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A complex website often has needs that go beyond what any single platform or framework can easily provide. In the case of Project Argo, instead of extending any one system beyond its comfort zone, we focused on deeply integrating two together. In this model, we reap the benefits of two active open source communities, each focused on solving their own problems. We also maintain a smaller code footprint, allowing us to focus on other things.
The Argo platform communicates with itself using Web Hooks, JSON, and some XML-RPC, and we employ some trickery to make our bloggers and users think it’s all one application. Beyond Argo’s architecture, there are additional integration strategies for WordPress, Django, and other frameworks in general.
There are drawbacks to this approach — context switching between programming languages, keeping the responsibilities of each system clear — but, ultimately, you can decide if a hybrid application is right for you by asking the right questions and having an open mind.
Marc Lavallee is the Technology Architect for Project Argo, a collaboration between NPR and 12 member stations aimed at strengthening local journalism online.