Acquia to deliver government's cloud-hosted, open source CMS

Firm founded by the creator of the open source Drupal project will host CMS

govCMS will be based on the open source Drupal content management system.

govCMS will be based on the open source Drupal content management system.

Boston-headquartered Drupal services company Acquia will deliver the federal government’s govCMS project.

The project to create a standard content management system for federal government agencies was announced in May.

At that time, government CTO John Sheridan indicated the open source Drupal platform delivered as software-as-a-service was the preferred choice for govCMS

Tender documents issued in June confirmed that the whole-of-government content management system would be based on Drupal.

“Acquia will partner with several local businesses so that govCMS can offer a comprehensive service from website design and development through to support and managed operations,” Sheridan wrote in a blog entry today.

“I’m excited that, through govCMS, we’ll be offering a cost effective content management and website hosting solution to Commonwealth entities. govCMS will provide entities with the opportunity to create and manage websites, based on best practice and compliant with Australian Government standards, including security and accessibility.

"Removing the burden for entities of having to own and manage software or infrastructure should allow them to focus more on their core business.”

An analysis by the Department of Finance has found that between 182 and 450 websites could be transitioned to GovCMS over four years.

The use of an open source solution means that Drupal modules could be shared between public sector agencies and the community, according to the department’s analysis.

Read more: DrupalGov to build on CMS's momentum in Canberra

Australia.gov.au and finance.gov.au, which are both already running on Drupal, will be the first two major sites migrated to govCMS.

“We designed govCMS to save costs while empowering agencies to act independently. We’re supporting innovation by relying on Drupal, a technology proven in governments around the world,” Sheridan said in a statement.

“Open source technologies like Drupal, when paired with an open cloud platform like Acquia Cloud, are creating efficiencies in government and disrupting the way we deliver digital citizen experiences — for the better.”

“Drupal is rapidly becoming the gold standard among governments around the world,” Acquia’s director for Asia Pacific and Japan, Chris Harrop, said.

Along with higher education, government is one of Drupal's strongest markets. More than 100 government sites in Australia run the open source platform.

govCMS will incorporate aGov: A Drupal 7 distribution designed specifically for use by Australian government agencies. The distribution was intially released in 2012 by Australian Web development shop PreviousNext.

aGov is intended to make it quicker for agencies to build and deploy sites while complying with the government's mandatory Web accessibility requirements.

govCMS will also rely on Acquia's SaaS application Cloud Site Factory for managing multiple sites and Acquia Cloud for hosting.

Drupal is a GPL-licensed, PHP-based CMS created by Dries Buytaert, the founder of Acquia and currently the company’s CTO.

Drupal is currently in the middle of a major re-architecture. The new version, Drupal 8, incorporates elements of the Symfony2 Web framework. It will incorporate more modern design patterns and is intended to be easier for developers without an extensive Drupal background to work with.

D8 will sport numerous other changes including integrated WYSIWYG content creation and in-line editing, support for responsive design 'out of the box' and multi-language support.

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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