April’s Site of the Month has been awarded to TVNZ’s Re: News. This exciting new platform was created by Isobar, a skilled digital agency and SilverStripe Professional Partner based in Auckland, New Zealand.
Isobar is a leading digital agency based in Auckland, New Zealand. They blend creativity and technology to transform and grow their clients’ businesses, creating best-in-class experiences that customers love.
A local agency with global resources, Isobar is the world’s leading digital agency, with 6,000 people in 85 locations across 45 markets globally.
Launched in February 2019, Re: News aims to become New Zealand’s biggest publisher of authentic, youth-focused journalism and an incubator for the next generation of New Zealand journalists. The platform gives young people a chance to create, curate, share, and report on what matters to them and the people in their community.
To bring this vision to life, Isobar worked with Re: News to build an inclusive content platform which is unbiased, unapologetic, honest, and diverse—housing the latest youth-focused opinions on New Zealand culture, news, and events.
Due to the large amount of video produced each week by the Re: News team, Isobar decided that BrightCove should be the source of truth for all content published to the website. To achieve this, an import solution was custom built for BrightCove to meet various requirements, including:
- Multiple video uploads per day
- Ability to remove / deactivate content on BrightCove
- Ability to set up specified publishing timeframes for certain content
- Easily changing tagging, categories, and content within BrightCove and having it feed into the website
- Heavy caching of content and using BrightCove video and imagery rather than serving it from the CMS
One of the key challenges here was categorisation of content, which BrightCove doesn’t allow for in the same terms. To overcome this, the Isobar team worked with Re: News to designate a specific folder structure on the BrightCove end which could be mapped to categories on the CMS.
The import works by queueing changes from the BrightCove system, continuously processing this, and pushing to the web front end—updating and adding content, tags, categories, and video as necessary.
The website uses SilverStripe Cache Include as its main caching engine, in full request mode. Work was completed to ensure that this caching frontend allowed for the server to perform as few requests to databases and external sources as possible, with many optimisations made after running load testing with the SilverStripe Cloud Platform team.
SilverStripe GraphQL Server was used to populate frontend data and run queries against datasets which create search filters and some of the customisation seen on the homepage. Caching these endpoints using full request caching from Cache Include allowed for the site to remain performant while under a large number of queries to this endpoint. Splitting the configuration to achieve dedicated endpoints for the website vs. the default CMS endpoint also allowed for this to run with maximum performance.
Single Page Admin and Catalog Manager
As with most Isobar projects, the CMS was fully customised and built to be a breeze to use. Utilising SilverStripe Single Page Admin and SilverStripe Catalog Manager allowed the Isobar team to build quick access to the required information, while exposing it neatly using Rhym’s SilverStripe CMS Theme to keep the CMS beautiful and on-brand.
In launching the Re: News platform, TVNZ have praised Isobar’s strategic, technical, and creative approach.
“We have great ambitions for the launch of Re: News and in delivering something brand new to the market, and we required a digital agency aligned with our vision,” said Hamish Russell, Engagement Producer at TVNZ’s Re: News.
“Throughout the pitch process, Isobar demonstrated that they could deliver a digital platform that would represent what Re: News will stand for both as a brand and publisher, and we believe they are the right partner to support our move into the future of online content and cultural commentary.”
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