Reformatorisch Dagblad is the biggest Christian newspaper in the Netherlands which exists in both physical and digital formats. Their news website was developed in 2016 and needed an update to correspond to the team needs. The old website used Polopoly as a CMS and while it was quite stable, it lacked flexibility. Smartshore Ability team handled the development of the website and chose Strapi as a CMS.
We needed a reliable and flexible CMS since there will be over a million articles on the new website. We also looked for something that would integrate well with all the services used by the editors and tech teams. The perfect CMS should be future-proof, meaning that the team should be able to customize it according to its needs. We needed a headless CMS to be able to use it for other channels in the future, for example, a mobile app. It is crucial to have one true source of content for a platform with a million articles.
Strapi provides a great experience to both developers and editors. It gives a bootstrap to create API, it's easy to implement it with the technologies we chose (Nuxt and Elasticsearch), and it's self-hosted which gives us more security and control. It's nice to get the admin panel interface out of the box, it's lightweight, clean and without clutter.
Before using it for an actual project, we challenged Strapi by uploading nearly 800 000 articles on it and everything went well. Another important point is that it's open-source so we could write some custom functionalities.
Strapi also enables the editing team to create content directly in the admin panel interface, as well as format the articles imported from other sources.
We had to configure a lot of integrations with other services used by the newspaper. First of all, we needed to import all the articles from the old archive system which went well. Then, we set up an integration with a publishing system where editors write articles and then all the content is automatically transferred to Strapi, where another team is adding formatting, tags etc. We also connected a news supplier to Strapi, so that some news are imported into the CMS automatically and editors manage and publish them through the admin panel. Reformatorisch Dagblad also has a live blog and the materials for it are created directly in Strapi.
Smartshore Ability built a new search engine based upon Elasticsearch that they integrated into the website. We also have an integration with an analytics partner to have data about the website use. There's a connection with the login system for newspaper subscribers as well as with a paywall system and lets people subscribe to access paid content.
Strapi is a hub which integrates content from different sources, enables us to edit, format and sort it and then translates it to the website and in the future to the mobile app.
In general, Strapi is used by 10-15 people on a regular basis. One team is working with the imported articles: adds formatting, images, links, embedded tweets and videos, tags, categories, bundles some related articles together. Another team is working on a live blog and they create and publish content in Strapi.
We're using Media Library a lot, as well as Draft and Publish system. We've also enabled different roles to make sure only the right people have access to Strapi settings.
Strapi is extremely flexible, it let us quickly build the API and integrated well with all the existing systems. It's stable and reliable, which lets us upload and publish a lot of articles every day. We have over a million monthly visits on the website and Strapi deals well with this load. It's a future-proof system which provides a great experience to both tech and editorial teams.