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Boekenbeurs using Drupal, the site of Belgian's famous book fair, received 3 awards at the Belgian CMS Awards last week. The site, built with Drupal, was designed and implemented by Calibrate. The site received an award for web 2.0 functionality, SEO implementation and best public overall award. Stunning design!

Open Source and Free Puppies

Seth Gottlieb reported that Annie Weinberger of Interwoven, a proprietary CMS vendor, launched some good old Open Source FUD comparing Open Source to a free puppy:

"We look differently at the cardboard box full of free puppies outside the super market once we become adults. As children what could be more fun than to get a puppy who is going to be your friend for life? Why not mom…it’s FREE!! But as adults we have learned the truth. We know that taking home that puppy is going to cost us in the end. The free price tag hides all the costs we are going to spend on food, training, shots, and a new couch once the puppy discovers you are not coming home at 5:00 every night to walk him. Open source WCM solutions are very similar. The free price tag is attractive at first, but for online strategies that have multiple initiatives (intranet, extranet, portal, landing pages, micro-sites, etc.), the hidden fees lie in the heavy customization, maintenance and engineering work."

Puppy analogies -- especially those with free puppies -- are powerful stuff.

Is Open Source more expensive than proprietary systems? It depends. You can't generalize. Open Source implementations can be more expensive if you try to bend the software too much. However, you don't have to be a genius to understand that because there are no licensing costs, Open Source has the potential to be much cheaper than proprietary solutions, and that Open Source solutions come with freedom and flexibility not found in proprietary products. Implementation cost is an important factor, but it is in providing freedom and flexibility that Open Source wins and commercial vendors lose. Open Source puppies are "free" as in "free speechbark".

One thing is for sure: puppies attract attention; these days, Open Source does as well and proprietary vendors tend to be of the jealous type.

The great thing about FUD, though, is that it validates our work in the Open Source community. Blog posts like Annie's trigger the competitive gene in hundreds of Open Source developers around the world, and in the end, makes Drupal stronger.

A free puppy, anyone?

Sanyo using Drupal

Sanyo, the Fortune 500 electronics company, used Drupal to build a nice product catalog website at The site went live earlier this week and features 250 products in 30 categories with over one GB of PDF files. More functionality is being added iteratively.

Sanyo australia

It sounds like they would be an ideal candidate for Acquia's upcoming hosted search service which will be able to search PDF documents as well as regular Drupal content. According to Luke Schreur from Tequila Digital Australia, the company responsible for the implementation, CCK was the most important module for this project. Luke said that they are already deploying Drupal for other clients and that more programmers at Tequila Digital are getting into Drupal. Great!

Spotlight Verlag using Drupal

Spotlight Verlag, a well-known German publisher, recently launched another Drupal site:

Udo Gerhards, Project Manager Online at Spotlight Verlag, explained to me that the site is targeted at language learners and that they built a number of complex interactive language tests; see here for a JavaScript based drag and drop test, and see here for a regular multi-page HTML form test. Development of the site was done mainly by their in-house development team, with some help from Auvica.

When asked, Udo told me that CCK, Views and Panels were the main reasons for using Drupal. Their biggest pain point was in staging their development environment to reliably push big changes to their production environment.

They use a multi-site install with a single master user database (every login in the different Drupal instances is checked against one central user database, so users share the same login data for different websites in their network). This master database is also connected to their magazine subscriber database. The multi-site setup makes it easier for them to roll out and maintain the additional Drupal sites that they have in the pipeline.

Business spotlight

O'Reilly Drupal book

In a recent tweet, Tim O'Reilly announced that the O'Reilly Drupal book is released from O'Reilly. The book will start shipping later this month so time to order your copies, folks!

I provided technical review of some early versions of chapters, and I can tell you that the book is as good as you'd suspect it would be from Lullabot and O'Reilly. The book does an excellent job explaining how to rapidly assemble a wide variety of websites using some of Drupal’s most commonly used modules. Whether you are new to building Drupal websites or an experienced programmer, by the end of this book, you’ll be much more prepared to build the Drupal site of your dreams.

I've always had a healthy fetish for O'Reilly books, so I'll dance from happiness the day the "Using Drupal" book shows up at my doorstep. Thanks Angela, Addi, Nate, Jeff Eaton, James, and Jeff Robbins!

Oreilly book cover


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