Friday, July 17, 2009

Drupal for Newspapers

Readers of Drupal for Publishers know that Drupal has been very successful in the small to medium newspaper market. In fact, the Newspapers on Drupal group is assembling a list of modules commonly used by newspapers. This effort has been going on for some time but there has been renewed energy because the older list was oriented around the outdated 5.x series of Drupal.


There is also a Drupal distribution for newspapers called ProsePoint that bundles Drupal, many of the modules listed by the Newspapers on Drupal Group, and some other third party code. I think that creating vertical specific distributions of software is a neat idea and there are lots of great examples. Gartner has been talking about CEVAs (Content Enabled Vertical Applications) for years but it is unlikely that their commercial software vendor audience will be as quick to capitalize on the idea as open source communities.


From an open source community perspective, vertical distros introduces interesting dynamics. On the one hand, these groups definitely strengthen the bond within segments of the community who can benefit greatly by collaborating with peers with very similar needs. On the other hand, specialization of community segments requires strong central leadership to maintain common ground and prevent the different groups from becoming too self absorbed and self interested. I don't think this is a problem in the Drupal world because leaders in the Newspapers on Drupal community seem to have a very strong belief in and commitment to the Drupal project as a whole. For now, at least, this very active constituency seems to be nothing but a positive force in the greater Drupal movement.