Collaborating with the Community


Published on

This is a presentation that a UD colleague and I did at Villanova on March 30, 2009. We were asked to share our strategies and challenges in implementing Drupal as a campus-wide IT-hosted service.

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Comment
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Collaborating with the Community

  1. 1. How the University of Delaware is Deploying Drupal March 30, 2009 Tina Callahan Richard Gordon
  2. 2. Outline  Selection of Drupal at UD  Basic design of UD Drupal services  Challenges and Opportunities  Possible next steps
  3. 3. In the beginning…  Size and diversity of population  20,000+ students  4,000+ faculty/staff  Various web development efforts  Majority in Dreamweaver templates  Keeping websites fresh was a challenge  Varied skill of developers  Central web server and distributed web servers  Time and money vs. effectiveness of site
  4. 4. And, then there was change  New Administration  Budget Woes  Branding exercise  Need for… Efficient workflow  Consistent and branded appearance  Dynamic content  Embedded media files  Additional tools and services (SEO, RSS feeds, calendars)  Flexibility
  5. 5. A CMS can help!  Database driven  Separation of design and content (Template adoption)  Uses cascading style sheets (CSS) for layout and design  Accessible from anywhere  Managed through the web site interface  Content publishing can be managed  No HTML knowledge is necessary (content providers)  Saves times (especially with multiple editors)  Content is search engine friendly  Content is syndicated (by default)
  6. 6. Selecting Drupal  Information Technologies (IT) chaired CMS committee  faculty and staff from UD colleges  administrative staff  IT staff  staff from UD Office of Communication and Marketing (OCM).  Looked at…  Other Universities  Commercial CMS products  Open-source CMS products.  After a series of focus group meetings, Drupal was selected!
  7. 7. What is Drupal? Drupal is…  A database-driven web application written in PHP.  An open-source Content Management System (CMS) freely available under the GPL.  A community building platform.  A web development framework. Use Drupal as a platform to build a broad range of web applications. -Source: Drupal For Education and E-Learning, Author: Bill Fitzgerald
  8. 8. What is Drupal? Drupal supports… Drupal permits you…  websites  to define access rules for registered users. (This  secure or public blogging helps to define what the  forum discussions user can do on your site.)  polls  change the look (A.K.A.  stories and books theme) of your site without  syndication of content touching the content.  Web2.0 applications (social bookmarking, etc.)
  9. 9. What is Drupal? • Started in 2000 by Dries Buytaert in his college dormitory • Began as a personal project to communicate and share information with friends • “Dorpje” = Dutch word for village • Typo when searching for available domain names resulted in • “Druppel” = Dutch word for drop • Official Release in 2001 History of Drupal:
  10. 10. Drupal is Free Free as in “freedom” Free as in “free beer”
  11. 11. What is Drupal?  Drupal now used by a wide variety of commercial and educational institutions.  Meteoric growth reported at DrupalConDC earlier this month:  1.5 million unique logins/month to  200,000 downloads of the Drupal core per month (last year)  Over 4,000 user-contributed modules  Last year, 100% growth.  “Hundreds of thousands of sites; thousands of developers.” - Dries Buytaert, March 13, 2009
  12. 12. Drupal is a CMS
  13. 13. Drupal is a Framework Robust & Extensible!!
  14. 14. Drupal is a Community Anyone can submit patches, documentation, modules, and themes. Frequent release cycle of core. Regular security audits from security team and 3rd party members.
  15. 15. Basic Design of UD Drupal Services  3 web servers  Sun Fire X2200 M2  Dual 2.3 GHZ AMD Opteron Quad Core Processor  8 Gigabytes RAM  1 Terabyte Mirrored Hard Disk  Running Solaris 10 X86 Kernel Patch 138889-02
  16. 16. Basic Design of UD Drupal Services  Apache 2.2.6  PHP 5.2.5  MySQL 5.0.67  Drupal 6.10  Modules selected by Drupal Steering and vetted by IT  All modules at full version release only – no beta modules permitted  One Drupal code-base with “vetted modules” = UD core  Multi-site installation; easier patching and upgrades
  17. 17. User perspective of Drupal services Drupal-prod Drupal-dev • Limited File • No file system system access access • Backup nightly • Backup nightly • DB • DB • File System • File System • User performs • Content editing, development and modification Drupal-test • Implementation of testing • No user access • Initial content tested functionalities • Backup nightly creation (Major • DB • File System upgrades) • IT “sandbox” – testing versions, updates
  18. 18. Online Resources IT – User Ed Workshops Webdev Community & Consultations UD Drupal Documentation Training & Support Drupal Workouts Opportunities IT Help Center Mini-workshops
  19. 19. The Community at Work!  Drupal Steering Committee created.  Comprised of Drupal developers on campus  Mission: to drive IT towards hosting a desirable web development package that is well-suited for the entire UD campus.
  20. 20. The Community at Work!  Drupal Steering Committee in action:  Stay current on new Drupal developments and on UD campus desire for new functionality.  Funnel campus requests for new functionality in “UD core Drupal.”  Advise IT on the usefulness of requested modules.  Encourage IT to grow Drupal services with the current community-wide demand.
  21. 21. Timeline for IT Drupal Services  Drupal Selected: February 2008  Preparation: February – November 2008  Hire Tina: December 2008  “Alpha” Development: December ‘08 – January ’09  Steering Committee Formed: February 2009  “Beta” Development: February – March 2009  First live site: April 2009  Basic Support: Summer 2009  Full Support: Fall 2009
  22. 22. Challenges & Opportunities  Security vs. Flexibility  Drupal is modular  IT-hosted vs. locally hosted - user must decide  Support  Strength of the Web Developer community  Volunteer-based  Drupal is new to IT staff; learning curve
  23. 23. Challenges & Opportunities  Timeline  Web refresh  RBB – departments are accountable for recruitment and publicized signs of excellence  Building a robust package for generic use  Automation  Maintenance of possible 300+ sites  Server loads  Module adoption, deprecation, core upgrades  Update.php
  24. 24. Next Steps: Automation  Current requests for Drupal sites are handled manually and each site is configured manually by the site admin.  The process can be automated so that a user can submit a form that generates a site with theme, modules, and user roles pre-activated.
  25. 25. Next Steps: Virtualization  Virtualization fits in with one of our campus-wide “Green Initiatives.”  Like an ISP, we could offer virtualization on a central system rather than departments owning their own servers for Drupal and other applications.  Would offer more flexibility in how each Drupal site is configured.
  26. 26. Next Steps: UD-Drupal Bundles  Remember: UD environment includes central Drupal service and a robust community of departmental Drupal servers—real and virtual.  Bundle UD Core Drupal, modules, and documentation for download to departmental servers.  Departments will be able to use or modify UD Core as suits their needs.
  27. 27. Next Steps: Leveraging Drupal’s Power  Current Focus: Developers and Site Admins  Drupal’s Power: We can configure roles and modules to allow content providers with minimal computing experience to take control of their content.  Separation of Content and Presentation: “End User” can concentrate on content; “Site Admin” (or IT) on presentation.
  28. 28. Questions and Discussion  Tina Callahan Project Lead, Drupal Office of Information Technologies University of Delaware  Richard Gordon Acting Manager, IT Communication Group Office of Information Technologies University of Delaware