Xu-Ricci – Religious Science Dialogue Institute


Client Needs

The Xu-Ricci team of Prof. Vermander, Professor Yu (webmaster) and Ms. Liang Zhun, came to meet with Davyin to discuss the project. They wanted to build a simple, easily manageable and bilingual CMS website for the Institute; to present their department, conferences and faculty members using images, artwork, video downloads and provide an interactive forum to registered users. The new website needed to be completely bilingual with the option for more languages in the future, and be user-friendly with a professional and clean design.

Having a Content Management System would enable different users from the department to easily update and maintain this self-managed website.
The client also asked that images and artwork be easily upload able and displayable on various pages in the website, and to be flexible in size and dimensions. They wanted to be able to add documents for download and provide links to other relevant institutions. A section should be dedicated to the events and news that the Institute were involved in, displayed and promoted from their front page. The client also wanted to have an easy to use video upload platform that would allow them to stream videos directly from any page on the website, but more specifically a Past Conferences section. The existing forum was to be re-built to increase the interactivity between students, researchers and faculty members of the institute. Users would need to be registered and logged on to be granted permission to post in forum.


Collaboration with Davyin

The first meeting between Prof. Vermander, Ms. Liang, and Davyin IT team was to discuss an initial outline of the website. Subsequent meetings were focused mainly on the backend, functions and technology that Davyin would use to fulfill the client’s needs. Following discussions, involved working on the design and front-end look and feel of the website, and there was close liaison with Prof Vermander, as to the artwork and illustrations that he wanted to represent the institute on the website.

After Davyin discussed with Benoit Vermander on a general wireframe for the layout of the website, a design was produced that closely matched the ideas. Once design has been approved by B. Vermander, and the overall core functions established, the development phase started. First, the website was built. Then, the designs implemented, with banners and images incorporated to create a full online demo of the site. Once the demo was completed, it was opened to the Client to inspect and validate. Davyin worked closely with Professor Yu, the main contact for updating and maintaining the website; and generally the main user from the Xu-Ricci team. Ms. Liang was around to help facilitate the application of processes and payments to the University; and Professor Yu aided to contact the University for approval of a virtual server. The Xu-Ricci team was always helpful, understanding, gave prompt information and responses; and meetings were always cheerful and smooth with Davyin. Despite difficulties and some delays with University processes, the collaboration between Davyin and Xu-Ricci was generally efficient and unproblematic.


Approach & Solution


Coming under a branch of one of the largest and most prestigious Chinese Universities in Shanghai; building a self-manageable, bilingual website with video and forum, posed some interesting challenges for Davyin. The website needed to be flexible, easily updatable, moderated to comply with school regulations and completed within a fairly strict time frame. To give the website a uniform but creative look that could be updated frequently, the theme and design of the website needed to be professional but contain adaptable visual elements that the client could easily maintain. The website needed to be identifiable and unique, but also fit in with the Faculty and University’s image and reputation.


In order to provide the best solution for the client, we focused on the design and providing custom functions and modules on top of the default Drupal installation. We also allowed access to our upcoming video platform that allows customizable video playlists that can be easily embedded using one line of simple HTML code. The bilingual function was added and pages for both Chinese and English content built; keeping in mind the possibility of other languages added in the future. The project was split into two parts with two demos; the first phase of general core features and design implemented; then the second phase mostly consisting of the conferences section and the interactive forum.



Key features

1 – Overview of Features: 

-          CMS

-          Banners and Images (Dynamic / customizable)

-          Video playlist and streaming (Jquery / Dynamic / customizable)

-          Embedded Video Management

-          Back-end: user managment, edit/create/delete content, multiple content types

-          User Database (forum users and administrative roles)

-          User permissions management

-          Fully customizable custom page creation

-          Block content management

-          File uploads (including media files and .pdf)

-          FCK Content Editor

-          Conferences section with video

-          Forum

-          SEO management system (URL rewriting, Error page redirections, meta tags, and Google Analytics integration)

-          Browsers compatibility testings, includes IE7, IE8, Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Opera

-       Web pages optimization: optimize HTML/CSS and javascript to reduce HTTP requests and file sizes


2 – Implementation of Drupal:

The website is based on the CMS Drupal 6.2 which delivers a robust, scalable and flexible architecture. Using this technology, we were able to implement 8-10 different content types and to create a professional, custom-built website that Xu-Ricci Institute can self-manage and use to establish their department’s online presence. The website features multi-language capabilities, to create an English-based website, with also a complete Chinese version of the website, allowing also URL aliases.

The FCK editor – also called WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) – is a simple-to-use updating tool that works with various content types; allowing the user to manipulate content, images and data freely. By adjusting the website to Drupal API standards, we have ensured that further modules can be added and that Xu-Ricci will be able to scale and expand their website with the help of the Open Source community whenever they want to.


3 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

The Search-Engine Optimization (SEO) setup package of our online solutions was implemented on the website featuring URL-rewriting, Meta tags, etc… The website is built according to W3C standards and search engine friendly guidelines, for both English and Chinese languages; therefore assisting the Institute’s positioning and image, and improvement on their current Chinese school platform.

Meta tags can be independently chosen on each page, allowing a better on-site optimization so as people looking for information on a specific conference, forum post or faculty member will be more likely to gain direct access to the correct page.


4 – Customizable Video Editing Platform:

Davyin’s first introduction of Video Toolset enables Xu-Ricci Institute to deliver playlists and video streaming to their users. Just by incorporating a simple line of Javascript code in FCK editor or in the source of any HTML page, the client can easily display a Flash video player with customizable skins, themes and dimensions. Running directly off the Davyin servers, our client has no need to rely on other third-party websites that usually includes advertising and unattractive watermarks with their videos. This gives a cleaner and more professional look for Xu-Ricci’s videos, without detracting from their image and reputation.



We thank the Xu-Ricci team for the opportunity to build such an inspiring and interesting web project. The mutual cooperation and patience experienced made the project run extremely smoothly and without errors. The Xu-Ricci team was very supportive and easy to work with, quick to provide answers and welcomed our consultation and advice; trusting us for our design work, technical expertise and experience. It was a great pleasure to work with such a diverse team, each member contributing their different strengths and knowledge, while being obliging and cooperating with the Davyin IT staff. We wish the Xu-Ricci Institute all the best, hoping they can gather many users and interesting ‘dialogues’ through their interactive forum and gain an improved overall image through promotion of the website.



Benoit Vermander, Xu-Ricci website team leader

“Davyin has a very accommodating and cooperative team that we were glad to collaborate with as out I.T. partner. They are very professional and dedicated, providing superior service for our Institute. Davyin has enabled us to conveniently update our website and provided diverse and custom functions for our large-scale project. We hope we can continue to partner with them in the future in improving our online presence and image, within Fudan University and on the internet.”


Doctor Zhe Jun Yu, Fudan University School of Philosophy

“Davyin was a delightful team to work with. We collaborated very closely together to define project specifications and they responded quickly and professionally to our special requirements and requested changed on the website. We hope to partner with their IT speciality again in the future in improving and enhancing the quality, efficiency, and method of education at the university. We hope students can use the internet more and more as a useful tool for studying. Davyin made that happen.”


Technology used


Drupal, MySQL

Davyin Video Toolset/Flash