Quadrant AG - a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical - is a globally active manufacturer of thermoplastic materials in the field of high-performance plastics. These semi-finished, finished and injection moulded parts are used in various industrial sectors such as medical technology, food processing, the automotive industry and many others. The group has manufacturing facilities and representatives in a total of 21 countries on five continents.
in2code GmbH was commissioned by Quadrant AG to update the TYPO3 version of the company's website. In concrete terms, this means an update from LTS version 6.2 to 8.7. An adaptation of the layout is not planned in the first step. A first analysis revealed the diverse use of outdated TYPO3 extensions, which had to be replaced with the update. The goal was the dismantling of many individual and outdated functions to TYPO3 on-board resources. In addition to the reduction of technical debts, this conversion guarantees simple and economically justifiable updates in the future.
The described technology change required an extensive migration plan for the content. Already generated content had to be reused without loss and with as little manual rework as possible. Thus, page content (TemplaVoila, accordions, tabs, etc...), pages, metadata, addresses, news, videos and categories were migrated automatically. A task that is a challenge in itself. In view of 18 different languages with individually adjustable fallback options and the use of TYPO3 workspaces, this was an exciting scenario. The generated migration script ran for about 6 hours in the end in order to adapt content and its meta information as best as possible. Thus, elements of the Accordeon type (fold-out content) within tabs and tab containers within grids could be automatically prepared.
"Talking simply about challenges does not even begin to describe the scope of this migration," says Alexander Kellner, technical project manager responsible for the migration: "The multitude of possible combinations of individual page content with even more possibilities of the individually adjustable language fallback brought technology and colleagues to their limits. I am all the more proud of the overall result, which was only possible as a team effort".
Specially created flexible content replaces old content of the type "TemplaVoila FCE" if a conversion to normal page content was not possible. A solution for individual multiple splitters rounds off the possible uses of the page content. Our extension ipandlanguageredirect solves an individual redirection of visitors to the most suitable language version based on browser languages and the visitor's region.
Existing extensions have been replaced by modern alternatives. Contacts, maps, videos and case studies with a focus on easy usability of editors can now be used. Generic elements such as accordions, tabs, lightboxes or grids now make it possible to use the existing page content in a variety of ways. Solr, a powerful and individually configurable search engine, is used again after the launch to prepare the search results of the web search ideally. Here contents and files can be found with few Klicks in the respective language. The TYPO3 workspaces have been completely replaced by our content publisher. Content can thus be prepared and transferred from the editors to the production server at the push of a button.
In addition to the work on the application, in2code GmbH has also been commissioned to set up and maintain the web server architecture. Our server team designed seven separate TYPO3 instances on automatically provisioned servers with the aim of delivering the website as efficiently as possible to all time zones of the world. A connection to the CDN of Amazon Cloudfront allows the enjoyment of the assets (images, videos, etc...) by the visitors with the best possible speed - for example also in China. The use of our Content Publisher allows a further hardening of the website against hackers. Constant monitoring and the installation of a zero-downtime deployment further round off the service.
"In this project, we are using Docker for the first time in a productive environment and are amazed at the advantages that have been achieved for us and the customer within a very short time," says Martin Huber, CTO and head of the server team.
Looking to the future
Parallel to the update, a product finder solution was designed and implemented. Such an extension allows an easy search for products on the website. An interface to the product database provides TYPO3 with all necessary information. The extension will soon be available to visitors. Another big topic for all involved is the possibility of a professional translation of page contents into a multitude of languages. We are currently working together on an integration into TYPO3 that is as easy to use as possible.
We look forward to working with Quadrant AG in the future to break new ground on the web.