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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

UMContent to Drupal: What will it mean?

One of the changes coming with the new portal will be the way content providers at the University manage their web content. The initial focus of the Drupal project is to move systems off of the current UMContent system, provided by the Office of Information Technology. There have been some drawbacks to UMContent that are addressed in Drupal:
  • Increased performance - Drupal will have better performance than UMContent which is being used beyond the software's capacity.
  • Website publishing is instantaneous.
  • Widely used open source product - Drupal is widely used around the world and has a robust community contributing to the core and modules.
  • Modular - Drupal is designed to be customizable and expandable.  Need a feature that isn't in Drupal core: "There's a module for that".  If there isn't, build it.
  • Drupal is not only content management but also hosting.  By switching to Drupal, the University is not only removing the UMContent infrastructure, but also reducing the need for web servers to host the websites.
The main impact of moving to Drupal is that it provides a more feature-rich content management for current users of UMContent. Where does the new portal come in? The University is planning to build integration between Drupal and the portal so that updates of content in Drupal are reflected in the portal with no extra effort. So when someone updates a public-facing website, the content will be the same in the portal.

Content providers at the U can take advantage of these new features by moving to Drupal, however, adoption will not be initially mandated. Drupal implementation will tentatively happen in late 2013; the portal will be available in late 2014. Interested in more about providing content for the portal? Contact Scott Barnard about the Portal Content Providers group.

Still have questions about Drupal and the new portal? Email us at esup@umn.edu.

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