Drupal on the rise in government with ALRC website win

Open source CMS becoming the dominant platform for many federal government agencies

The Drupal community has notched up another win with the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) joining the ranks of organisations implementing the open source content management system (CMS) for its web presence.

After going to tender looking for an open source solution in October last year, the new ALRC website was launched last week.

In a statement, ALRC president, professor Rosalind Croucher, highlighted the use of now-familiar web community solutions.

“Web 2.0 tools and social media hold enormous potential for sharing information, knowledge and ideas and for enabling the community to collaborate and contribute actively to public life,” Croucher said. “Our new website is more user-friendly, will allow easier access to the wealth of information on the website and gives greater scope for the public to talk to the ALRC, interact with other stakeholders, and contribute to our work”.

The site uses a Twitter feed on the home page and incorporates topic-specific blogs and forums.

The site follows several moves by Federal Government agencies in recent times to adopt the government 2.0 philosophy and continues the trend toward using the Drupal CMS.

The managing partner of the company responsible for helping the ALRC design and launch the site, PreviousNext’s Owen Lansbury, attributed the Drupal choice to flexibility.

“We’ve done a lot of work with the NSW government as well,” he said. “All of their portal is Drupal as well and they are starting to roll out all of their departments on Drupal as well. And then we have done ALRC and we are doing one for Human Services as well at the moment. In most cases the key has been the flexibility in getting it to do what they want it to do as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

By flexibility, Lansbury pointed to both the ability to customise code and also use the library of modules the Drupal open source community has created.

For a more in depth look at the rise of Drupal and the thoughts of its lead developer, Dries Buytaert, click here.

Drupal has risen as a popular platform in recent times, especially among Government agencies. Less than two months ago, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it will look to a PHP and Drupal-based website to serve up documents under its Freedom of Information (FOI) obligations.

The corporate watchdog has opted to use PHP version 5.2.8 and Drupal version 6.17 to build the website, which it must launch by 1 May, 2011 as part of changes made to the FOI Act.

Other high profile websites using Drupal including the Prime Minister's site, and ABC's three digital radio websites – Dig Music, ABC Jazz and ABC Country.

Drupal also powers organisations as diverse as Obama's administration and NASA in the US, to Greenpeace and McDonald's.

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