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Where content meets technology

Oct 28, 2009

Is Drupal the right platform for whitehouse.gov?

By now, most people have heard that whitehouse.gov has been migrated over to Drupal. Apparently, the administration has built a level of comfort with the platform with its experience using it for recovery.gov. While the Drupal community is doing high fives all around and equating this with being the most powerful CMS in the free world, I wouldn't go that far. I would say that Drupal is a very good choice for powering the kind of website that the Obama administration is trying to foster: content rich, news oriented, faceted, and populist.

Apparently, Slate Magazine's Chris Wilson wasn't so generous with his critique of the choice. I discovered the Slate article by reading Conor McNamara's excellent post
"Drupal misrepresented by Chris Wilson of slate.com." In my opinion, Conor's responses to Wilson's points are spot-on. Some of Wilson's criticisms reflect configuration choices, not limitations of the platform (like not being able to add Javascript to a content objects. It's a bad idea to allow this by the way.). Slate.fr uses Drupal and the Today's Pictures section of Slate.com is Drupal powered. It seems like Chris has just enough knowledge to sound ignorant. Readers of my reports know that I can get critical of technologies. But whenever I criticize, I make sure to do my research because I know that I am going to get attacked by defenders of that technology. Chris is about to learn this lesson. If Slate.com's commenting system wasn't so bad, he would learn even faster.