Call for Proposals: Web Hosting and Development for the Twin Cities Daily Planet

The Twin Cities Media Alliance is actively exploring options for Web hosting and development for its largest project, the Twin Cities Daily Planet (www.tcdailyplanet.net). Active since 2005, the Daily Planet is a dynamic community news source where all readers are invited to contribute through any of several channels. It is a highly complex Drupal website, with several content types and over 40,000 nodes. Our traffic is currently in the neighborhood of 135,000 page views per month.

Currently, the Twin Cities Daily Planet is hosted by Advantage Labs, which also serves as Web developer. We have no definite plans to change this arrangement, but we are considering doing so, and are seeking to learn more about all our options. Our needs are outlined below. Hosting and development may be provided by different individuals or organizations, providing they can work together with us and with one another. Open, effective communication is essential.

Organizations or individuals who believe they can meet all or some of these needs in a reliable and cost-effective manner are invited to contact Jeremy Iggers, Twin Cities Media Alliance executive director, at jeremy@tcmediaalliance.org.

Hosting
Completely reliable hosting, with the site being speedily and consistently available to all clients. In the case of a service outage or other emergency, our hosts must be immediately available to address the situation. In non-emergency situations, they must be regularly and reliably available to address any problems or questions involving the site’s hosting.
A reliable and automatically maintained backup.
A development site for us to test changes on.
Server capacity to hold these sites and expand sustainably at the current, or greater, rate of growth.

Development
We expect to contract a developer (individual or team) for approx. 4-10 hours per month, at pay rate commensurate with knowledge, experience, and effectiveness. Our developer must be a Drupal expert. The site currently involves a wide range of Drupal modules from those that are widely used to those that are unique to our site. Our developer must have Drupal expertise at the level of module development, and must be an active and informed member of the Drupal development community.

Troubleshooting. The site, like any complex site, is currently imperfect, and as new features are added, problems will crop up on a day to day basis. Our developer must be available with minimal delay (depending on the severity of the problem) to repair any bugs.

Development. We are constantly seeking to expand the functionality of our site, making use of the newest functions available via Drupal and third parties as we seek to meet our short-term and long-term development goals. Our site is not, and will never be, static. The ideal developer will be capable of, and comfortable with, making routine changes to the site’s structure and functions up to and including a site reorganization or redesign (not in our immediate plans).
If you intend to submit a proposal, please notify us no later than December 20. Final proposals will be due no later than January 5, 2011.

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