Things that would take a month of work with other platforms can be built out in Directus in seconds. If it wasn't for Directus, we wouldn't be delivering on our dates as a team.
Tech Lead, The Shift Network
Founded in 2010 by Stephen Dinan and Devaa Haley Mitchell, The Shift Network (TSN) is a global leader in online transformational education, media and events, dedicated to helping people achieve their full potential.
The company reaches millions of participants worldwide with online courses featuring internationally renowned speakers on diverse subjects. It also features one of the world’s largest online libraries of peace-building resources.
Its philanthropic arm donates to a wide range of environmental, health and social justice causes.
Tony Macias, Tech Lead at The Shift Network, came on board in 2021 to work on TSN’s mobile app. At the time, the company was discussing the possibility of evolving its tech stack.
“There’s a point when what you’ve created begins to grow, and eventually you realize you made your first technology decisions without realizing how big you were going to be,” he said.
“We realized we were outdated compared to others in our space.”
Transitioning from Drupal
Tony wanted to bring the technology he was using for the mobile app to the main website, which was previously built with Drupal.
“Drupal has been in the game so long, even before Wordpress,” he said. “Through the years, they’ve tried to adapt the platform to remain competitive – first with Wordpress then with the headless trend – but they haven’t been able to change everything."
"The API is a little clunky, because it wasn’t purpose-built to be a headless platform.”
The new platform had to be accessible for non-technical as well as technical users. Non-technical staff are often tasked with updating content to support the company’s eLearning model, which relies on delivering a variety of media, from videos to podcasts, blog posts, ebooks and more.
Tony quickly built out a proof of concept with Directus, and the team agreed it was the best fit.
“The intuitive Directus UI enables non-technical people to create fields and make changes, without having to write code,” he said. “And, the fact that Directus was always a headless platform is a big win.”
Directus’s unopinionated approach made it an easy add to the existing tech stack, as well.
“What I like about Directus is that it provides a default opinion on how to do things, but you have the option to do in another way, and Directus doesn’t care,” Tony said.
Composable, efficient, and un-opinionated
Tony appreciates the composable nature of the Directus platform.
“As a developer, I love the ‘Lego block’ approach, which makes it really easy to update or add components to your original project,” he said. “For example, if I want to add ecommerce functionality, I can just drop it in."
"With Drupal, making that change would impact the entire system.”
Tony was also impressed with the platform’s out-of-the-box media management capabilities. Thanks to Directus roles and permissions, non-technical members of TSN’s staff are empowered to make changes or additions to the website safely, without having to write code.
“Things that would take a month of work with other platforms can be built out in Directus in seconds,” he said. “Anyone can make those changes safely, without writing code, and we don’t need to worry about them breaking the system.
"Without the granular roles and permissions capabilities in Directus, we wouldn’t even think about giving staff access.”
Directus saves Tony and his team a lot of development time, which enables them to meet tight deadlines.
“If it wasn't for Directus, we wouldn't be delivering on our dates as a team, and the website project wouldn’t be as successful,” he said.
What’s next for TSN?
In the near future, Tony plans to leverage Directus Flows to enhance the TSN website’s functionality.
He also intends to use Directus to build an in-house affiliate system.
“Directus is a great tool, and the fact that everything is API-based makes it easy to connect with other systems in our tech stack,” he said. “I see Directus helping us to optimize resources and bandwidth, and improving user experience.
"I'm very confident that this was a good horse to choose for the race.”
In fact, Directus has become Tony’s go-to tool for building digital projects.
“There are a few solutions that I have on my list of products that I will choose no matter where I work, and Directus is one of them.”