• Client: eSat.tv (Pty) Ltd
  • Date: February 2014
eNCA, or eNews Channel Africa to be specific, made history when it launched in 2008, becoming South Africa’s very first home-grown 24-hour news service. In keeping with their progressive spirit, the channel set about launching a brand new, state-of-the-art website in early 2013, which aimed to replicate the broadcast experience for online users and provide a central news platform, complete with multimedia such as images and video clips.

eNCA approached ThinkUber in late 2012 to assist them in realising their vision for this cutting-edge news portal, earmarked for launch in April. Our team of experts was tasked with helping the in-house development team with specific Drupal and 3rd party implementation requirements, creating a series of complex back-end structures designed not only to optimise the navigation experience, but also to reduce administrative hassle for website managers.

In order to ensure seamless on-going management of the site by a team totalling in excess of fifty content publishers, editors, photographers, video journalists, bloggers and administrators, ThinkUber helped create a unique workflow system which handles the incredible amount of interconnected traffic, media and data. The custom developed business process workflow employs a unique image management solution that makes use of Amazon’s proven S3 cloud computing services for storage and content distribution purposes.

Furthermore the website features in-depth Twitter integration which allows newly published articles passing through the internal workflow of the site to automatically be tweeted to a specific news twitter account, so as to ensure that social media managers were able to access the latest news items available on the internet without physically logging into the site.

The back-end infrastructure was designed to effectively integrate eNCA’s customised platform on the Kaltura video storage solution, as well as also providing integration for YouTube. The main article pages were set up in a way that fully integrates multi-media, social media and text content from all over the internet in a single place. This was additionally integrated with advanced theme switching technologies, allowing users accessing the website through their cellphones or tablets to access the same in depth content and multimedia as desktop or laptop users, but in a much more concise and data friendly version.

Additionally, ThinkUber facilitated the creation and implementation of a fully customised Node.js server and a customised news stream solution powering a specially conceptualised ‘Breaking News’ function. This serves to give site visitors online access to the same up-to-the-minute news feed, which appears on the channel during news broadcasts.

Over and above this, ThinkUber helped to enhance the site’s efficiency and overall functionality by configuring both master and slave databases, as well as image delivery optimisation systems through use of several content delivery networks (CDNs) individually integrated into Drupal and the custom workflow. Additionally a variety of failsafe and redundancy technologies was put in place and customised so as to ensure the continued integrity of the news portal, and the security of its data.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of the ThinkUber team, the site’s launch went ahead successfully and on schedule, and has since gone on to become one of the country’s most widely-used news resources.