“Why Choose Drupal?” Outstanding Questionsx - HowTo.gov

plumpbustlingInternet and Web Development

Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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“Why Choose Drupal?” Outstanding Questions Answered by Kirsten Burgard and
Mike Jennings


Q:

How do you deal with community fragmentation? Are there "polished" repositories of
govt
-
blessed Drupal modules? The same way Joomla has
YOOtheme

which is a polished
“vendor” of quality templates and content extensions.


A:
I would start my approach with
Distributions

instead of modules. Anyone interested in a
list of modules would be interested based on function. Thus, a list of modules, even govt
-
blessed ones, would not be very useful without any type of context around them. Since
Dru
pal distributions are organized by their utility and the functions they provide, I would
find one or two in common with my greatest need, then review the modules. The need to
maintain a Distribution across future Drupal versions also means that there is a

vested
interest [by the creators of the Distribution] in either doing thorough research on included
modules, or being prepared to actively participate in sponsoring this module’s upkeep.


There are some key factors that must be known before making a
theme

choice and sources
for themes such as how many different brands will appear on your sites, and how many
different layouts will you need; for example, one column, two column, three column,
stacked columns
, and / or grids?



If the answer to either of these questions is likely to be multiple, then you will need access
to advanced technical expertise to customize your themes. If you have access to advanced
technical expertise then you could use just about
any web design, whether it be for a
traditional site, for JOOMLA, Wordpress, or other. Your expert will know how to convert the
design to your Drupal site.



On the other hand, if all of your site pages will be branded with the same look and feel, and
if y
our content can conform to a single theme, then Google search is as good as any place
to start your search for “Drupal themes.”



Lastly, if you don’t have an expert available then be sure to pay attention to which version
the Drupal themes were created fo
r, for example Drupal 6, 7, or 8.



Q:
There are some who think an

Electronic Copyright Management Systems

like
Documentum or Sharepoint can supplant a web CMS. how can we argue that it's not a good
use and that Drupal/etc is more appropriate for the publ
ic facing site?


A:

Enterprise document management systems like the ones mentioned suffer the same
maintenance, support, and development risks as the rest of the proprietary content
management systems.



If an ECMS does exactly what is needed for people w
ho are already trained and if the shelf
life meets their requirements then who can argue?



Most multipurpose websites need a much longer shelf life. And, over the life of the system
users of the site will need new functionality, design and branding change
s, etc.


Q:

Does the White House or House/Senate use a special build or combo of Drupal?


A:
“Highly specialized with both shared and in
-
house developed modules” is probably a
more accurate description. Without a doubt the White House site would have a lot

of
customization in the security areas of user account management, password rules, access
permissions, and documented procedures. They probably also have built in automatic
publishing stages and notifications, perhaps with online peer communications as we
ll.


Q:
And what is OpenPublic and how does it fit into the Govt + Drupal ecosystem? Is it a
custom collection made for govt CMS purposes?


A:
It is a Distribution with a custom collection of Drupal modules, plus some unique new
innovations by its creator.

The look and feel, in addition to the modules all work together to
solve common problems of a state, local, or federal government operation.


Q:
Is Acquia a good resource for Drupal extensions/modules for govt?


A:
Absolutely. Dries Buytaert has a vested business interest in Acquia’s financial success, is
the creator and copyright holder to the Drupal trademark, and is the international Drupal
community leader.


Q:
Is there a lot of Drupal + "other service/app"" in
govt use? For example, Drupal+Socrata
for open data? What about document management?


A:

Alfresco

is another example.


Q:
How does Drupal support more complex user login/personalization/applications and
forms? We saw basic articles and pages. If someone could expand on more complex
functiona
lity and tools, would appreciate it.


A:

The simplest, most popular answer is probably the CCK module used to enrich articles of
content. In Drupal 7 I believe CCK applies to comments, taxonomy vocabularies, as well as
“pages.”



Having said that, there ar
e other custom modules such as CTools, Panels, and Forms
module that provide end
-
to
-
end form data collection, storage, and reporting solutions.