Paragon: A Drupal 8 Base Build For Client Success

ArticleMarch 3, 2017

Elevated Third uses Drupal because the power and tools it provides are second to none in the industry.  The ease and efficiency to create content driven sites and applications allow us to focus on the requirements and specifications that are unique to our clients.  We can spend less time building redundant functionality, and instead are able to put time and energy into refining our recipe of core, contributed and custom plug ins, all to improve our client’s experience.

Our continued commitment to reducing project budgets and improving deliverables has lead us to create a custom base build we have dubbed Paragon.

Paragon, at its heart, is a configuration of the powerful Drupal 8 core, with a collection of modules that improve administration, flexibility, security and performance.  Included features are constantly evaluated and reevaluated based on their usefulness across a wide variety of projects with a multitude of different use cases.  We’ve accomplished this, all while staying true to Drupal and with the same motivations that attracted us to Drupal, to begin with.  

Paragon’s features save our clients money. We are able to increase the speed at which a site can be developed with this pre-built site base.


Componentized Content Management

Web and application design has shifted away from page level structures and instead focuses on component level patterns.  This means every individual landing page is composed of a unique set of components that tell their story and emphasize their actions in different ways. Our clients are not limited by restrictive templates but have thousands of potential combinations of components to create pages with.


Components in action

We have pushed to evolve our architectural approach to provide the same editability as structured content types (news stories, events, knowledge base articles, etc) but with the capability of handling limitless variability per page.  We took inspiration from the simple-to-use build-your-own website companies like Squarespace and Wix and thought of ways to make larger business and enterprise editing experiences easier to use, without losing the power, scalability, and flexibility of why companies chose Drupal.


Media and Content Libraries

The ability to add and reuse media is one of the most requested features among our clients.  It’s not always a must-have, but rather a really-nice-to-have-if-it-is-not-too-much-time.  With Drupal 8, the Media suite of modules were rebuilt from the ground up, in a more powerful way.  

We’ve implemented media modules in Paragon, as a way for clients to upload and reuse images, videos, icons, files and other various types of assets.  Images can be manually cropped, or can automatically crop based on a focal point you select, allowing for the same image to be reused throughout the site with different sizes and proportions for each instance.  Video support works across a wide range of providers including, YouTube, Vimeo, and Wixia. Non-media libraries can also be created for referencing and relating other types of content.

Content managers can tag, filter, sort and search the assets to easily reuse and organize their libraries, which saves a ton of time and frustration.


Content Modules and Media Libraries in action




Drupal is known for being a very secure platform. Most security issues tend to come from the implementation and maintenance, rather than Drupal itself.  This is why we have included a number of security hardening modules to enforce best practice for developers and site maintainers.  These modules offer an extra layer of security for our clients.

Password Policy, which gives us control over character count, complexity and forced resets based on the user’s role.

Shield, a module that provides per environment server level passwords for hiding development, staging and test environments from prying eyes.

Security Review, a script that automatically runs and checks common security concerns, including out of date modules, misconfigured modules, permissions issues and more.


Improved Admin Experience

Historically, we’ve put a large emphasis on constantly improving the administration experience of the sites we build.  While Drupal’s power and flexibility provides endless possibilities on the front end, how content is managed and maintained can sometimes be an afterthought.  We often inherit existing sites from clients, whose frustrations with Drupal are a result of poor implementation of the content administration side.  We’ve included many out-of-the-box features in Paragon that enhance the admin experience:

Content authorship workflows, for creating content drafts, staging content, and pushing content changes live when ready.  Workflows can easily be expanded to include different user roles, for example, an editor who can approve changes before they go live.

Page and component previews, allowing for you to preview changes during creation, before saving and publishing content.

Content embedding, add the capability to embed media galleries, related articles, and other callouts within large bodies of copy.  One example would be inserting a picture gallery into the middle of a blog post.

Paragon continues to raise the bar, balancing a tool that is both malleable, yet opinionated.  Whether it’s adding tools to quickly navigate to different administration pages, adding additional field types and widgets, improving control over meta tags, SEO markup, and redirects, or reducing administrative clutter with theme enhancements. We continue to evaluate new modules, technologies, and methods in order to incorporate them into our clients' websites and applications.

Ultimately, Paragon helps our clients by increasing speed to market, cutting down on communication hours, and salvaging budget. If your business could use the support of a well-planned base build, contact us for a demo.