Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Drupal in da House? Kinda!

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, January 14 2011

Cross-section of the Capitol dome and rotunda by
Thomas U. Walter; image credit: Architect of the Capitol.

Here's a bit more on the news that the U.S. House of Representatives has embraced the open-source content management system Drupal, a move noted by Drupal's original creator Dries Buytaert and covered by O'Reilly's Alex Howard.

To start, some context. The White House, of course, made the switch to Drupal on WhiteHouse.gov back in October 2009, with the help of Buytaert and his company, Acquia, a Drupal vendor. But an important thing to keep in mind here is that House.gov isn't WhiteHouse.gov's equal.

That's because House.gov is, on its own, more or less a portal site pointing people to the 520 or so sites that run on the House.gov domain. Each individual office -- say, adamsmith.house.gov or foreignaffairs.house.gov -- operates its own website, with its own budget and vendors, running on the House infrastructure. There's not much to House.gov itself.

There are three main things that happened with Drupal here, from what one can suss out. The first is that the Chief Administrative Officer of the House has named Drupal "the preferred web hosting environment for the House," and as part of that, put out a call for Drupal shops [pdf] who might want to be added to the list of "pre-approved vendors" that CAO gives to House offices who might be looking to build a website. Second, the set up, by default, each of the 94 newly-elected members of Congress on a Drupal website as they start their terms. And third, House.gov (as in, the portal site alone), will be transitioned to Drupal "during the next several few months," said CAO communications director Dan Weiser.

Shorter version, from Weiser: "Yes, we're offering Drupal. We think it's a win, because it allows offices more flexibility. But no, no one has to switch over. The 500-plus offices -- the individual offices and committees -- can be on whatever system they want to be on."

Shortest version: has the House of Representatives switched to Drupal? Kinda. (Yes, you could have stopped at the headline.)

NextGov's Brian Kalish has a longer, broader take on the news.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Wartime

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. GO

More