Open Source content management system users are getting a New Year's present this week with the release of Drupal 7. Drupal has become increasing popular in recent years with enterprise, consumer and government websites. The new Obama-era Whitehouse.gov uses Drupal and the FCC is set to adopt the open source technology as well.
The latest release of Drupal comes after three years of development. With Drupal 7, developers have added multiple improvements to the user, developer and enterprise experience. Drupal is a modular system and with the 7.0 release, a number of popular modules that had been outside of the core system are now integrated into the main release. The Content Construction Kit (CCK), which enables users to rapidly build content structures for Drupal, also is now part of Drupal 7.
A new administrative interface also debuts in Drupal 7 with the goal of improving usability and efficiency. Content, user and configuration screens have been reorganized also to improve usability. Theming also gets a boost, as does image handling and embedding. According to Drupal, the ability to add images to content is now built in to Drupal 7, as is the ability to generate previews and image thumbnails.
New Semantic Web capabilities appear in Drupal 7 with a new RDF module. RDF support provides structured Semantic Web markup to content, which then can be read by search engines and other websites.
"Adding semantic technology to Drupal core will make a notable contribution to the future of the Web," Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, said in a statement.
Drupal Now Enterprise-ready?
The Drupal 7 release is also expected to be a big leap forward for the open source project's enterprise aspirations. Buytaert also leads a commercial venture called Acquia, which provides support and services for Drupal. As far back as 2009, Acquia has been heralding Drupal 7 as the big enterprise release. While Drupal 7 was built in the open source community, it benefitted from Acquia's participation (Acquia has been fueled by over $15 million in venture capital).
At Drupalcon in April, Buytaert noted that the Drupal 7 release to that point had benefitted from 6,611 open source patches that came from 732 different contributors.
In addition to users being able to download and install Drupal 7 from the open source drupal.org website, Acquia also supports a hosted version of Drupal 7. Drupal Gardens provides a cloud-based version of Drupal 7, which is free for up to 4,000 page views per day.