Every other CMS I’ve worked with feels archaic, but with Directus, it’s like we’re leaving the Dark Ages behind.
Sr. Frontend Engineer, Lucid
Whatever you're building or designing, the ability to collaborate with team members can speed up time-to-market for your innovative products that sell.
Though sending and receiving text-based messages in real time via Slack or Teams supports collaboration, a picture is truly worth 1,000 words. Enter visual collaboration software, which allows teams to communicate more effectively by enabling them to share and discuss ideas visually.
Lucid Software is the leader in visual collaboration, with solutions that help teams see and build out their ideas.
Used by large enterprises like Google, GE and NBC Universal, the Lucid Intelligence Platform helps teams align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they're located.
But to better serve that global audience, they needed a more flexible CMS solution with robust internationalization features. That's when they found Directus.
Legacy content management systems, lost in translation
For years, Lucid's developers had been using Drupal for its corporate blog, which contains a vast library of articles comprising upwards of 15,000 pages. However, they had started exploring an upgrade to a headless CMS solution with strong translation capabilities to provide content to users globally.
They evaluated several solutions, but none offered enough flexibility. While some systems offered an integration with Smartling for translations, only Contentful had a built-in translator; however, the system's cost was prohibitive.
“The cost of Contentful would have been astronomical for translating the amount of data we have,” said Matt Darrington, Sr. Manager Front-End Engineering at Lucid.
“They give you two free locales, then you pay like crazy if you want more.”
In addition to the pricing, Lucid's engineering team didn't want to be trapped by the monolithic approach to traditional content management systems.
“We didn't like Contentful's pricing model,” added Carson Fairbourn, Sr. Front-End Engineer at Lucid at Lucid. “You can't self-host the system, and once you're in Contentful, you're stuck with it unless you want to pull all your content out.”
Carson said that many of the available systems didn't offer HTML support, which was what they used in their legacy systems.
“We've got 10 years of blog posts that we would have to toss out if the new system lacked HTML compatibility,” he said.
Given the team's requirements for translating large amounts of content into a wide range of languages, the decision to move to Directus was an easy one.
Speeding-up self-migrations with extensible tooling
After implementing Directus, one of the first things the team did was leverage Directus's Schema Migration Endpoints to create a tool that validates and sanitizes existing HTML for fast and easy migration between web properties.
“Using Directus Schema endpoints, we built a utility that replaces the manual process of copying templates from one site to another, saving hours of work every week,” Matt said. “You can transfer things from one site to another within moments.”
Carson said their schema tool also enables them to validate that terminology is consistent across templates and sites, which improves data quality.
“If a developer builds a new template for our content creators, we want to make sure text fields have the same naming conventions,” he said, adding that when there are multiple ways to refer to the same type of content, it gets messy.
Now they can simply export the form from Directus and run it through the tool which checks it against rules we've created to ensure consistency.
“If it sees an error, it sends a notification to correct the problem before the template goes into production.”
Matt said it took just a couple days to create the tool, and it works really well.
“If I make a change to a template on site A, I can simply run a command to make the same change on site B,” he said. “It's 10 times better than the system we had, which was copy-paste from a Google Doc and hope and pray that our HTML was good.”
Looking ahead for Lucid
The team is looking for more ways to automate workflows with Directus schema migration endpoints as well as Directus Extensions, which allow you to build, modify or expand any feature needed for an app or project.
“Other CMS platforms try to shut you down, but Directus opens things up,” Carson said. “You have endless possibilities for how you use it. You make it your own, but benefit from a framework that's solid.
"Every other CMS I've worked with feels archaic, but with Directus, it's like we're leaving the Dark Ages behind.”
In addition to the product itself, the Lucid team appreciates the support they receive.
“I've hopped on a call with folks from Directus many times, and they've been invaluable,” he said. “It's a huge plus, because it shows that they're not just in it for the paycheck – they really want us to succeed."
A lot of other companies are like, ‘Oh, you bought our product, that's cool. Good luck!' But with Directus, it's a partnership.”