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Website development made simple with Drutopia

March 5, 2020
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For a number of years now, one of our key focuses at Chocolate Lily has been the development of the Drutopia distribution for Drupal 8. While that has consumed huge amounts of time, including feature building, module writing to handle configuration management and planning and coordinating among the leadership team, there hasn’t been a lot of time spent on actually building sites with our tools.

That started to shift in the last year and as a way to get to know our tools better, we have jumped into producing sites for ourselves and family. As always, the best way to test out how things are working is to get busy and start using them. And so far the results are feeling pretty positive.

My first foray into building with Drutopia was launching my own walking blog. I had an earlier blog built on Open Outreach (our Drupal 7 distribution), that I’d used for writing about family travel. But now with the kids all grown up, Nedjo and I were turning to long distance walking and I wanted to write about that.

Walking Away turned out to be a great fit for Drutopia. Although we’ve always envisioned Drutopia as being for activist and grassroots groups, it also works well for many other use cases. Ultimately my walking site is a blog with lots of visually appealing photos to work with.

Because Drutopia is built in a modular way, when installing you choose to enable only the content types you need. There is enough to get going without being overwhelming and the sample blocks on the homepage enable you to quickly swap in your own images and text, and presto bingo you’re away.


Screebshot of Walking Away blog site.
The home page hero image provides an easy way to add colour and vibrancy to your site.

My site has a few tweaks not yet part of the standard Drutopia install, since I wanted to be able to separate out my blog posts by trips and also wanted to be able to page those posts so a user could move easily from one post to another. This also highlights an appeal to working with a solid base distro. You can use what you need, and then fine tune if there are slight changes needed for one’s own site.

I built and went live with the site in between trips knowing that having an initial trip documented would make it easier to ensure that I did the same after my next adventure. Upon returning from four weeks of walking in Spain this past autumn, it was easy to transcribe my daily journal entries, add in my photos and in a matter of days have the site up-to-date.


Screenshot of blog posts about walking the Via de la Plata.
The blog listing page using the card display mode (which shows an image, title and the summary) provides an appealing format.

My blog is geared to walking enthusiasts and is purely a hobby with no monetary purpose, but as I work on it it gives me pleasure to know that it was so simple to pull it together using Drutopia.