Thinking » Tags » Open Source
All over the world, release parties like this one will be celebrating a milestone in Drupal’s history – the release of version 7. Oomph and the Providence Drupal Meetup would like to invite you to our office for a little party on the occasion. Snacks and libations will be provided, so come down, hang out, and check out our cool office space in recycled shipping containers.
Friday January 7th, 6pm
the Box Office, Units 301 and 302
460 Harris Avenue
It doesn’t look much different than it did a month ago, but under the hood the most prominent website in U.S. government is now running the open source Drupal content management system. This apparently replaces an unknown proprietary CMS that was implemented during the Bush Administration.
On the heels of the high-profile Recovery.gov Drupal site launched earlier in the year, this is another big win for the Open Source community and an important stamp of approval for the Drupal system. Seeing a site with this level of prominence leverage Open Source technology will be noticed by governments and corporations around the world where Open Source has traditionally been looked at as not polished enough and not secure enough for mission critical operations. For direct web communications with the U.S. people, WhiteHouse.gov is about as mission critical as it gets.
Having worked through dozens of projects on Open Source content management systems, the government’s Drupal choice is not at all surprising. The evolution of the platform from it’s political roots during the Dean Campaign in 2004 is just extraordinary. Today, there is not much you can’t do on the platform with it’s robust developer API and with the thousands of modules contributed to the project by the community.
Although we don’t have access to all the specific Drupal modules in place (I’d love to see it), we did notice a few interesting tidbits via a look at the page source:
- Related blog posts appear to be handled by the Views module (no surprise there)
- The popular AddThis link sharing service is being used
- WebTrends is keeping track of your visits (Sorry, Google Analytics)
- The beautiful slideshow on the homepage is built with jQuery
- Contributed module Galleria is getting some use in the Photo Galleries
- And in case you were wondering, yes, the robots.txt file is still only two lines long, slightly shorter than 2,400 present during the prior Administration
Have you uncovered more details? Let us know in the comments. It’ll be interesting to see how this site evolves in the coming months and years knowing that Drupal is under the hood.
Update 10/26/2009 – More Open Source in government. The SEC’s Investor.gov site launched a few days ago on WordPress, our other favorite platform.
Increasingly, savvy organizations are asking for web solutions built on open source content management systems. We’re all for it: we’ve built solutions on a variety of platforms, including WordPress and Drupal, both open source projects. We’ve even released a few open source plug-ins of our own.
Open source certainly offers benefits, including a transparency that we believe encourages better programming (“the best disinfectant is light”), the removal of the dependence on a single software vendor, and often times, incredibly low cost of ownership. All of that said, as advocates of custom solutions for clients with custom needs, we know that the open source solution isn’t always the right solution.
More importantly, we’ve found that savvy clients and prospects asking for open source are actually getting at something more essential: open platform solutions.