Data migration & Symfony support for the IFS

Client: Institute for Fiscal Studies
Services: Symfony support, Charting, Data visualization, Data migration, ETL pipelines

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is the UK’s leading independent economics research institute. Our work with them was the culmination of a number of smaller projects as they prepared to relaunch their digital systems.

“What I found different with Maple was the collaborative nature of the relationship: working together, we could home in on the simplest solution.” Emma Hyman, Head of Operations, IFS

Support for an aging Symfony-powered site

We were initially appointed because of our strong experience with legacy Symfony projects. The IFS websites and Research Information Management System (RIMS) were running on a Symfony Content Management System (CMS) developed in-house. Replacements were underway and with staffing changes they needed external help to keep their public presence running smoothly.

We kept the IFS websites running through traffic spikes like UK Budget day, when everyone wants to know what the IFS thinks, until the new site was ready to launch.

Migrating data to the new Research Information Management System

Research information management systems play a vital role as they hold information about research outputs by staff and their grant funding.

The IFS had chosen Symplectic Elements as their new Research Information Management System (RMS), and we took care of migrating data from their legacy, PostgreSQL backed system into Elements.

We started using the Symplectic-provided data migration service but eventually ended up writing an ETL pipeline and using the Symplectic API to import data and keep it in sync with the current RMS, as well as cross-referencing between imported outputs, grants and researchers.

Interactive calculators and visualisations

The IFS is known for its interactive tools such as Your household’s income: where do you fit in? and How much was spent on public services in your area?. We:

Building on our HighCharts experience with The Investment Association we upgraded and fixed version conflicts between HighCharts installs.

Converting dynamic microsites to static sites

The IFS has produced sites for every UK general election since 2015. These were powered by the Symfony platform that was being replaced, and needed to be split into their own sites. As content was no longer being added, we converted the sites to static HTML for long-term preservation.


We’ve been fans of the work of the IFS for decades so working with them was a dream come true. The successful outcome here was that nothing unusual happened and normal service continued.

“Peter quickly understood what we wanted to achieve with our old and new systems and gave clear advice about avoiding any developments which might pose a risk.

He always explained the technical background clearly and looked for the most cost-effective solutions.

What I found different with Maple was the collaborative relationship: working together, we could hone in on the simplest solution.”
Emma Hyman
Head of Operations, Institute for Fiscal Studies


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