Gov embraces Drupal for web needs

More government departments and agencies - including WhiteHouse.gov - are using content management system Drupal to build a web presence that aligns with their mission goals.
When he took office, President Obama called for more openness and transparency in government; Drupal allows agencies to put information online and incorporate social functions like Twitter and Facebook integration, blogs and forums.

With Drupal, agencies can add features to their website "without writing any line of code," said Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER. Buytaert is also the founder of Acquia, a for-profit company that offers web support for Drupal.

The government has a goal to increase innovation. As an open source software, hundreds of thousands of people contribute to improving the product, taking the software into directions Buytaert said he never would have imagined.

And as the government tightens the budget belt, agencies can turn to Drupal for building a website without adding to costs - the software is free.

Buytaert started developing Drupal a decade ago, initially wanting to create a messageboard to communicate with his friends, he said. Over the years, Drupal has become a full-on content management system that has been downloaded 2 million times.

As the "social revolution" has changed from adding comments on "static pages" to more interactivity on social networking sites, Drupal has kept pace with the changes, Buytaert said. At some agencies, Drupal is not only a public collaboration tools but also used as an intranet for internal collaboration, he added.

Agencies concerned about security using Drupal can be assured that "at least a handful" of people and sometimes as many as 20 or 30 people review a change before making it, Buytaert said. What's more, government entities perform formal security audits, he said.

"All of those things combined make Drupal a very safe choice," Buytaert said.

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