I have many strategic reasons for jumping into Drupal and I've shared my perspective with several professionals who probably would not have pivoted into the complex content management system Drupal offers. I have three reasons why I made the leap into Drupal.
1. Drupal skills fit the knowledge economy.
If you know Drupal--and you've crashed a few installations--you know your way around web services. There's no way you can simply take a registered domain and install all the features you need from Drupal by short list of hyperlinks. I've written four pages of tick-off notes while porting Underway.ie from Blacknight's domain servers to a virtual server on Blacknight's farm. Along the way, I had to jump through .htaccess rules, MySQL permissions, DNS records, PHP code, and dozens of modules from both tested and development sources. These are practical skills needed to power the knowledge economy and I plan to monitor at least one student's final year project through a similar pathway. I know it will be worth the time and effort because someone who can do these tasks deserves to start above the apprentice level on a web services team.
2. Drupal complements Open Educational Resources.
I have 43 GNU licenses attached to the resources I'm using in the content management system that I set up and activated behind Underway.ie. Fifteen years ago, I introduced students to Creative Commons Licensing with images and videos. Twelve years ago, I listened to both Larry Lessig and Richard Stallman explain various legal interpretations of Open Source Licensing and I brought those concepts into the creative media curriculum I teach. During the past ten years, I've tried to operationalise the concept of Open Educational Resources in dual strands of content licensing and content delivery. If I store and serve my educational materials on Drupal, I'm actually institutionalizing a practise that complements the #OER philosophy so eloquently articulated by thought leaders such as Catherine Cronin.
3. Drupal rewards thoughtful taxonomy.
Although it's possible to create a simple blog with Drupal, the very robust content management system behind Drupal's front end rewards content developers who have disparate objects identified by taxonomy. This is a major discovery for me because it means I will be able to import thousands of images and hours of audio files, some containing meta data about their geolocation, and Drupal will allow me to expose these media objects in simple lists, book outlines, or standalone modules. I will have an entire academic year to watch students meet media creation requirements associated with high levels of contextual data affiliated to the images, video, and audio files.
I will never be able to move beyond the information architecture unless I stop talking about my plans. So I'm off to code a little more, read a lot deeper, and plan to share some of my Drupal workflow. You're invited to watch and listen to Underway in Ireland unfold.
Today's reading list:
- SEO and Drupal by Tim Kirby, September 20, 2017.
- Migrating to Drupal 8 with Appnovation, September 27, 2017.
- Openness and Praxis by Catherine Cronin, April 13, 2018.
[Bernie Goldbach uses Open Education Resources when teaching creative media for business. Tim Kirby is @timkirbyreal. Ruth Maher powers Tipperary County Council web services with Drupal. Jochen Lillich drinks Drupal with his coffee.]