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Cloud, Open Source Power TransLink's Web Presence [July 16, 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 16 juillet 2014h
,
Computerworld

By Rohan Pearce
Queensland public transport agency finds value in Drupal community
It was an aging bespoke application that drove TransLink to seek a new content management system, but it was the strength of the community surrounding the open source project that helped the Queensland public transport agency choose Drupal.

Prior to the switch to Drupal, which began last year, the former TransLink site was partly based on static files and partly on a "home-grown CMS that managed a lot of our custom content such as service disruption and events, so that we could do a little bit of distributed authoring within the organisation," said Natalie Gorring, manager, online products and services, at TransLink.

The old CMS, based on the Yii Web framework "was a few years old and needed updates," Gorring said. "As the TransLink website was evolving, we weren't able to keep up with updating the CMS that we had." As a result, TransLink started looking for alternatives.

"We didn't want to keep putting Band-Aids on our old CMS," Gorring explained.

The organisation reviewed a number of open source and proprietary CMSes, and Drupal came out on top. The open source project's active community was a factor in the decision, Gorring said. In addition, the TransLink team had in-house PHP skills, and that was also a factor in choosing the new CMS.

For the transition, TransLink relied heavily on its in-house skills but partnered with Acquia, the Boston-based company founded by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, for hosting. The TransLink site is hosted in Acquia's cloud service, Gorring said.

"The [Queensland] government at the moment is very supportive of cloud and data sharing," Gorring said.

(An IT strategy update released by the Queensland government in May this year placed cloud computing "at the centre of government ICT reform" in the state.)

Going with a cloud service "took some pressure off our business systems team, and we have a contract with Acquia for 24-hour support," Gorring said. The TransLink site gets around 130,000 unique visits daily.

The initial scope of the Drupal project was a 'like for like' transition, replicating the organisation's existing website using the open source CMS. "We didn't have the time to add new features at the time," Gorring said. "For customers there was no difference, except maybe a few URL changes."

The transition took place over a period of around nine months, beginning late last year.

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Transit Strike Shows Power of Drupal, Cloud Computing [May 16, 2014]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 16 mai 2014h
,
StateScoop

In October, Bay Area Rapid Transit, which provides public transportation to the city of San Francisco, found itself in a public labor dispute, which culminated in a four-day strike that halted transportation services.

With nearly 400,000 daily riders — San Franciscans who relied on the system for transportation — the department’s website found itself with 10 times its normal traffic as users looked for information on when trains would run again.

The increase in Web traffic normally would have shut the site down, but just weeks before, the transit system — affectionately known as BART — moved its Web operations to Drupal, hosted inside Acquia’s cloud.

“Drupal allowed them the space to innovate and find better ways to communicate with their users,” Todd Akers, vice president of public sector for Acquia, told StateScoop. “In addition, hosting on Acquia Cloud allowed them to reduce costs by 70 percent and gave them the elasticity needed to handle times of higher demand.”

Akers pointed to a similar situation Acquia worked on with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority in October 2012. When Hurricane Sandy caused outages throughout the northeast, the department’s Web operations were able to keep running – keeping citizens informed – during times of crisis when communication is needed most.

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