Full Site Buildout: Part 3 - Going Live...

Part 3 of a series: Building out a full Drupal site in a weekend.

Now that my feet are firmly on the ground (and hopefully will stay that way for a time), I have a little time to write about the final stages of the Open Source Catholic website development... even though it's tagged as in 'beta.'

Open Source Catholic Screenshot

On the plane flight home, I was mostly finished creating the theme for the site. I hadn't opened it up in IE 6/7/8 yet, but I knew the main three or four bugs that would crop up, and prepared for them. I decided to write some postings (two articles, two blog posts, and a website review) for the website, as it's never a good idea to try to build momentum for a website on which nothing exists!

I wrote the posts, edited them a little, then browsed every page on the site once or twice, fixing little CSS bugs and tweaking the design until it was just-so. I had created the header image in Photoshop, and I worked to make it so it would be easy to change if I needed to—especially when (if ever) the site goes out of beta status.

Next, I did a little (VERY little) performance testing, and made sure things were working well on the backend. I didn't Boost the site (I don't think that'll be necessary... at least not yet), but I did turn on page caching, CSS and JavaScript aggregation, and am working on following the rest of the YSlow rules.

The second-to-last step on this site was to open it in Internet Explorer 7 and 8 (I haven't tested 6 yet) to make sure there were no show-stopping bugs. Luckily, there really weren't; just one column that kept floating right behind the content. I fixed that by floating the 'second' column to the right instead of left, and adjusting its margins accordingly.

The last step I have is to monitor the site's performance and metrics, test from an end-user's perspective, and make sure the 'moderator' role has the right permissions/access to do everything he or she will need to to keep the site in tip-top shape.

I haven't tried the Flag module yet, but I may at some point; seems pretty interesting to me! Also, I'm going to try to submit the theme, "Airy Blue," to Drupal.org's theme repository... wish me luck!