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Very exciting news from the White House today.
Last night President Obama fulfilled his promise to release the code behind "We the People", a Drupal-based application that enables the American people to directly petition the President of the United States on issues they care most about. The release follows a commitment the President made to the United Nations to share the technology behind this platform “so any government in the world can enable its citizens to do the same".
In October of 2009, WhiteHouse.gov was relaunched on Drupal. Two years later, the White House launched We the People on Drupal, a big step forward for Open Government. While governments haven't traditionally recognized the importance of the grassroots, word of mouth organizing that thrives on the Internet, We the People encourages grassroots citizen engagement.
Even more exciting is that if you are an Open Source developer, you can get involved with improving how your government actually works. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to see Open Source and Drupal changing the world in a positive, powerful way.
The newly released code is packaged as a Drupal install profile. The profile is currently tailored to the White House's website but every Github member can issue pull requests to make it more generally useful. The Petition install profile can be cloned, forked or downloaded from the White House's Github repository.
Vivek Kundra just released the Drupal software code for the ITDashboard.gov tool, which is built on Drupal by REI Systems. You can find the source code at http://www.cio.gov/tools/. More information can be found in a blog post by Alex Howards from O'Reilly Radar: White House releases IT Dashboard as open source code.
This is important for Drupal and Open Source: the U.S. Government, one of the largest IT buyers and users in the world, has just taken another big step in embracing Open Source and becoming an active contributor. It also enables us, the Open Source community, to help the U.S. Government enhance ITDashboard.gov or to recommend it to our respective governments all around the world. Very cool!
The new investor.gov is a good looking site that also seems to be 508 compliant (for accessibility). The site is easy to use, making it easy for users to get the information they need without being overwhelmed.
All in all, the site is great example of how governments can leverage Drupal to create beautiful and accessible sites. Nice work SEC!
Another U.S. government agency switched to Drupal. This time, it is the U.S. Small Business Administration. As part of their mission to ensure that small business owners and entrepreneurs have access to accurate, timely and helpful information, the SBA relaunched their website in Drupal. Check it out at SBA.gov.
The site was built by Promet Source and DRT Strategies (DRT).
This continues the trend of various government bodies around the world using Open Source software -- and especially Drupal to power their official websites.
The United States House of Representatives has become the latest large government organization to transition their web presence to Drupal, and in a really big way. Currently the House hosts approximately 520 unique websites on a mix of over a dozen proprietary and open source content management platforms, and soon they'll all be powered by Drupal. When the House went looking for a platform to standardize their web presence on, they chose Drupal because it met their requirements to:
- Accommodate hundreds of independent websites, each with different sets of features.
- Provide the ability to deploy new sites quickly and efficiently.
- Enable House Members to use the web designer or developer of their choice by leveraging the Drupal community.
The House worked with a number of Drupal experts for this project, including Acquia, Phase2 Technology and Ingalls Information Security. The team developed, validated, and delivered the Drupal 7 platform that will be used by both individual House Member sites and Committee sites. Here are some examples of recently deployed sites (a complete list can be found at http://house.gov/house/news.shtml): http://sewell.house.gov, http://hanabusa.house.gov/, http://womack.house.gov/.
With the deployment of the House Drupal platform, the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) of the House of Representatives is soliciting Drupal development firms who wish to be vetted for an Approved Vendors List. These approved vendors may then be called on by various Representative offices and Committees (the End Customers). During the next phase of the project, End Customers will look to engage vendors to create custom websites on the House Drupal platform. These vendors can range from small to large firms and may provide services such as visual design, Drupal theming, custom module development, or other related services that the House may need. Each End Customer will have the authority to independently hire approved vendors to develop on top of the House's new Drupal platform.
The CAO will be accepting submissions to qualify vendors on an ongoing basis and is requesting an initial group of submissions by January 28th. If you are interested in being on the qualified vendor list, then please download this document for more information.
The intent of creating the list of qualified vendors is to make it easy for elected officials and other offices within the House to connect with vendors when they are in need of services. With the new House Drupal platform in production, and the freshmen class of the 112th Congress arriving in Washington this past week, there will be plenty of opportunities for qualified vendors.