Over two per cent of websites in the world, including a number of US government websites such as the official site of the Whitehouse (www.whitehouse.gov), House of Representatives, Department of Energy, Commerce, Health etc., work on Drupal platform.
The official sites of USAID, the World Bank and Recovery.gov also deliver services using Drupal.
In recent months, various Government of India organisations, including the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research have also adopted Drupal as their communication platform. Delhi University as well as leading advocacy groups such as India Water Portal leverage Drupal to drive their digital initiatives and it is expected to grow by four times in India.
Dries Buytaert, the creator and project lead for the Drupal open source web publishing and collaboration platform and president of the Drupal Association, foresees a greater future for Drupal. India has the largest Drupal developer community, he said in an interview and since the content management system (CMS) is audited at many levels, there are no security concerns, he tells A. Saye Sekhar of Postnoon in an interview. “Effectively, we are an army and Drupal has changed the CMS landscape,” he said.A native of Belgium, Buytaert holds a PhD in computer science and engineering from Ghent University.
How is Drupal different from WordPress, Jumla, Ruby on Rails and other CMSs based on open source software?
There are hundreds of differences between those platforms and Drupal. We have the biggest developer community and Drupal is for them, while other CMSs are end-user friendly and are for low-end programming.
Don’t you think customisation of the CMS through open source software is as costly as programming with the help of any licensed software?
They are actually comparable and sometimes cheaper too, as most of the times you don’t need to write the codes. For proprietary software, codes will have to be written and it takes weeks or months. Drupal is alike a car. We will give all components. If you can, you will be able to assemble the CMS. Or else, the developer community helps.
In layman’s language, Drupal or Jumla can be compared with a fixed contours apartment, while the programmable CMS is akin to an independent bungalow. This means, a programmer enjoys a no-holds-barred freedom in building a CMS, what do you say?
It is actually the other way round. We give source code. We have no limitations. A lot of mobile solutions are working on our platform. Drupal is scalable in terms of adding applications, plugins, etc; while it is n ot possible with proprietary software.
Is open source software politically correct?
There is nothing to say whether the open source software is politically correct or not. The software is free. It is the value we create for organisations and their ecosystems that matters. We can offer an open source software and help the user take up commercial projects to make money. We help the world become economically viable.
How easy is conversion of a software built on dot net platform to Drupal?
Migration of the project depends on the complexity of the architecture of a website or portal. We have automated softwares to conversion. But then, complexity, as I said, is the key. In fact, many websites across the globe migrated taking the software’s open data using Drupal layer as the front end to showcase the locked in data. Most proprietary software don’t have this flexibility.
Is MySQL server a panacea for open source software websites? And it appears even these servers are as costly as the ones hosting portals/sites built on licenced versions?
Hosting is usually cheaper. Where it takes five dollars to host website built on Drupal, it takes $ 400 to host a site built on proprietary software. Because our codes are written on light-weight PHP platforms, while others write it on Java or Dot Net platforms. However, if the architecture is complicated with too many applications, the space occupied varies and MySQL server too costs more. It is usually cheaper, though.
Since the software is open source, what about the security concerns? How do you plan to address them?
The software once written or for that matter any application or code in Drupal passes through 30-40 software engineers audit them and eliminate any bugs and glitches. So, the security issues don’t arise. We have different layers of error-handling and measures to prevent virus attack.