personalising their homepage and the content that is delivered to them.  The site is now fully responsive using the Omega base theme, delivering the content direct to mobile devises such as iPad and iPhone.

The site went live in time for Purple Day, the worldwide epilepsy awareness day, held annually on 26 March.  On that day, we turned the site purple for visitors! 

Feb 04 2012
Feb 04

There truly is never a dull moment at Ixis HQ and this week I have been taking part in an election process in a bid to be a director at large of the international Drupal Association board.

The Drupal Association is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the open-source Drupal CMS project flourish. They help the community with funding, infrastructure, events, promotion and distribution.  I jumped at the chance to be involved in the process and I am delighted that I decided to.

My motivation for joining was to give something back to the community that has welcomed me so warmly and to use my experience of marketing, fundraising and business development to develop new opportunities for Drupal.

My overall vision is to drive forward Drupals promotion as a CMS of choice for business, government and public sector organisations. From my initial research, the UK Government is pushing for Open Source Systems and in particular Drupal for implementation across all local authority sites. I think this is a great time to become involved in pushing forward this agenda and proving the value.

I am also keen to promote Drupal due to my first hand experience that it can lead to job creation and training opportunities, which is of particular importance in this economic climate.

Finally, I am keen to encourage more diverse groups, particularly women into the Drupal community. This may be through promoting programming as an alternative career choice and develop more female leaders and management within the community. I felt “qualified” to get involved as I have taken a variety of advisory and Board member positions throughout my career.

The Association organised 2 “meetings” for members of the community to pose questions to the nominees and get to know each candidates ideas.  The first took place at 1am UK time along with representatives from Australia, Brazil, the US and China.  It was a perfect opportunity for us to share our vision for participation on the board and to hone our Q and A skills.  I wasn’t too sharp at that time of the morning but I was wide awake at the end of the call, my head was buzzing with ideas and full of enthusiasm. 

The second meeting took place the next afternoon so I was in the office surrounded by the Ixis giddy kippers keen to get in on the action!  I enjoyed the second call equally as we had a chance to meet more of the community and field additional questions. 

I’ve highlighted below some of the discussion points and my responses:

  1. How do we reach out to new members?
    It's hard to engage people who are not necessarily already involved. The key is to reach out, especially to women and more diverse groups.
  2. What are the barriers to accessing the community?
    Not having access to support groups is a huge barrier, as is the size of the network that developers can rely on.  In terms of developers finding leverage they've got access to within the community, marketing materials, wealth of community without access to the community we are just like any other software so this is a strength we need to better promote.
  3. What’s the Drupal Associations role?
    To harness and to promote the successes of Drupal and therefore allowing others to shine as well rather than instead of just focusing on specific shops/companies My role would be to support and encourage the community and promote what we can do together.  From my experience with working with smaller organisations and 1 man/woman bands, any access to learning and support is always great for small shops.
  4. What Key Skill Can I bring?
    My previous experience in marketing/fundraising is key here as is my understanding of client requirements and community needs and how to bridge those two - understanding of clients’ requirements, developers’ needs and how to bridge those.

Whilst I realise I might be considered relatively unknown in the Drupal community (despite meeting and greeting 1500 of the community at DrupalCon London last summer) I am grateful for an opportunity to present my perspective on how we can strengthen the board and the future of the association. 

I’ve also been bowled over by the other candidates who have shown enthusiasm and dedication as well as encouraging each other in the process.

Whatever comes out of this process and who ever is taken onto the board, I know that I will continue to be a Drupal evangelist and support the future of open source.

Once you've an idea on who to vote for you can place your candidate preference on the voting form. After clicking through, you will be asked to rank each of the eligible voters, from 1st (top choice) to 10th (last choice).

Voting closes at Midnight Tuesday 7th February and you must already have a drupal.org username to vote.

Oct 26 2011
Oct 26

Ixis was commissioned to create a website, TES Growing Ambitions, for the leading digital education business TSL Education, to support teachers helping young people discover the right career path.

At a time when the delivery of careers advice in schools is changing, TES Growing Ambitions will be a dedicated portal for the teaching profession to access a relevant and diverse collection of multimedia teaching resources for free, as well as being able to share information and best practice with peers and the wider professional careers community. 

Ixis was briefed to create a websites which would support the teaching profession and embed careers across the curriculum to ensure that young people have access to quality IAG as part of their learning. As part of this brief, Ixis was asked to provide for a range of features including an A-Z jobs search, multimedia resource platform, news and Q&A. The website can be found at growingambitions.tes.co.uk/

Stephanie Hosny said:

“We wanted to create a website which was as fresh and ambitious as the ethos behind the project. We have developed a Drupal based Content Management System to support the integration of media content and support teachers to search for the right information for their students. We hope the site will inspire and motivate young minds.”

Oct 25 2011
Oct 25

Let me introduce myself – I'm Steph, the newest member of the Ixis team. I've now completed 6 weeks in my new role as Business Development Manager at Ixis.

The directors have taken a leap of faith employing a non-techie to drive forward their thriving Drupal development, hosting and support business.

Although I was familiar with open source systems in a previous life I had only really dipped my toe into the world of Drupal. I must admit I was a little anxious that everyone would laugh at my amateur hour attempts to converse in Drupal speak, especially as my initiation test was to “go to London, set up and run an the Ixis sponsored exhibition stand at Drupalcon” – the national Drupal conference attended by 1500 people from 54 countries - an easy first day on the job then?!

However, I spent 4 days in the company of some of the most awe inspiring and creative people I could have hoped to meet, which was probably the best training I could have wished for and the whole event was a great success for the business and raising our brand profile.

I'm now picking up new techie terms every day, from Drush to Puppet and not forgetting the cURLS

Most recently, I've been working on proposals for our larger clients including the British Council, the British Epilepsy Association and launching TES Growing Ambitions.  

Its also been a hugely productive month in the hosting department, despite being a member of staff down there have been several new launches and lots of progress towards automating provisioning of new servers (hat tip to Peter L .)

Finally, I'm preparing the office ready for our new starters as the recent recruitment drive has been going well.  We are always on the look out for new staff members though so do keep in touch.

Here are some highlights of my first 6 weeks living in Drupal world:

  • Learning what its like to share an office with 8 techies

  • Meeting and speaking to our lovely clients

  • Seeing that despite the doom and gloom spread about the recession, that businesses who are ripe and ready for work can thrive

  • Meeting the lovely folk at Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus who constantly strive to support our businesses

  • Meeting Prince Andrew HRH who came to launch the new Enterprise Zone building Vanguard House

  • Attending T-Shirts and Suits coffee morning hosted by David Parish at the beautiful new Leaf Cafe on Bold Street

  • Seeing Mike C – one of our directors being interviewed for BBC Granada news

  • Rallying the team to take part in “organised fun” including quiz nights and our contribution to the British Epilepsy Association tea party charity fundraiser

  • Eating my body weight in biscuits whilst introducing the team to my weird and wonderful tea collection

I'm now looking forward to planning how I can continue to drive forward the Ixis business plan and get more enthusiastic developers, site technicians and linux sys administrators through the door as we try to keep up with demand.

So this time in 6 weeks whilst you are warming your mince pies by the fire getting ready for Santa to bring you one of our Druplicon Stress Balls, I'll still be dreaming of a Drupal Christmas.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web