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 meet 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 the editors and tech teams used. 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. Having one true source of content for a platform with a million articles is crucial.
Recently, we also added the CNE website to the platform, making a copy of the RD setup. This way, the editorial team for CNE was able to use Strapi in the exact way as their RD colleagues.
Strapi provides a great experience to both developers and editors. It gives a bootstrap to create API, it's easy to implement with the technologies we chose (Nuxt and Elasticsearch), and it's self-hosted, giving us more security and control. It's nice to get the admin panel interfaces 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 and format the articles imported from other sources.
We had to configure many integrations with other services used by the newspaper. First, 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. Then all the content is automatically transferred to Strapi, where another team adds formatting, tags, etc. We also connected a news supplier to Strapi so that some news is imported into the CMS automatically and editors manage and publish them through the admin panel. Reformatorisch Dagblad also has a live blog, and its materials are created directly in Strapi.
Smartshore Ability built a new search engine based on 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 between the login system for newspaper subscribers and a paywall system that lets people subscribe to access paid content.
Strapi is a hub that integrates content from different sources, enabling us to edit, format, and sort it and then translate it to the website. In the meantime we also gave an external party access to the platform via the API, to access all content for the two native mobile apps of RD.
Generally, Strapi is used by 10-15 RD editors and 3 CNE editors regularly. One team works with the imported articles: adds formatting, images, links, embedded tweets and videos, tags, categories, and bundles some related articles. Another team is working on a live blog, creating and publishing content in Strapi.
We're using Media Library a lot, as well as the Draft and Publish system. We've also enabled different roles to ensure only the right people have access to Strapi settings.
Strapi is extremely flexible, it lets us quickly build the API and integrate 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 to the website, and Strapi deals well with this load. It's a future-proof system that provides a great experience to both tech and editorial teams.