Health With a Capital H

DrupalCon: Community and Collaboration in Denver

March 21, 2012

By Nathaniel Kraft, Web Producer III

DrupalCon Denver

DrupalCon2012 may sound like one of those sci-fi conferences, but this annual event isn’t for Star Wars-quoting, Klingon-dressing devotees. DrupalCon is, in fact, a gathering of 3,000 web developers, designers, and enthusiasts who work with and contribute to Drupal, a free, open-source content management system (CMS) used to build robust, easy-to-maintain websites. This year’s DrupalCon is being held in Denver, Colorado, from March 19 to 23.

Drupal got its start when Dries Buyteart, a Belgian web programmer, started creating a community website in 2001. Today, 1.5 million websites the world over have been created with Drupal, from small, local organizations to large, instantly recognizable companies such as Sony Music and the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, there has been a growing movement toward using Drupal in the Federal Government, with sites like WhiteHouse.gov, Energy.gov (Department of Energy), FCC.gov (Federal Communications Commission), and DrugAbuse.gov (National Institute on Drug Abuse) all leveraging the flexibility and power of the platform.

Why Drupal?

With so many high-powered, costly, and proprietary website management systems on the market today, you might wonder what sets Drupal apart? Or, what could be better than this system for building Government websites when it has no direct overhead cost? If it has no subscription fee, no paid license, and an off-the-shelf purchase price of $0, where does it derive its value?

DrupalCon Denver

In a word: “community.” And in another word: “collaboration.”

Drupal has an active, global community of developers, designers, and project managers who not only use the system but actively support it by contributing improvements, extending functionality (in the form of Drupal modules), writing documentation, and generating fixes. In short, it has a support team unrivalled by any proprietary CMS—a veritable ecosystem that results in a platform built around flexibility, robustness, and ongoing evolution.

So what does this mean to Federal agencies that are used to paying maintenance fees and support subscriptions to keep things up and running or to extend their website’s capabilities?

It means endless possibilities and freedom.

And what do you do with the budget you may have spent on purchasing a proprietary CMS?

You use it to make your website even more innovative, open, and dynamic than you would have been able to by allocating those funds to content development or usability testing.

What Happens at DrupalCon…

DrupalCon Denver

…does not stay at DrupalCon. The event, held annually at cities around the world, is a chance for web developers, designers, usability experts, and project managers—who normally, and naturally, collaborate online—to meet face-to-face and to share their knowledge, ideas, and passion for building rich, open-source websites and mobile applications. Companies and individuals who may compete in the private sector come together, shake hands, and discuss their experience of working with Drupal in the present, and their ambitions and hopes for its future.

IQ Solutions and Drupal

Kate Kuhl, project manager, and I are representing IQ Solutions for the very first time at DrupalCon this week. We’re here to learn even more about how we can leverage the power of Drupal to innovate in health communications on the web for current clients and future partnerships alike. We’re excited to bring this knowledge back and start putting it to work.

To learn more about the Drupal projects we’ve already developed here at IQ Solutions, see our work sample.

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