Drupal gains ground down under

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.

Agileware's Justin Freeman

Agileware's Justin Freeman

The Drupal Community

Both Hobbs and Roberts said that the nature of the Drupal community was a large factor in their decisions to base their businesses on Drupal.

“It was actually the community that attracted me to start with. I have used lots of content management systems over the years, including enterprise systems during the mega buck seven-figure deals, but the Drupal community is much more friendly and engaging than the communities around a lot of these other products,” said Roberts. “Once I got in to it and I had a look at the code, the architecture is also really good.” Hobbs said that when he was first dabbling with Drupal, the members of the community showed a certain attitude towards open source that he liked.

“There is a total lack of discrimination. There really is a strong ethos in the Drupal community - you are accepted even if you don't have all the skills,” he said. “Maybe you are a designer or you have basic skills and have never written a patch or made a contribution to a project. You will be hand-held through the process so that you can make your first contribution. And many people like that that have gone on to be major contributors. I definitely felt this ethos is stronger in Drupal than in other communities.”

Hobbs said that the project leader, Buytaert tends to take a leading role in stepping in and telling people that are being discriminatory.

“People that don't like that level of leadership will go and find another project to work on where it is ok to bad mouth people. The downside to having such a strong project lead is that if he goes off and does a different thing or gets hit by a bus there would be a big question mark over what the community would do. There are positives and negatives to having a strong project leader, I guess.”

Buytaert admits he actively encourages an open and non-discriminatory ethos.

“One of the great things about the Drupal community is the willingness to share and collaborate. The community leads DrupalCamps around the globe as well as the twice annual Drupalcon events in North America and Europe - these are all volunteer efforts dedicated to Drupal education and advancement,” he said.

“Given the size of the Drupal community and the more than 4,000 modules, it is hard for any one person to stay on top of all the things happening with the technology at any one time. Participating in the Drupal community, whether on drupal.org, on IRC or at a local event, is important to understanding all the things you can do with Drupal.”

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