Drupal

Drupal is a type of content management software that is currently employed by major companies such as BBC, NBC, and MTV in the UK. Drupal is a very flexible software and allows for easy content authoring, reliable performance, and secure features. There are thousands of add-ons and modules that expand the functionality of a Drupal framework for a business or organization. It is an open-source software that can be used by anyone and shared with others and is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License which allows for users to copy, distribute, and modify aspects of the software.

Drupal was created in 2000 by two University of Antwerp students, Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder, who wanted a reliable Internet connection and set up a wireless bridge between their dorm rooms so that their Internet connection could be shared via Hans’s ADSL modem connection among eight students. What was lacking, however, was a way to communicate with each other; so Dries started a news site with a web board where he and his friends could discuss the status of their network, discuss plans with each other, share news, and simply communicate. When Dries graduated, the internal site was placed online as a way to keep in touch with his friends, and was originally going to be named dorp.org as “dorp” is the Dutch word for “village.” He checked to see if the URL was available and mistyped it as “drop”, so it became drop.org.

Once drop.org became a live site, its audience evolved and it attracted new members who started talking about inventive digital technologies such as moderation, syndication, rating, and distributed authentication. Drop.org in essence became a forum for personal experimentation that was driven by discussions and ideas. The ideas that were sparked in these discussions became part of the features in the software behind drop.org.

In January 2001, Dries released the software behind drop.org so that others could use it and extend the platform so it could lead to new paths in web development. The software was named “Drupal” which derived from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word “druppel” which means “drop.” Current industries that use Drupal software include nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Mercy Corps; healthcare organizations such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer. 71% of the top 100 universities in the world including MIT, Oxford University, Stanford, and every Ivy League college;  and 73% of the top 30 media companies such as Walt Disney, Time, 21st Century Fox, CBS, and Viacom use Drupal.

There have been several case studies of organizations that have successfully used Drupal software, including work done by Princeton University Press, the US Department of Energy, Major League Soccer, and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Princeton University Press used Drupal software to update its homepage to make it more accessible to desktop computers and mobile devices, update its user interface with a minimal drop-down main menu, a collapsible search box, new page templates that consistently displayed book information, and collapsing long sections of text to streamline page length. The US Department of Energy used Drupal to create a new digital presence and deliver a mobile-friendly user experience that reflected its mission of innovation in energy technology and policy. Major League Soccer employed Drupal software to migrate its 20 club sites onto one platform and customize each team page with each team’s unique design, provide multimedia platforms that allowed viewers to enjoy games in real-time from whatever device they used, and used a software module to configure ad placement. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity wanted to use a single platform for its information and provide a design for both the hospital and charity pages that reflected their differing needs.

Sources

  1. GNU General Public License, http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html, accessed 6/12/18
  2. Drupal website, drupal.org, accessed 6/12 and 6/13/18

 

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