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Scripps Entrepreneurial Ventures
United States
News and Media

RedBlueAmerica is a news-and-debate website we designed and developed for The E. W. Scripps Company. From the press release:

The site will serve as an ongoing public forum for a full array of user- generated content, including blogs, personal profiles, videos and more. While focusing at the outset on the 2008 election campaigns, RedBlueAmerica intends to provide the public with an open forum for a wide range of cultural and political views long after the votes have been counted….

With some extensive use of CCK combined with some fancy theming, we developed a site where a neutral article can be displayed along with two opinionated articles — representing the “red” and “blue” political perspectives — that address the same topic. Also added are blogs, polls, a custom poll section called “Truth or Not?” and some less obvious features, such as private messaging.

The traffic projections were such that we had to anticipate and prepare for some fairly robust traffic and posting activity on the site, so we spec’d out and configured an enterprise-level multi-server hosting setup. We did some additional benchmarking and performance tuning to bring the site performance up.

The not-quite-standard page layout, and targeted Doubleclick advertising placement requirements, led to some interesting challenges in theming, including separating the comments (labeled “thoughts” on the site) from the nodes (aka “posts” for readers not familiar with Drupal), which ordinarily would load in tandem, so as to pull them up in separate containers on the page. (We could only blame ourselves for any interesting challenges due to the design, since we did the design ourselves.) Also fun was coding up the custom voting widget on the main topics, which involved some custom image mapping tied in with the voting API, with some jQuery goodness thrown in for good measure.

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