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Website Case Study: Global Online Magazine

Website Case Study: Global Online Magazine

They wanted a news site developed that could be easily replicated across several domains — each with a custom design — for each of their publications. Enter Joomla! and K2.

The brief was to create something that they could easily manage themselves with the ability to upload new content and multimedia as and when they were written, but with controls over when it was published. The user should be shown related content based on what they were currently reading and it should contain all the features of The Economist and The Financial Times combined.

Although The Economist was made in Drupal, we decided to use the Joomla! CMS coupled with the K2 content manager. This ensured a much quicker turnaround and an extremely cost effective solution since much less complex development work was required.

Special Reports

A section was created to showcase IC Publications special reports each month with an expandable slider in the right side column to show featured reports by their category. A K2 Category was created with an image for each of the 3 categories of reports. Then each report was a category of its own with a set template inheriting parameters from an unpublished template special report. The user can just copy and paste to create new reports and write a collection of articles within.

The module to the right is actually 3 customised K2 Content modules within the Diamonds tab module. To customise the K2 module, we simply copy and pasted the mod_k2content folder, changed the name and a few class names and discovered it again via the Admin page. Then we changed the PHP so that it knew which report you were currently viewing so as not to include that in the module (you dont want to see a report cover to click on whilst you're already in it).


They have 5 dedicated bloggers and a guest blog spot. We created personalised K2 user accounts for each blogger where they could write a short bio about themselves, upload a profile picture and link to any of their related social media accounts. We found a K2 plugin for the LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter urls and added the generic the magazine Twitter feed into the template so it appears on all profiles (see FT for example).

Each blogger's page has their latest posts along with their bio, personal RSS feed subscription link, personal tag cloud driven by keywords in their posts and a calendar with days highlighted based on dates they wrote that month. This was all powered by K2 modules out of the box with slight modifications using template overrides.

Issue Management

There was a requirement to upload issues as they were written and auto-publish them based on the release date of the print magazine. Also, they wanted certain articles only available in the print edition that month to appear in the contents page as locked until a set date when the next issue came out upon which time it could be read.

The above was achieved by simply populating the online contents page with all articles created for the month requested - very dynamic and no management required other than setting the correct creation date. A picture of the magazine's cover is also displayed for that month by attaching an image to a K2 Category called February 2012 and attaching that to a menu item – also called February 2012. Then we created a custom template for K2 for that type of category called Issue, which grabbed all articles from that month from the database, sorting them into their subcategories and locking the ones that weren’t for public consumption yet (still in print). See link below for an example and try clicking a locked article with a padlock to the left:



As with most large magazines, someone else handles their subscriptions so we merely created a page with links for each of their titles to the relevant application forms.


The homepage creates a snapshot of the magazine’s featured content. Those 50 or so articles separated into panels are all configurable by the webmaster by either them selecting latest 5 per section in which case it updates as new ones are added or by them clicking a featured button next to the article in the backend.

A most read and most commented panel like that on the Guardian's website is also a feature of the homepage. Again, using K2s Content module twice and placing them in the Diamonds tab module.

There is also a featured news ticker that gathers related news from around the web and an interactive events calendar.

Finally, they have a space to advertise in two places and also show videos and their latest tweets.

Getting around the site

Articles are placed in categories for organisation, but can also be tagged with keywords for another level of content management. This allows tag clouds relevant to the current site area to be easily displayed.

A global search is featured in the header and also a local search on the right panel in the features section and blog sections.


The webmaster can create new articles, menu items, sections, events, users and configure modules via the backend of the CMS. The site is fully content managed and since handing it over we have had almost no queries.

There are various user levels that can be setup to control who in the organisation can publish, edit, add, delete and access set areas. These are even customisable so an administrator can create unique roles e.g. Backend access only to add articles to the interviews section but no ability to publish them.

Lead Developer Bio:

Adam D’arcy discovered Joomla! whilst working in a small agency 4 years ago. He began his own Digital Agency specialising in Joomla! websites two years ago and now has a portfolio of more than 50 sites. His team has Joomla!, PHP, MySQL, Graphic Design and Mobile development skills.

Development Team

  • Adam D’arcy – Lead Developer
  • Craig Marsh – Client Manager
  • Mike Waterworth – PHP Developer
  • Jody Hellen – Joomla! Developer

Joomla Extensions Used

Please contact us at Web Design London for more information.



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