The staff at Surf New Media has been involved in open source Drupal development for the several years and have delivered local and international websites based on Drupal's superior content management system. Some examples of Drupal's flexibility and solid code base can be found at the platform's website www.drupal.org.
- The Open Source Newspaper
- Drupal Case Study: New York Observer
- Drupal Case Study: Augusta Chronical
- Information.dk - Converting a Newspaper to Drupal
- Media Sites Using Drupal
Because Drupal is an open-source application geared specifically to content managed websites, the coding in the site is top-notch and the flexibility is unparalleled compared to any other content management system on the market. This type of content management system is superior for newspapers because of its flexibility and customization options.
What can Drupal do for my print-to-web newspaper site?
Using Drupal for a print-to-web site is rather straight-forward, since Drupal is kind of built to be a web publishing tool. With Drupal you can, for example:
- Customize what kind of data you wish to have in an article. You can, for example, have not only header-teaser-body, but also newspaper section, editor, issue number, publishing date, links, etc.
- Automatically create article lists according to selected criteria, showing latest sports articles, highest rated article during this week, all articles written by a chosen reporter, or the three latest comments on your newspaper site. These lists may be presented as frontpages in different sections of your site.
- Set end-dates for articles, to unpublish them automatically.
- Allow a group of users to access only some articles or only parts of articles, while another group of users may access more content on your website.
- Use different layout themes on different parts of your website, for example to make your Life style section of your web site look different than the Sports section.
- Automatically display recommended reading to a user, based on how that user rated previously read articles.
- Create RSS-feeds to alert users when new content has been published.
- Allow comments from readers to be published instantly, or after approval.
- Allow editors, reporters and other selected users to add, edit or delete selected types of content, including comments from readers.
- See statistics of how readers navigate your site, and where your readers come from.
What can Drupal do for my web-to-print publication?
Using Drupal as the backbone of your print publication allows for several advantages over separating the two tasks. For example:
- Drupal allows content to be exported in customized workflows.
- Exporting features are numerous in the CMS, including XML, CSV, Basic TXT, DOC and Excel CSV.
- Exporting options allow for multiple exports with different settings to allow for customized web-to-print workflows.
- Expansive user roles and permissions allow for newsroom workflows to integrate with the CMS seamlessly.
- Content management can be handled within the website to keep pressflows up to date.
Additionally, as a CMS, Drupal has some advantages over other content management systems and newspaper software:
- Drupal is reliable. Drupal is used by companies such as Yahoo, IBM, MTV and NASA. The core functions of Drupal are well-maintained, as are many of the add-ons. Compared to other CMS's, Drupal has very clean code, and programmers tend to like working with Drupal.
- Drupal is extendible and flexible. There are hundreds of modules available (for free) that extends Drupal's functions, and new ones are being developed all the time. When you lack a certain function, odds are that you have just haven't found the module you need. If indeed that function is missing, it can be developed.
- Drupal has an active support forum. If you're planning on using Drupal for a professional newspaper or magazine, you should probably have a Drupal programmer or developer tied to your organization. This developer will have a great resource in the support and development forums at drupal.org, which will be beneficial for your newspaper, the developer, and for drupal.org. For newspapers without a developer, the support forum is still a great resource, and Drupal (obviously) even has a group for people particularly interested in newspapers.
- Drupal allows customized access control. If your site will need different permissions for different groups of users, you have a good reason for choosing Drupal. Drupal has built-in functions for access control, and add-ons to provide granular control over both administration permissions and access to content on your website.
Drupal has good web 2.0 functions.
- Drupal is built for creating communities. If one of the goals with your website is for users participate actively, you will find a lot of possibilities in Drupal. Easy-installed modules range from rating or adding tags to describe articles to creating discussion groups and full-scale web communities.
- Drupal software is free. Investing thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousand of dollars in newspaper software tools may be a good idea, if it guarantees good software and support. But with Drupal, you will get all or most software for free, and you have more resources to put in development and support -- most likely while you're getting just as good or even better software.