Case Study on Cast Affair: A Social Network using Drupal
Drupal-based social network that connects agencies and talent in the global fashion industry.
Built on Drupal, Cast Affair offers an interactive platform to provide industry professionals with a highly efficient tool for scouting top talent worldwide. The site offers several social engagement tools to models looking to showcase their talent, and network with other registered members.
An “About Me” section enabling models to write briefly about themselves
Comments: Registered users in the website can leave comments which are visible in the Comments tab; some details such as photograph of the commenter are available alongwith the comment
All “my friends” are visible in a photo listing format with in the Friends tab
Several parameters such as Height, Weight, Age, Bust, and several other model profile parameters entered along with the profile
A preview of the various types of Porfolio, such as Glamour, Fitness, Runaway, Swimwear, Fashion and an Editorial pick, is available in the profile page as well
The model on the profile could be contacted using an internal messaging system
While creating a portfolio, this feature, allows any Talent (Model/Hair Stylist/others) to crop the uploaded images real-time (on the website) before publishing the same in their respective portfolio
The website has a whole range of social networking features such as:
Facebook like Status updates
Add Friends – Any member can send “Add as Friend” requests to other registered members on this website
Share Photos among the friends' network
Registered members can “Like” photos just like Facebook
Board - pulls friend's activities, in a manner similar to Facebook's News Feed
Different Casting Types such as Models, Hair Dressers, have a different set of pre-defined portfolios. For example for Models the pre-defined portfolios are Glamour, Fitness, Runaway, Swimwear, Fashion and Editorial
Based on the Membership type, and the Casting Type, there are different rules applicable such as how many pictures can be uploaded, etc.
Registered members on the portal can search for talent based on a range of profile parameters, Location (with a location based search within a certain radius), etc.
Image galleries are available for registered users to search through Portfolio of the models, based on the Casting Type of the Member. For instance a Model has a portfolio genre (Editorial, Fashion, Swimwear, etc.) which is different from that of a Hair Dresser
Agencies are registered and Agency members added as members on the website
Talent can search for Agencies registered on the website using an “Agency Search” feature, based on the Country and City
Anonymous users can also search, although with limited access
The website has a Free and Paid membership model which determines various rules for various types of members (Casting Type - Models, Hair Dresser, etc.) such as how many images can be uploaded, etc.
There is payment associated with each such membership
Payments follow a recurring model
The website is available in 20 countries and in 3 languages – English, Spanish and Italian
The website even has support of sending newsletter emails in multiple languages
The website enables previewing and sending email newsletters in Spanish and Italian languages as well
The key feature is that Editorial Notification from the website can be sent out to the Members in the language of the choice specified in their respective profiles
These email Notifications can be further switched On/Off by the registered member
As most social websites, Events forms an important part of this website as well.
There is a facility to see all upcoming events as well as all past events
Editors have a way to send bulk notifications to all registered members or to selected profile (Models/Photographers)
There are 27 contributed modules we have used; and have customised 3 of these modules.
The most notable modules used for this website are:
Node limit : To restrict the number of content uploads per role
Conditional Fields : To hide & show fields based on roles - casting type
Previewable Email Template (PET) : We used this module to to create email templates which could be previewed before sending out emails to the users of this website
Facebook Status : Used for Status functionality & integrated within Heartbeat module
Heartbeat : Used for facebook like Wall & Feed functionality
Flag : Specifically for "Like" functionality
Node Images : Used for creating Image galleries
Money Scripts : the website required recurring payments along with different Membership offers such as Free, Silver, and Gold (coming soon), and Ubercart did not offer any clean solution for this feature. This 3rd party paid module has been used to achieve this requirement
I18n : For multilingual content on the website; Cast Affair is built in English, Spanish and Italian
Panels : All pages, blocks of the website have been implemented usng Panels
Rules : Used extensively for all kinds of rules across the site such as the ones that kick-in at completion of the Registration process, for Notifications, etc.
User relationships : To build out a "friend network"
Views Bulk Operation and Views Send : One of the website requirement was to send custom notifications to the selected user. For this Views Bulk Operation and Views Send were great modules that simplified our work. Views Bulk Operation allows a user to expose custom fields in Views and provides a filter form for those fields. Then using Views Send, we send notifications to the selected users.
MultiStep : To split registration form into a multi-step process
Themes : AdaptiveTheme is the parent theme, while Rubik is the admin theme used for the website
The website required Facebook like Wall and Status functionality, integrated with "Like" functionality on Status Updates and Comments on Status Updates as well. For this we used Heartbeat and Flag modules respectively. However, Heartbeat module does NOT provide a "Like" button on Comments (at the time we used the module). Therefore, we extended “Flag" module to show "Like" button on the Heartbeat module based Comment.
Being a multi-lingual website, it was important to send Newsletters out the registered Talent and Agencies in the language of their choice. We used the Previewable Email Template to do this job. However, this module does NOT provide support for multiple languages. Therefore, we wrote a wrapper on top of PET to ensure emails could be sent out in multiple languages. We wrote this in a way that if an email template for a particular language was not available then it would send the mail in the default language.
The key reasons for us choosing Drupal in this project were:
The Cast Affair site had a lot of social networking features such as integration Facebook like "Wall", "Like" and "Status Updates", apart from "Follow Friends"; these features come built-in into the contributed modules with Drupal
Multilingual features: Drupal's internationalisation capability made it the ideal choice for building this site in English, Italian, and Spansih, and allow for adoption of more languages to be added in the future - as is intended by the client during their worldwide outreach phases
Talent from around the world is expected to manage content on their own, specifically all their images, including cropping images on-the-fly to create a suitable portfolio. Drupal allows this control to be handed over these Models/Hair Dressers/others in their own hands.
The project team consisted of:
The project was completed within 3 months from commencement.
The design and development of this website has been a success-story in collaboration between Mogul PR who designed the website, Glick Interactive who were the project management partners, and its technology partners – Srijan Technologies the leading Drupal development company located in India. The site is hosted at Colocube.
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