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Developing the biggest CMS in 20th Century FOX

I worked as the developer lead on a building the engine that would power all movie sites. Localization and scalability challenges in a ever changing fast-moving environment

  • API Design
  • UX and UI Design and implementation
  • Frontend and Backend Development
  • Integrations with external data sources
The aero lesson builder app dragging an audio component into a screen about plant cells.

The problem

In 2014 20th Century Fox's digital marketing business units needed an entirely new platform, custom developed to fit the ever-evolving needs of the movie business in their life cycle. All existing commercials CMS could not meet the current requirements, let alone future integrations needed by the company. The primary goals for the project were to simplify, unify and empower existing International Portal Sites; these are not individual movie sites but the main pathway that FOX has in each region. The project was lauded for its flexibility and powerful feature set.

A set of dark themed components for the aero design system

System Design

Content is King, but managing so many media assets, websites, regions and languages gets complex really quickly. The explosion of data feeds, such as: Social, User-generated content, as well as FOX internal artworks; introduce an immense amount of labor to the administrators of the system. A strong, flexible design, with integrated sign-off workflows, automated content retrieval and categorization, is the only way forward.

The homepage of the aero design system docs website linking to principles and components.

Who are we serving

The consumers are front and center our target audience, without them there is no business. Each territory has its own way to do things, their own legacy systems that need integration or assimilation. Each country has their own set of laws, and localization challenges.

A dramatic ocean scene with lava forming a new land mass.

Efficient and lean user experience

Each feature and interaction is weighted against it's utility going forward. UX/UI in kept and improved by counting how many steps does it take to perform the tasks.

Automatic: but the humans have the last say

Automation was a core principle in making the authoring experience a more understandable process. Movie elements get loaded automatically on the UI, content updates trickle down across the movie studio and needs to be kept in sync. With many eyes on the projects, content accuracy and security are paramount. The system only suggest but the humans have the final say, always.

A drag and drop storyboard style editor for creating an adaptive lesson.

Next-generation software solutions

The flexibility of the product allowed for producers to create engaging interactive experiences as highly configurable sections that could then be used in different products; from websites to mobile apps, as well as being connected to other systems.

Empowering global and diverse teams

There is a single CMS to learn. The systems loads all content from diferent repositores and data-lakes and generate a single source of truth. Humans always have the last say! Extensive and powerful tracking and sign-off workflows.

Geographically diverse.

Each country has it's own localization challenges. We are not talking only about languages, but a complete customization in regards of Art (assets), fonts, different character sets and laws.

At the core of the business

The most powerful feature is flexibility and adaptability. The system was able to keep providing value for many years.

Project outcomes

Ultimately the project was successful up until The Walt Disney company acquired by FOX in 2020 this CMS was migrated into Disney systems, and bid farewell.