Skip directly to content

Sunshine State News

Drupal Version: 
This website looks great on mobile devices!
Why does this website deserve to win?: 

"Sunshine State News", or "SSN". distributes up-to-the-minute political news content, images and video. Published news is created in-house by a team of staff reporters, photographers, editors and columnists. As an added twist, the site also accepts and publishes viewer/user submitted content, called a ‘snap’, similar to CNN’s "iReport".

Another source of site content is third-party RSS feeds aggregated by the site and stored as nodes. Feed sources are either trusted or not. Feeds from trusted sources are published on the site automatically. Other feeds go through the SSN editorial process. Each feed source is assigned a site section (taxonomy) and, if trusted, feeds will be automatically assigned and published to the appropriate section.

SSN’s home page could be a case study in itself. Unlike other site sections where content is published as a news flow or blog, the SSN home page posts news in a controlled environment with pre-established, scheduled editions and flexible layout option for editors.

But the functionality doesn’t stop there—the site also offers polls, vendor ads, newsletters, "print/send to a friend" and "search" functionality. SSN is also mobile friendly and can switch to a mobile theme for wireless devices.

Website Launch Date: 
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
How It Was Done (optional): 

Challenges and Solutions:

One of the most challenging features of the site was the Snap gallery view and video upload. We started using an off-the-shelf component called SlideshowPro. It is a terrific flash gallery component, can be customized to a certain extent and is controlled with XML, but it could not support YouTube video. We wrote a custom module based on Views Slideshow module, which implemented the Snap player using javascript.

SSN required an upload capacity of up to 2GB videos in misc. formats which would be transcoded into FLV. Initially we planned to use video transcoding on the hosting server which would be transcoded into FLV. After an informative consultation with Acquia, we ultimately used the Video Upload module. The only customization required was pushing videos in Private mode by default to YouTube. This was necessary because SSN’s videos are edited prior to publication.

Technology Breakdown:

We used ProsePoint Drupal for SSN — we think it’s the best news publishing Drupal package available. It is end-user oriented, friendly and easy-to-use.

Key Features:

Editions — based on Composite Layout module.
Channels — based on Taxonomy module.
Images/Media — high quality integration of images and video files with WYSIWYG.
Drupal Module Customization:

The media piece from ProsePoint was completely rewritten to feature YouTube as the video content source.

For newsletters we used Constant Contact and a module to integrate it with Drupal.
There is also an image-cropping feature for reporters (modified Imagefield Crop and Node clone modules).

We used a multiple image upload module, Image FUpload and adapted the Video Upload module for the Snap upload user tool.

Owner's name: 
Sunshine State News
Development Company: 
Blink Reaction
Blink Reaction is a leader in Enterprise Drupal Development, delivering robust, high-performance websites for dynamic companies. Through expertise in seamless integration, module customization, and application development, Blink creates scalable and flexible web solutions that provide the best in dynamic user experience.

Drupal Community Comments

Voting for SSN as Best Media Website and Drupal Website of the Year.