Darbar are a charitable trust dedicated to Indian Music. This was the largest project that i worked on with Art Director Anil Nataly.
It was a behemoth of a project, featuring hundreds of pages of content which all closely interlinked and all had to be easily manageable from within a CMS.
The website took over three months full time to build, the mobile website took approximately half of that.
Built on ExpressionEngine
The huge spec for the Darbar website made it very difficult to choose a CMS. Originally my thought was that the size of the site meant that a custom build was the way forward. However eventually settled on using ExpressionEngine. ExpressEngine is a very bare bones CMS and allowed me to do the extensive coding that was required for the build, while the CMS was taking care of all the bread and butter stuff, such as commenting systems, advanced users admin, etc.
Mobile Vs. Responsive
Responsive design was still very much in its infancy when this project was conceived. There were also features throughout the site that would not easily translate to mobile devices. As such it was decided to make the desktop website responsive to tablet size and then have a separate, dedicated website for mobile devices. This redirect was achieved with a relatively basic browser sniff and meant we could serve a optimised mobile site without loading all the bulk and overhead that came with the desktop website.
When i first saw the design for this slider, i had seen nothing like it before – yes we did this before BBC implemented a similar effect on their homepage. Making this cross browser compatible and responsive to tablet required a fair bit of fiddling and kept me up to the early hours.
The core functionality of the events calendar came from SolSpaces Cal plugin. However, we modified this somewhat to meet the spec. This included the AJAX calendar that you can see on the front page of the website. It powers post the whats on a section and the Darbar festival section of the website.
Extensive API Integration
I integrated the CMS to work seamlessly with Youtube, Flickr, Vimeo, Sound Cloud and Campaign Manager API’s. I was particuarly satisfied with Campaign Manager integration which allowed for easy adding of mailing list sign ups to campaign manager from within the main Darbar site, along with some other data manipulation for storage by Darbar.
Tidy Team Work
The whole project required an extremely tight working relationship with the festivals artistic director (Sandeep Virdee) and the festivals brand guardian (Anil Nataly). We talked extensively throughout every day of the build and worked to create something that met Sandeep’s functional requirements, Anil’s visions and then the realities of coding.
The website was officially launched at the opening of the 2012 Darbar Festival by the head of Arts Council England, who heaped praise upon myself and Bigeyebrow for our work. The website was used throughout the weekend by festival attendants as a mobile programme – it felt great to see so many people using the site.
Post Launch Optimisation
A year after the website was originally launched we got to revisit the project.
We went through and optimised the code in every conceivable way, we also implemented a solid caching system and on many pages we were able to half the original load time.
Unfortunately when i moved to Bulb Studios, we were unable to reach an agreement whereby both parties could benefit from the project, and we parted ways.
For me, no other project has taken as much of me, I put everything I had into Darbar, quite literally my blood, sweat and tears. This was one of the key projects that formed me into the web developer I am today.