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Weather.com Moving to Drupal

Today, I am proud to announce that one of the highest profile websites in the world, Weather.com, will be joining the Drupal community. With 100 million unique visitors per month, to my knowledge, Weather.com will be the highest traffic Drupal site in existence, validating the open source content management system's power and flexibility within the high-traffic website landscape.

It is easy to understand why Weather.com, based in Atlanta, Ga., though barely two years into a contract with its current vendor, needed to rethink its content management system approach. One of the primary goals of the media organization is to get content out of the editor’s bay and onto its site in minutes. Anything that slows that process down, stands in the way of the company’s success.

The existing CMS takes too long to get content to the audience and is cumbersome. Users have reported that the system had a clunky, hard-to-use interface and required up to 14 clicks just to publish content. With the velocity at which weather reports occur, Weather.com needed a platform that would allow content administrators to rapidly release those updates. This is an area where Drupal excels.

To identify a new CMS, Weather.com spent about a year doing a significant amount of due diligence, ruling out proprietary systems, such as Adobe CQ and SDL Tridion. Weather.com did not want to be held hostage to a 5-year product road map or be highly vendor dependent. This ruled out closed-source code options. Drupal became the top choice for its ease of use, flexibility, and speed in which it allowed users—even non-technically savvy ones—to publish new content. Additionally, the ability to innovate and create customized features were highly appealing.

"We have often turned to excellent large-scale open source projects to solve our technology needs. Drupal is a fantastic CMS backed by a highly skilled and motivated set of developers. It is a great fit for us from both a technological and cultural standpoint," said Chris McClellen, Senior Vice President, Systems Engineering for The Weather Company.

Over the last six months, Mediacurrent and Acquia have been shepherding Weather.com’s on-ramping of Drupal via a proof-of-concept and discovery engagement. The media organization will now have a platform it can grow with and will no longer need to worry about delivering timely content to its massive amount of followers. We are looking forward to the next part of the journey.
Dave Terry is a partner at Mediacurrent, a Drupal consultancy based in Atlanta, GA. In addition to making sure everything is running smoothly behind the scenes, Dave’s most important responsibility is ensuring that Mediacurrent exceeds client expectations on every project.

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Posted on by Erich (not verified).

Out of curiosity, what is their current CMS? Is it commercial or internal?

Posted on by Anonymous (not verified).

Its Percussion CM Server

Posted on by Dinos Papoulias.

Percussion = pain.

Posted on by Nikolay Petrov (not verified).

> weather.com
Now this site made NOT on Drupal (18 may 2013)
where is the proof?

Posted on by Sean Robertson.

It said that they are moving to Drupal, not that they have already done so. In other words, this is an announcement of a work in progress.

That said, very curious what the planned launch date is. I'd kill to see a whitepaper on how they're building it (especially workflow and location stuff).

Posted on by Timothy Sykes (not verified).

So is drupal an alternative to wordpress or am I missing something here?

Posted on by Sean Robertson.

Wordpress excels at blogging and general content management, but Drupal is so much more. Thanks to it's extensive hook system and other internal APIs, you can build entire applications around it with very complex logic, especially with Drupal 7's entity API and the coming services layer baked into D8. Furthermore, having looked at the source code of a number of Wordpress plugins I honestly have to say I am really unimpressed with the quality of their codebase. Drupal code (both core and contrib) just seems far cleaner.

For an example of the power and flexibility of Drupal, check out surexdirect.com - that is an entire insurance application system built using the entity API. Policies, drivers, cars, and homes, are all entities with references between them. Forms are generated dynamically based off the entity objects through the existing API classes (though often extended in this case). It leverages entity revisions as well. There is also a significant amount of integration with third party services. This is probably about as complex an application as you'd want to build in Drupal 7, but it is certainly not the limit, and Drupal 8 will be even more adaptable to these kinds of complex applications.

I wouldn't even dream of attempting something like that in Wordpress. ;-)

Posted on by Michael Scearce (not verified).

Having been involved in the launch of the original flat html weather.com in 1995, my best wishes and respect goes with their choice of Drupal to push into the future. I found it over 6 years ago and have been using it for data driven smallish sites ever since. It will be fun to watch the roll out!

Posted on by Anonymous (not verified).

Having weather.com as one of its users, Acquia and more so Drupal can prove their doubters wrong. Post implementation, this case study can be used as a benchmark for performance , stability and reliability by Acquia. Looking forward for more tech details around this!

Posted on by Robert Zomer (not verified).

Good for you! Love drupal!

Posted on by Edward Miller (not verified).

With Millions of Visitors Weather.com is going to join Drupal and it is a big achievement that further enhances other websites' reliability on it. This shift of the website to Drupal has made things easy as well so it is a good sign for future prospects.

Posted on by Joe (not verified).

Hi, just curious... were there any new weather modules developed during the process of rebuilding weather.com that are available to public so we can display weather on our drupal site with more flexability?

Posted on by [email protected].

Is this still happening? Looks like weather.com is not yet on Drupal.

Posted on by Tom W (not verified).

@Bill, Since may of last year, Drupal has been feeding content to their existing front-end, in what we call a "Headless Drupal" architecture e.g. Drupal w/o the theming layer.

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