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Information architecture for site builders

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The aim of this presentation is to make you a better site builder. By thinking clearly about the data you need to capture and manage, you will be more easily able to meet your website architecture goals. The talk will be fast moving and touch on a number of different areas including aspects, types, relationships and facets. Traditional data modelling concepts will be introduced and then related to Drupal concepts.

The talk is aimed at an intermediate audience who:

  1. is familiar with the basic building blocks of Drupal (content types, nodes, vocabularies, terms, fields) and
  2. would like to learn more about how they can be best put together.


Exploring different ways of thinking about site building.

  • Separation of concerns.
  • Horizontal vs Vertical components.
  • Implications for content types, presentation and features.


Schemas on the web are multi typed.

  • Inspiration from and
  • Modelling multi typed things in Drupal.
  • Field groups, field reuse, entity relationships.


Building complex entities with Nary relations.

  • How is it done on the web: RDF and Topic Maps.
  • EntityReference vs Relation approaches.
  • Building other structures with EntityReference.

Faceted classification

The use of facets

  • Taxonomy hierarchies and their problems.
  • What are facets?
  • Tips for facet design.
  • Facet candidates.

It'd be great to start a conversation about other patterns from which we can draw inspiration. Bring your ideas along and we can talk about them in question time or after the talk.

Schedule info
Time slot: 
Friday, February 8 - 2:15pm-3:15pm
Oceanic Ballroom East
Session Info
Experience level: 


Hey guys, Thanks to everyone who came along to the session and for all the great questions asked. I really enjoyed it.

If you have any comments to add to the session, I'd love to hear them. What ideas do you have for applying outside patterns and ideas to the site building process?

During the QA session, PHP "traits" were mentioned as a concept. That was something new to me and possibly would have been a better example to use than interfaces as I did in the slides. The "entity reference" reference approach a la display -> product as used in Commerce project would seem to enable this approach. eg. The linked entity could contain business logic which can use drupal hooks to insert the traits.

It was a great DrupalCon. Thanks again to the DA, organisers, speakers, volunteers, attendees and crew.