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

Submitted on
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
,
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, TranLink 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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Drupal gains ground down under

Submitted on
Thursday, July 24, 2014
,
Computerworld

Computerworld speaks with Drupal's lead developer and several Drupal shops about the open source CMS used in a growing number of organisations around the world, including the Prime Minister’s office.

The open source content management system (CMS), Drupal, continues to gain popularity both locally and internationally. The CMS powers several new high profile websites including the Prime Minister's site, launched last month and designed by Canberra-based company OPC IT and ABC's three digital radio websites – Dig Music, ABC Jazz and ABC Country. Internationally, it is used by organisations as diverse as Obama's administration in the US to Greenpeace to McDonalds.

Two years ago, Drupal's lead developer, Dries Buytaert, told Computerworld that his five-year goal was to see many more people using Drupal in many more places to build increasingly complex websites. With a number of attention-gaining Drupal sites launched around the world since then, it seems that Buytaert is on his way to achieving that goal.

Buytaert is predicting that, as has been the case in other countries, the recent launch of large government websites like the Prime Minister's and the ABC sites will trigger further Drupal adoption in Australia.