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Twice a year Drupal people -- publishers, coders, designers and users -- gather to discuss the websites they’ve built with the open-source CMS, play foosball and write code. A year ago, 800 Drupal fans went to Boston. This year, 1400 attended sellout DrupalCon sessions in Washington, DC. The transparency movement, and recent news that the US government’s Recovery.gov site had been built on Drupal made the conference a tough ticket to come by.
Drupal is a Content Management System -- a toolkit for building websites. It’s open-source, which means the code of Drupal is available for anyone to tweak. Because it’s widely used, communities have sprung up around customizing Drupal for particular users’ needs. There’s a website for sharing this code, and lively communities surround it. In this, by the way, Drupal is not unique -- there’s lots of open-source software, and many open-source CMSes. But the community around Drupal is large, with a sizable group of nonprofit users. Because of this, there are a couple of developments of note to the nonprofit and philanthropic communities.
Grants for the community by the community
Friday saw announcement of the winners of Knight Drupal Initiative funding. The John S. And James L. Knight Foundation awarded nearly half a million dollars of grants to six projects using Drupal to lower the barriers to online publishing.
Project nominations came from the Drupal community itself, through a six-month-long process set by the community. There’s an interesting story behind that.
A year and a half or so ago, Knight noticed that many applications to it’s community news grant competition were built on Drupal. Realizing that the foundation was not in the best position to judge technical proposals -- and that Drupal had a vibrant community with enough structure to do the job -- Knight asked for help. Interested Drupal folks planned the application projects and vetted the proposals. Knight then made the final funding decisions.
But what about projects that didn’t get funded? One NPO is drumming up funding for one of the projects that didn’t suit Knight’s criteria. Even more do-it-yourself!
Other Drupalcon news
- OpenPublish, a publication-in-a-box Drupal install, was released. The software has everything needed to put together an online newspaper, including powerful semantic tagging from Thomson Reuters’ OpenCalais project. Calais is worth watching. You send it text, and it returns you the companies, people and places mentioned. With a couple of Drupal modules packaged with OpenPublish, Calais provides related content out-of-the-box.
- And we were there, presenting about our adventures running Drupal sites in the Amazon Cloud.
- Update: Some of the code we use here on casefoundation.org may be of interest. If you need to do content versioning, take a look at Full Node Version module, which we use to provide draft and production views of cf.org -- without touching the database.