The federal government is eyeing the introduction of a government-wide content-management system. The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has indicated its preference is to use the open-source Drupal Web platform and to have the CMS delivered as a cloud service.
"The Government Content Management System (GovCMS) is envisaged as an important service offering for Australian Commonwealth Government agencies," the Australian government CTO, John Sheridan, wrote in a blog entry.
"GovCMS is intended to support more effective web channel delivery functions within Government, and enable agencies to redirect effort from non-core transactional activities, towards higher-value activities that are more aligned with core agency missions," a draft statement of requirements issued by AGIMO states.
An analysis by AGIMO found that between 182 and 450 websites could be transitioned to GovCMS over four years. The use of an open source solution means that Drupal modules could be shared between public sector agencies and the community, the draft states.
A transition to GovCMS will begin with Australia.gov.au and Finance.gov.au, the document states. The target go-live date is September this year.
Government has historically been one of Drupal's strongest markets, along with higher education.
In 2012 local developers unveiled 'aGov': A distribution of Drupal 7 designed specifically for use by Australian government agencies. PreviousNext's aGov is intended to make it quicker for agencies to build and deploy sites while complying with AGIMO's mandatory Web requirements.
aGov has already been used to deliver the Web presence of a number of government agencies, including New South Wales' Service NSW.
More than 100 federal, state and territory government sites run the open source platform, according to Drupal.org.
Internationally, high-profile Drupal-based sites include Whitehouse.gov.
Drupal 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.
That figure is based on a component in the CMS that polls the Drupal.org website for updates, and so is likely to extremely conservative.
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.
There are more than 26,000 contributed Drupal modules that add new features to the CMS, and more than 32,000 developers registered at Drupal.org. The CMS has a modular structure and substantial points of integration with other software packages.
The CMS was created by Dries Buytaert. Buytaert has previously explained that he started the project as a way of experimenting with Web technologies: "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."
Drupal is currently in the middle of a major re-architecture, with Drupal 8 to have a radically different design incorporating elements of the Symfony2 Web framework.
D8 will sport numerous other changes including integrated WYSIWYG content creation and in-line editing, support for responsive design 'out of the box' and multi-language support.
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