Giving the Keys to Our Clients: An Interview with Tern Bicycle's Terry Chen

Helping Clients

Part of the reason I love Drupal is that it treats everyone as a potential developer. The fact that the code is publicly available, that it is created collectively in the issue queues on Drupal.org, and the documentation is relatively easy to access are all parts of the equation. With some time and interest almost anyone can get involved and start building sites.

 

I believe that this is one of the biggest values of Drupal. A value we work to leverage for our clients. We are Drupal evangelists so teaching and encouraging folks to build sites is just part of our nature. We can't help it. We have structured this into our interactions with clients through our public and private trainings and try to build this into all of our client relationships.

 

That is why we are so pleased when our clients can take that next step from users to site builders. I outlined New York's Downtown Community Television Center took this next step. We not only built their site but also trained them and included them in our development workflow. Now they are able to enhance and maintain their site with limited assistance from us.

 

Similarly we are proud to highlight our relationship with Tern Bicycles and to announce their new site: http://ternbicycles.com.

 

We began our relationship with Tern by building their former flagship site. See our writeup on Drupal.org: Dahon Folding Bicycles Since the launch over a year ago the folks at Tern have been very busy. They've launched several new products and a new line of bicycles.

 

During that time their team has also learned a large amount about building Drupal sites. We gave them guidance on setting up a development environment and best practices. They used some of the great Drupal documentation and built their Biologic Accessories line http://www.thinkbiologic.com with limited assistance from us. They did much of the site building and most of the theming for: http://ternbicylces.com

Below I discuss with Tern Bicycle's Terry Chen what it was like learning Drupal and moving from a user to a site builder and themer.

 

What was your technical background before using Drupal?

I was in charge of a large static site, which compromised of over 1,500+ pages.  I am well versed in writing html and css code.

 

Why did you select Drupal to use to build your sites?

The 1,500+ page site was manageable but slowly becoming unwieldy.  The main goal of the new site would be to easily translate and build a site for different countries.  

 

We looked at the big content management systems on the market and actually decided to use Joomla!.  We based our decision on the recommendation of a co-worker who has had previous experience working with Joomla! and the numerous criticisms about how difficult it was to learn Drupal.  We feared that our less tech-savvy customers would not be able to use Drupal.

We knew that whatever system we selected would have to fulfill our present as well as our future requirements.  After we made our decision, I installed both systems on my computer and strangely enough I didn’t understand Joomla! but understood how to use Drupal pretty quickly.  I could also see how powerful and flexible Drupal was in comparison.  I knew right away that Drupal was the software for our organization. 

My co-workers didn’t completely agree with me but backed me up and every day we are grateful that we decided to use Drupal.

What were you able to build with Drupal?

Since 2009, we have moved all of our sites (except one), externally and internally, to Drupal.  We currently are running 6 different sites powered by Drupal for our company.  We have 2 internal sites and 4 external sites running on Drupal.

 

What was the most challenging element of building a site with Drupal?

I am most familiar with Drupal 6.  As mentioned before, Drupal is an extremely powerful program.  However, sometimes it is too powerful and at times it becomes confusing what the best way is to build the site.  We had to quickly learn which modules to use and how to effectively use them.  Also there was uncertainty of not knowing if a developer would stop development of a module.  Zivtech quickly steered us down the correct path. 

 

 

What has been the most rewarding part of working with Drupal?

 

When I get website requests, I can now say, “Yes, that’s possible”.  Our site has gone from looking nice to being a real tool. It has almost become too easy to build a site.  Last summer I built a full site in about 2 weeks.

 

How did Zivtech make it easier to build off of what we created for you?

I worked with Zivtech on two sites for our organization.  The first site we were complete newbies to the world of Drupal.  We needed a lot of hand-holding and Zivtech taught me what the best practices are when building a site in Drupal. I learned so much from that experience that for our latest project together, our new Tern Bicycles website, I told them that I could work on the design, theming and site configuration while they worked on the heavy coding on the backend. 

And this is why I love working with Zivtech.  Not only are they great teachers, but also the team is flexible enough to work in the way that we need.  In a short time, I went from being a passive member in the development process to being an active participant.  Zivtech has slowly dragged me into the world of git and Terminal.

Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg
Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

Co-Founder / CEO

With nearly two decades of professional technology experience, Alex oversees all business functions at Zivtech and Probo.ci, from sales and marketing, to client relations, human resources, and business strategy.

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