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In 2009, Givewell contacted Ebizon to create a custom theme Ebgivebetter for their site www.givewell.org. They again contacted us in 2011, and asked us to upgrade their site from Drupal 5 to Drupal 7.

Initially, the site was built in an open source CMS platform – Drupal 5. With the increasing traffic on the site, the client contacted Ebizon NetInfo in the year 2009, the Ebizon team works on the theme and maintenance of the repository of the site.

Givewell – The site was badly in need of a new theme

As the site grew in size and began to expand its reach, maintaining the growing repository became a challenge for Givewell’s team. In 2009, Givewell realized that their website required a new theme that would reflect Givewell’s theme. Now they needed a development team with the required expertise.

Ebizon helped Givewell by developing a custom theme “Ebgivebetter” ; the team also worked on the maintenance of the repository of the site.  Within 2 months of the launch, the new website reached a lucrative segment of the population.


Givewell – built on Drupal 5; started phasing out in 2011, the era of Drupal 7

In 2011, when the site was further evaluated by the Ebizon team, several issues were found – as the modules and the repository were getting obsolete, the site was phasing out. Considering the constant increase in site traffic, the website required to be upgraded to the latest version of Drupal. While Drupal 7 was in, Givewell was behind the race with Drupal 5 as its CMS.

As the website was under maintenance for last 2 years, upgrading it was a challenge!


With Drupal upgrade, new features were added to the site

The growing website of Givewell required new features, the new wishlist included:

•        To create an in-depth site that was flexible and easy to use.

•        The ability to authenticate each new user before allowing for full access to the site.

•        The ability to upload and share blogs on site.

•        The ability to manage the email updates on the site.

•        To provide users with an easy to use content specific search system.

•        The ability to maintain the data repository.

•        To provide a level of security.

•        The ability to add and manage the content only at the administrator’s hand.


Challenges met while upgrading the site

Upgrading the custom modules and themes – All the custom modules were upgraded separately as per the Drupal 7 standards

Compatibility of contributed modules – One of the contributed modules required for the site was available in Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 but not in Drupal 7; custom upgrade was performed for this contributed module. 

Occurrence of Junk characters – Because of the occurrence of junk characters in the content, the representation of the content in the tables was not in proper format. For resolving the problem, developers identified all the junk characters and performed separate scripting for them


Planned, updated, tested and then upgraded!

Drupal Developers at Ebizon believes that it is better to plan an upgrade before implementing it to a system, as an upgrade process include changes to the core and hence, planning the upgrade reduces the risk involved in moving from one version to another. The risk can be a loss of information from the database or an improper working of the upgraded system.

Team updated the site, tested it and then upgraded it

Sam Zaman is a technology analyst, multi-topic blogger, with a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns.