On Wednesday, February 11, the ABA E-Commerce Solution announced the start of the migration of all store websites to Drupal, an "open-source" Content Management System (CMS). A small number of stores have been beta testing the new platform over the past several months.
Drupal, which was developed and is maintained by a large community of programmers, allows for easy redesign, the addition of new modules, and the upgrade of old ones quickly, keeping the system up to date with other technologies. This flexibility also allows programmers to design different templates, or Themes, which can be purchased online, or even built proprietarily for a particular store. "Even 'right out of the box,' the Drupal version that we're using (v.5) offers more than two dozen available Themes," said Ricky Leung, director of ABA's E-Commerce Solution. "In short, Drupal offers us the flexibility of development that our staff requires, as well as the features that bookstores have been asking for."
To start the migration process, the E-Commerce Solution staff will be creating a new, albeit empty, website for each store and providing instructions on how to create an account at the new site, and more. After taking possession of their new sites, booksellers will have a few weeks to get a feel for it.
ABA staff will be offering online training sessions beginning Monday, February 23, to make sure that booksellers start on the right foot. Training sessions will generally be held at noon ET on Mondays and will take anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours. Sessions are limited by the software to 15 participants each and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Since initial training sessions will be held once a week and spaces are expected to fill up quickly, stores are being asked to provide staff with several possible Monday dates in March, April, or May.
In order to give stores an idea of how the site, and the training, will work, ABA staff has created instructional videos, which can be accessed with a BookWeb log-in. When booksellers feel comfortable with the new controls, ABA will arrange for their existing content to be migrated to the new site. More advanced follow-up training will then be offered on Thursdays or Fridays.
There currently is no set deadline for the complete migration of all sites, but it is anticipated that migration to the new system will become mandatory by sometime in late spring.
Booksellers with questions about the migration should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.