EPA website next to go Drupal; NASA may follow


At least 150 federal websites are now operating on the Drupal open source content management system, and more are preparing to migrate.

Federal agencies, led by the White House, began adopting Drupal three years ago as a more flexible, open and engaging platform with which to interact with citizens on the Web.

To date, websites sponsored by about 130 federal agencies, 20 offices in the House of Representatives and several dozen state governments have converted to Drupal, according to a Drupal wiki page that lists government adoptions around the globe.

Major U.S. departments that have converted websites include Commerce, Education, Energy and Veterans Affairs.

An agency in the process of converting is the Environmental Protection Agency, which recently selected Forum One Communications to develop the agency’s new “One EPA Web” website built upon Drupal, according to a Feb. 22 news release.

EPA awarded Forum One a three-year contract valued at $1.8 million.

One EPA Web, which will be launched at the EPA.gov Web portal, will incorporate the the main EPA site and additional micro-websites that may be created as needed.

“The new platform will be developed using responsive design to work equally well on desktop, tablet, and smart-phone devices,” the news release said.

NASA also may be moving toward conversion as well. The agency recently released a Request for Information and a statement of work to get ideas from vendors.

Nick Skytland, program manager for open government, said the department wants choices such as open source software, cloud computing technologies and an integrated approach to search, video, and social media. Drupal is probably the most widely-adopted of the open source options.

“NASA.gov is a very high profile website with more around 600,000 unique visitors and 43 million hits per day,” Skytland wrote on NASA’s open government Web page on Feb. 18. “The architecture itself is massive, with roughly 140 disparate websites and web applications and more total 700,000 web pages across 10 centers. It’s no small job and we need someone who can help usher us into the future and develop a web architecture appropriate for an agency like NASA.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 Owen Ambur Silver Spring MD

It would be good to document the goals, objectives, and performance metrics making Drupal the superior choice over other alternatives. It would also be good to understand the tradeoffs, i.e., the weaknesses relative to the alternatives. The agency Web improvement plans would be a good context in which to do so. http://xml.gov/stratml/drybridge/index.htm#WCM Consistent with section 10 of the GPRA Modernization Act (GPRAMA), those plans should be published in machine-readable format (e.g., StratML).

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 Bendygirl DC

There are more than 1 on Drupal, but it's not widespread. There is a major site utilizing Joomla! as well, but oddly, that didn't make it into this story, or that all VA blogs use WordPress, another open source project. There are lots of different open source projects out there for a CMS, Drupal is just one. It's one I'm very fond of, but Joomla! is pretty killer, too and Plone seems to be gaining traction, too. Point being, all gov't agencies don't have to move to Drupal. EPA did because of specific internal requirements that just aligned with the Drupal project. Ultimately, the technology really needs to match the need. There's a list of Government Agencies on Drupal at the link above, but if you look at the list for Qatar, I believe most of those sites were actually done by Forum One. It's cool that they do Drupal sites in two completely different languages!! Congrats EPA!!

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 bendygirl DC

I hope they look at using Omega for a theme. It's so kick ass in D7 for optimizing sites for multiple sizes. But it is Forum One, so, I think it's safe to say they will.

Mon, Mar 5, 2012

A little misleading to say the VA went to Drupal. Only one site out of several hundred is actually using Drupal. I am curious if this is the case for some of the other agencies listed.

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