Building Drupal publishing sites on OpenPublish
by Alex Lindahl
Publishers love Drupal. We see this everyday at Acquia. In fact, they make up one of our largest group of customers including the Slate Group, Thomson Reuters, and MotherJones.com. Publishers continue adopting and migrating existing sites because they can leverage thousands of modules, features, and monetization capabilities of Drupal to stay on top of the latest web trends and technologies. This is no surprise due to Drupal’s inherit social capabilities, custom content types, media and third party integration, and flexibility to customize or build on the CMS in any way you desire. In observation of this growing vertical adoption of Drupal, our partner Phase2 Technology realized they were building common features in all of their publishing implementations. Naturally, this led them to develop OpenPublish, and now, a closer partnership with Acquia that bundles packaged solutions for the distribution of Drupal.
If you’re not familiar with OpenPublish, it was developed with support from Thompson Reuters. The distribution provides an easy on-ramp, ideal for a variety of implementations including media outlet sites including magazines, newspapers, journals, trade publications, broadcast, wire service and membership publications. The distribution simplifies the development of publishing sites by providing pre-configured modules, features, and integration to third party applications. Features support everything from basic news coverage needs to citizen journalism, a variety of monetization models, and topic hubs powered by semantic metadata that aggregates relevant content from around the web.
Beyond enhanced usability and rich features, publishers have been particularly interested in OpenPublish for its application of the semantic web. For example, two of the longest-running magazines in the US, The Nation and The New Republic are built on distribution. By integrating with Thompson Reuters Open Calais, articles, videos, images, and other content can be pulled in alongside articles or topics to give a broader view of what’s happening. This is not only meaningful for audience engagement; the semantic web enables publishers to create topic hubs that self populate with content. Yes, this helps increase pageviews and increase the number of pages that can be monetized. The great part about this is that you don’t have to increase your editorial team. It doesn’t need to be manually updated like the New York Times topic hubs. After setup and initial configuration, you're set, and OpenPublish will take care of all your content aggregation needs.
One of the other cool features I love is OpenPublish’s built in premium content options. This enables publishers to require login or payment for users to view selected articles or content types - a model that publishers are increasingly working with. While at the OpenPublish training session at Drupalcon, I met Don Judd who said the model is working very well for his site, The Sierra Vista Herald. They have over 350 premium content subscribers. Although, Don didn’t know about OpenPublish when they started development, he’s looking to move the rest of their sites over to the distribution. Simply put, he said “this would have enabled me to build the site in 1 week rather then 6 months…it takes a lot of the configuration and development work out of the process so you can spend more time on design and core business.”
To take OpenPublish to the next level and increase adoption, we've partnered with Phase2 Technology. Our new software publishing packages provide everything organizations needs to get started, support and maintain implementations of OpenPublish without needing to additional Drupal developers. These fully managed offerings provide the following services, business benefits, and overarching goals for Drupal:
· 24x7 Enterprise Support
· Cloud hosting
· Improve staff and operational efficiency
· Enable staff to focus on core business instead of IT operations
· Vertical expertise from Acquia and Phase2 Technology
· Latest best practices for Drupal implementations
· Easy scalability for traffic peaks and site growth
· Faster onramp to Drupal
· Stability and security of ongoing site maintenance
· Increase Drupal adoption through vertical offerings
· Create revenue and distribution channels for Acquia partners
· Promote OpenPublish
· Build model for other distributions and partners’ who want to build distributions
We're all very excited for the new initiative and will be posting more as the software publishing model at Acquia develops and continue gaining momentum in the publishing vertical with OpenPublish.