We have made the decision to proceed with Drupal to build Catlin Gabel’s next public-facing web site! That means that you get to stop hearing me refer to it as our “potential” next web site platform. In the end, the decision came about through several factors:
Any open source system will allow us to shape the site to suit our needs better than a closed system. I demonstrated, through a test site, that a relatively simple Drupal install could meet the most critical needs that we identified for the web site. There’s nothing like a hands-on test to convince a critical friend.
Taking other stakeholders on a tour of the Drupal site was helpful. People may have an impression that open-source software is less professional or reliable than commercial software. A quick tour of the Drupal forums, modules lists, and handbooks conveys the incredible scope and activity of the Drupal community.
Prior experience with Drupal played an important role. You could successfully argue that we created a self-fulfilling prophecy by using Drupal for so many other purposes and tests. Each experiment has increased our Drupal expertise, to the point that the considerable knowledge we have built played a role in the platform decision.
Prior PHP/mySQL development also contributed to the choice. Before we tried Drupal, even before I joined the school, we had developed a number of useful PHP scripts that expose data from our student information system for teachers, students, and parents to use. It will be easier to convert these scripts into Drupal modules than into, say, Python.
Next steps: hire a graphic designed and a Drupal consultant. I will post more details about these opportunities soon, but feel free to drop me a line earlier if you are very keen on them.
Onward we fly!