Colorado Refers Drupal for Web Development

22 January 2014

Detroit: The federal government's HealthCare.gov example not bearing up, government website design and deployment doesn't have to be lengthy, complicated and expensive, as the state of Colorado has lately demonstrated with its deployment of a Drupal-based content management system (CMS).

Drupal is a free, open-source suite that can be downloaded at drupal.org. Its center application provides support for websites, blogs, forums and community websites with user-generated content. As it is Web-based, it is well-matched with all operating systems.

One obvious advantage of using the free, open-source Drupal platform is cost savings.

John Conley, executive director of Colorado's Statewide Internet Portal Authority, said in a press release that “by moving to Drupal, SIPA is able to offer more of the advanced features and functions that our customers have been asking for while decreasing the overhead for our developers and designers. This means that we will be able to roll out sites faster than ever before and in a more cost-friendly manner for our operations.”

SIPA provides the oversight body of the Colorado.gov portal, which is the admission to Colorado government sites and e-government services. In fact, SIPA holds more than 200 sites for state and local agencies, and it reports speedy growth in demand over the past three years.

“While the state had been constricting with an in-state CMS provider, Conley stated that the growth in the service needed a look at alternative platforms that would let for more robust functionality, greater stability and ability to serve a rising number of users who access partner information via mobile devices.”

“The Drupal platform is especially effective for those state agencies that do not have the staff or resources to assign to a lengthy website design effort,” Colorado Interactive general manager Fred Sargeson, said in a statement said, “Our goal is for this technology to be accessible to every agency and local government across the state. This platform allows for that.”Colorado is just the newest government entity to turn to a Drupal-based CMS. It is employed on more than 150 sites in federal government, and just as many state government sites also make use of it, as per Drupal.org. The Energy Department, which employed Drupal to help merge a number of sites in 2011, accounted saving $10 million in the process. The New York State Senate employed Drupal to develop a mobile application which allows state residents access the Senate’s web page and contact their representatives from their mobile devices.”

Among the Drupal features that made it appealing to Colorado are:

  • A single site theme that provides consistent branding across agencies and their divisions.
  • An easy-to-use web content management interface.
  • Content that is easily shared among divisions and pages.
  • The ability to publish content on-demand with no delays.
  • iFrames that deliver easy department branding.
  • The ability to create vanity URLs.
  • The ability to create web forms.
  • The time-saving ability to upload multiple files at one time.

The first full site built with Drupal – that of the Department of Personnel and Administration – started on Oct 17. It comprised nine mini-sites for each of the department’s divisions and was able to make more than 600 pages of Web content in less than 1 week.

As per Drupal Association, which is hosted by the Oregon State University Open Source Lab, the Drupal project is powered by over half a million people in more than 200 countries, with nearly 1000 members of Drupal community contributing to the core application and thousands more developing contributed modules.

Read more: Drupal Web Development

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