For those of you who don’t understand what the first word in the title of this post means, I’ll give a quick background: Drupal is an open source content management platform that is used by millions of websites around the world. It’s a very flexible system that allows you to develop your own functionality on top of what is provided. Or, you can choose from any number of contributed open source code modules from the community to bolster what is provided out of the box.
At Miles, we’ve invested heavily in Drupal over the last five years and maintain our own Drupal distribution. Our distribution is the base Drupal installation loaded up with common custom modules, features and contributed open source modules that we use across all of our sites. We also devote full-time resources to maintain our Drupal distribution to keep it up to date and to continue development on our custom functionality that drives our websites.
Our clients benefit from this because, year after year, our developers are building on a foundation that can be reused in almost every site we do. New site development can start off running and existing sites can upgrade custom functionality if needed, or pull in new things we’ve discovered along the way. Even though we’re building on core functionality, every client site gets a custom design and implementation of individual pages, so we layer specific solutions for clients on top of our core code. For example, see a dynamic map implementation in Louisiana, and fun flip cards for more hotel information in Baltimore (just click those More Info arrows).
What’s next for Miles and Drupal? Well, Drupal 8 is coming out sometime in 2015 and we’ll be evaluating what that 1.0 version offers and lacks in terms of how we use Drupal. Before we jump to the next version, we’ll make sure that we’re able to deliver the current level of excellence that we do now with Drupal 7. And, we’d love to contribute some of the work we’ve done back to the open source community. Efforts like this take time to do right, though, so we don’t have any announcements on that front at the moment.
Drupal has been a great tool for us and, as evidenced by its enormous community, it works for many other individuals and companies as well. If you haven’t already, give it a try yourself!