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Drupal Case Study

Headless Drupal Development Helps Skiers Find Resort Information Quickly

Boreal Mountain Resort’s prevailing goal is to get skiers to the mountain quicker, a philosophy that drove the site’s design and development.

Hoorooh Digital came to Elevated Third after vetting many CMS solutions. Elevated Third was selected for its Drupal 8 expertise and eagerness to work on a headless Drupal project. 

Elevated Third worked with Hoorooh on the development of the site. Decoupling the front and back ends allowed the team to retain the structure and great admin experience provided by Drupal 8, while using a modern JavaScript framework for the front end.

Why Headless Drupal?

In the simplest terms, on a headless Drupal site, the user is not actually interacting with Drupal, but with a front-end framework. This solution left Boreal’s options wide opened on the front end while providing an extremely stable CMS solution on the back end. Development and design were able to happen quickly.

A headless Drupal solution offered a powerful and flexible solution that allowed for sites to be spun up quickly, something Drupal 8 is capable of alone. But in this case, a headless allowed more customization for the client. Boreal Mountain Resort is part of a large system of 18 ski areas. By going headless, Elevated Third will be able to develop an unlimited number of sites under the framework, using the same codebase on the front end.

Prior to this project, Powdr Resorts, Boreal's parent company, was suffering for their disparate systems and an inability to quickly update the many sites connected to the brand. Elevated Third wanted the resort owners to focus on its business, not site updates. Ultimately, headless Drupal saved Elevated Third time and its client money.

Drupal 8 Development

A successfully decoupled build requires a solid back-end foundation. Drupal 8 is perfectly suited to provide this foundation as its content architecture can be adapted to serve limitless opportunities on the front end.

With this in mind, Elevated Third's back-end development centered around a componentized site build. This approach is based around building small, focused elements that can be combined in different ways to create reusable pieces of content. The advantage is that components are easy to share and tweak to serve other purposes within the broader scope of the website. Unlike some development methods, we are not limited by the number of page templates we can create, and don’t spend time rebuilding the same elements on several pages. Elevated Third's developers create components that can be easily compiled to form an endless amount of page configurations.

Building from components provides a consistent and reliable code base because page elements are simply adapted from pre-existing components, allowing for massive gains in efficiency and reliability.

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Hoorooh’s Headless Front-End Design

With a customized back-end admin suite in place, Hoorooh Digital jumped in to lead front-end design and development. A headless Drupal approach freed up Elevated Third's friends at Hoorooh to push forward with an immersive front-end experience that is tailored to the Boreal brand identity. Hoorooh’s design process brings the expertise of all team members to the table so the process is streamlined and results are seamless.

Acquia’s Support

The flexibility of the Acquia platform matched perfectly with Boreal’s decoupled website. For this reason, Acquia was selected as a hosting and support partner for this project. With Acquia’s backing, Elevated Third was able to build the resort’s site faster and with fewer roadblocks.

Built for expansion

Headless Drupal leaves Boreal with even more room for scalability going forward. New updates, such as weather reports and conditions, will be quick to add and configure within the decoupled system so as the site matures, it retains a dynamism and liveliness that will help bring the mountain even closer to eager adventurers.

Elevated Third partnered with Hoorooh Digital to launch a fully decoupled, headless Drupal 8 site for Boreal Mountain Resort.
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We went through a very thorough cost, benefit ratio analysis to choose a CMS that fit the customer and business as a whole. Drupal was an easy choice." - Chris Cruz, Co-Founder of Hoorooh Digital

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