Drupal is now the default for lots of governments, but Australia has still found a way to do something disruptive. All over the world, people are keeping an eye on the federal government’s optional, open source website platform govCMS, according to the architect of the code base at its foundation.
The govCMS project is moving full steam ahead in 2015, with an important technical milestone passed and a new delivery partnership with a firm that just hired one of Canberra’s top Drupal experts.
The new web publishing platform promises to raise the standard of government websites by giving agencies a cost-effective, robust and flexible go-to option. It does that by leveraging the combined expertise that has already been poured into Drupal, the world’s largest open source software collaboration.
Last month brought word the relevant version of Drupal — a distribution called aGov designed locally for Australian government agencies — had been forked, which is to say it was split into two versions, with the new one intended just for govCMS. In some ways it’s uncharted waters ahead, says Christopher Skene, one of the architects of aGov and founder of Canberra’s annual DrupalGov conference.
The open source website building tool is already very popular among Canberra’s public service agencies; this year, the conference organisers are aiming to sell about 250 tickets. Over time, govCMS is expected to draw more of the IT industry into the Drupal scene.
Skene recently went to work for strategic marketing agency Komosion, where he is building its Drupal practice, and the company has just been signed up as the latest govCMS delivery partner. Skene helped lead development of aGov until early this year while working for a different firm which still maintains the open source project. The fact that it can be picked up and used freely by others — including as the foundation of govCMS — neatly demonstrates the value of open source software: nobody controls the core intellectual property.
“So when the Department of Finance was looking for a Drupal solution, I guess this was the obvious choice; there was nothing else on the market so they took that and started working with it,” Skene explained, speaking to The Mandarin one afternoon with his new boss, John O’Neill, who headed up Tourism NSW in a previous life. (+)