MIT Press AllBooks Importer

When the MIT Press needed to bring new product information into their website from their back-end database, Savas Labs came through with an automated importer module that did the job in a flexible and extensible way.

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Project highlights:

  • Drupal 6

  • Custom module development

  • Drupal admin interface customization

  • Unit testing

Project highlights

The MIT Press is the only university press in the United States whose list is based in science and technology. MIT Press publishes about 200 new books a year and over 30 journals.

The Objective

As new books come to press, the MIT Press needs to keep information on titles and authors on their client-facing website synced with the data in their back-end data store. To replace their quarterly manual import process, the Press needed an automated import solution to seamlessly import new and updated data without interrupting the live site.

Class hierarchy of importer objects.

Our Approach

We evaluated the existing import modules for Drupal 6 and settled on developing a custom Drupal module to validate and enqueue data exports from the AllBooks database, then use an object-oriented framework to update and/or create Drupal nodes based on the imported data. We also developed a reporting framework and a suite of tests to ensure that the importer is working according to spec.

Reporting interface shows import results for site administrators.

The Results

Our importer processed MIT Press’s next import of new titles smoothly with a minimum of manual input. We’ve continued to work with the Press to further customize field mappings and import processes as new fields come online in the AllBooks database, and to handle new kinds of imports, including eBooks.

A title node, with content populated by the importer.

It’s a genuine pleasure to encounter a transparent, systematic development team that clearly knows their environment backwards and forwards (and schools us in sound methodology). I wish we’d found you four years ago.

— Jake Furbush, MIT Press Digital Publishing Manager (2009 - 2015)

The Details

  Client since 2014 - present
  Services provided
  Technologies used

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