The Dutch town of Vught is making available the source code for its website, a preconfigured version of Drupal, an open source content management system. The software is now being implemented by the municipality of Almelo, and, says Frank Schaap, ICT policy maker for the town of Vught, "there are three more that are seriously considering to do the same."
By sharing its website's content and functionality with other municipalities, the town of Vught contributes to improved office automation in public administration, while at the same time keeping ICT costs under control, the municipality explains on its website. "In return, we invite other municipalities to develop their own functionalities, and share these with us and others."
"Drupal voor Gemeenten" (Drupal for municipalities) is based on Drupal version 7 and includes functionalities that are required for Dutch local governments. For example, the distribution complies with the country's guidelines for web sites and includes the national standard method for authentication and identification (Digid). It comes with a pre-configured connection to a service provider handling card payments and provides hooks into a proprietary system for guiding visitors and customers.
Reusing the preconfigured Drupal distribution will result in very concrete and cumulative savings, explains Schaap. "Take the link with software for managing appointments for example. We've already built the link between the website and one of the two main systems used by Dutch municipalities. The city of Almelo is currently building the link with the other. A third municipality can simply choose between these two modules."
The tailored Drupal distribution is available on the Drupal web site. The solution was officially presented at a conference in Utrecht, on 22 April.
Vught is not the only public administration enthusiastically sharing its work on Drupal. Several departments and organisations of the central government in the Netherlands a year ago began a working group on the use of Drupal, aiming to start sharing and reuse of modules components. In Denmark 29 municipalities have joined the OS2Web project, to cooperate on the use and customisation of Drupal. In September, Belgium's federal IT service organisation Fedict announced the development of OpenFed. This is another Drupal 7-based distribution, focussing on multilingual capabilities, and aiming to support the country's public administrations to easily create websites. The European Commission manages its own, currently still internal distribution of Drupal 7, used for many of the blogs and project websites of European Commissioners. The Joinup website, based on Drupal 6, is being reused by public administrations in Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam.