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White House to Drupal Community: "Here, We Made These"

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, April 21 2010

Credit: Drupal.org
Credit: DrupalConSF/Brightcove

When the Obama White House switched WhiteHouse.gov from a proprietary content management system to the open-source Drupal system in October last, a lingering question was whether WhiteHouse.gov would not only be Drupal, but be of Drupal. Less pretentiously, would this White House be active participants in the robust Drupal community that is one of the things that sets Drupal apart as a endeavor?

At the DrupalCon San Francisco event today, WhiteHouse.gov's site director Dave Cole announced that the White House was pushing some of the code it had worked up into the common Drupal pot for anyone to use. (Thanks Nick Judd) Blogged Cole on WhiteHouse.gov, "By releasing some of our code, we get the benefit of more people reviewing and improving it. In fact, the majority of the code for WhiteHouse.gov is already open source as part of the Drupal project. The code we're releasing today adds to Drupal's functionality in three key ways."

Cole went on to detail four new modules the White House is contributing back to Drupal -- ones that should prove particularly useful if you, too, are handling the website of the leader of the free world. The first two modules contributed back to Drupal by the Obama White House have to do with scalability. The first of the pair helps to tell web servers how to handle certain pages through metadata, and the second connects sites to Akamai, the content delivery system that makes sure WhiteHouse.gov never, ever (cross you fingers) goes down. The third module ties the Drupal CMS to the email service that many government entities use. The fourth is aimed at making rich multimedia content accessible to people with disabilities.

All four White House-developed modules are now available on Drupal.org. "The development of this module was done as part of the Whitehouse.gov project," read the credits on the contributed nodes, "and was sponsored by The Executive Office of the President."

Also worth noting: Cole's post on the White House blog marks the creation of a tantalizing new section on the White House website: WhiteHouse.gov/Tech. Oh, yes.

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