Drupal and Dries

I had the pleasure of meeting the creator of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, at SXSWinteractive. In addition to creating Drupal, he’s the CTO of Acquia, and Mollom the spam fighter. The following blog post is a compilation or my notes (tweets) from the @Guidelight account.

First and foremost, Webmasters don’t scale. One challenge they face is the slow pace of innovation from proprietary CMSs. Worse, they have the daunting managing task of administrating content from a universe of end users – each with different styles, goals, and work habits.

Dries asserts there are 4 “Freedoms of Open Source Software” such as Drupal. Specifically, open source software is free to:

1. Run
2. Study
3. Modify
4. Redistribute

Although Drupal is an open source content management system (CMS), it is actually so much more than just a CMS. It is versatile and supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites. Drupal combines many systems: Blogs, Wiki, E-commerce, Forums, Peer-to-peer networking, Newsletters, Podcasting, Picture galleries, File uploads and downloads, and has many more capabilities. Drupal is a very good platform for sites that contain lots of user generated content.

Drupal began in ’99 out of Dries dorm room and has evolved into a community of passionate developers and users. There are now over 1000 development shops, 5000+ contributed modules, and the Drupal Core has over 300,000 downloads per month. With this large Drupal community, there is a lot more innovation than those seen with proprietary CMS. Most of these innovations are in the form of over 5000 contributed modules.

In addition to its breadth, Drupal is highly scalable. Some fabulous and famous sites that use Drupal are: Emmys.com, Whitehouse.gov and Grammys.com. Also, tech heavyweight brands such as Intuit and Nokia have implemented their community sites in Drupal. Other famous organizations such as IBM and NASA use Drupal to integrate with WebSphere and Explore Mars though not necessarily in the same implementation. Lots of government sites use Drupal as their website technology platform especially for their Open Government initiatives.

The Twitter hash tag for Dries SXSW interactive session was #ripcontentmgmt. My guess for this is that Drupal 6 is now nearly 2 years old with Drupal 7 coming out soon (there have already been several beta releases to date). Drupal 7 improves scalability and has an included testing framework. However, Drupal 7 will not be backwards compatible. Therefore, I would wait to explore it until after more contributed modules have been made compatible with Drupal 7.

Also, Guidelight Business Solutions is looking forward to participating in our first DrupalCon. More information about DrupalConSF can be found here: http://sf2010.drupal.org/ Demand for Drupal is growing and Drupal Conferences are one way of participating in the community.

We at Guidelight Business Solutions look forward to answering your Drupal and related CMS questions.



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