Canadian Environmental Law Association: An Action Apps Conversion

Visit the website: The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is a non-profit public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate environmental law reforms. CELA has a long history of involvement in some of the most important environmental litigation in Canada. As a legal aid clinic in Ontario client representation focuses on the needs of low income communities and citizen-based organizations working in the public interest. CELA’s lawyers appear before all levels of federal and Ontario courts and tribunals on matters of statutory law and civil litigation. I started working with CELA in 2007 providing support for their site built using ActionApps and hosted with the ActionApps main developer E-connect. In 2008 they had various concerns about the continued use of ActionApps for their site so we began converting it to Drupal. The new Drupal version launched in February 2009. The conversion of the old table-based visual design to a zen-based theme proved surprisingly straightforward. They liked the general feel and didn't have budget or interest in a complete redesign so the colours fonts and visual layout were mostly copied but the html of the layout was modernized into the css based version instead of the old multiple nested table style. We also took the opportunity to widen the screen a bit and convert some of the graphic-intensive and javascript elements to css only which makes the site seem snappier and improves the YSlow rating considerably. The other interesting challenge of the conversion was the use of ActionApps 'related item' technology for "collections" and other relating of items (now nodes) to each other. I used the relatedcontent module enhanced with custom a reverse relationship block and form element which has worked well. This is now the fourth ActionApp conversion I've worked on and one of my nice refinements has been a simple module that handles redirects from the old urls to the new ones. As well as handling external links to these old urls it also has a filter that cleans up the old internal links.