Drupal, an open source content management system, now powers more than 1 million websites, according to figures released today. As of 15 February, 1,005,489 websites were powered by the CMS, according to the Drupal Association, a non-profit organisation that stewards the project.
(The figure was generated by an automated Drupal.org tool, and doesn't include sites running on versions earlier than 6.0.)
Some 12 per cent of the world's top 100,000 website have been built with Drupal, according to research by Builtwith Research cited by the Drupal Association.
It's heady stuff for an open source project born out of the desire of its creator, Dries Buytaert, to experiment with Web technologies.
"When I started Drupal, honestly I didn't have a master plan at all," Buytaert told Computerworld Australia in an interview last year.
"I started Drupal as a message board because I felt it was fun to build and we could actually use it in our student dorm. That kind of evolved into an experimental platform for me so I could experiment with different kinds of Web technologies from RSS feeds to blogging to other things.
"Eventually I moved my website from an internal, intranet kind of forum to the public Internet and that actually attracted an audience of people interested in the future of the Web."
Visitors to his site had a range of suggestions for modifications. "And so eventually I said, 'You know what — instead of me doing all the work how about I just give you the source code and then you can add these things yourself and feel free to send me back a patch'," Buytaert said.
"I kind of slapped the GPL licence on it, because that's what I knew from working on the Linux kernel, and I probably spent about 30 seconds thinking of a name — 'call it Drupal' — and uploaded a zipfile to my website for other to download...
"I had worked hard on it for a year and I was kind of proud of what I built, but I never expected a whole lot of people to adopt it."
Buytaert is now the chief technology officer for Acquia, the Drupal services company he co-founded. In November, it was the fastest-growing private company on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500. Its customers range from Warner Music Group to Service NSW.
The Drupal ecosystem includes thousands of Web development shops and contributors, with the size and breadth of its community cited as part of the CMS's appeal.
Drupal is currently in the middle of a major re-architecture. Version 8 of Drupal incorporates dramatic changes for many of aspects of the CMS, ranging from integrated WYSIWYG content creation and in-line editing, to support for responsive design 'out of the box' and multi-language support.