Open Government Data Germany and the consequences for Drupal

In August 2012 the Federal Ministry of the Interior published a press release with the title "Federal Ministry of the Interior publishes survey about "Open Government Data Germany"". Of course this is very exciting and interesting, because Germany also wants to join the idea of making all public documents freely accessible for general public. This can have, among others, several advantages as follows:

  • the support of organizations in achieving ther goals,
  • access to all relevant information as basis of participating in political decisions and processes and
  • complement and improve scentific results.

On the other side concerns were expressed that citizens could be overwhelmed by their limited motivation and time through informations overloads. The quality of information also has to be controlled permanently, what is associated with additional time and financial outlays. But why should the idea of "Open Government Data" be realized in Germany? First of all, because the participation through transparancy is possible, as well as better traceablility of information and facilitations of tasks can take place in each target group. Many countries have already shown how the idea of "Open Data" could be realized in the US, United Kingdom or Australia.

What Drupal has to do with it

And now, what does Drupal have to do with this topic? In the full paper (German only) of the Federal Ministry of the Interior Drupal was named as one of the recommended platform technologies among Java-based frameworks, with which a user-friendly realization of "Open Government Data" is possible. It is assumed that Java-based content management systems are better suited for major projects than PHP based CMS. This is the reason why Liferay was recommended. Liferay, like Drupal, is Open Source Software. The Java Specification is also a reason for recommending Liferay. It is able to support the JSR-168/286-Specification, while PHP based CMS like Drupal are not (However, we have found a module which apparently supports this specification. So a junction seems to be possible.) In addition to that Liferay guarantees the compability of the Java Portal System.

The consequences for Drupal

Even though in the summary of this study Liferay is preferred over Drupal, it is still a really good sign that they mention and suggest Drupal for building Open Government systems. Also, Liferay Portal Community Edition is Open Source but Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition comes under a non-free commercial licence, which guarantees long-term support as well as a support package. Also the importance of the study should not be underestimated, because it is a big and far-reaching concept. Drupal is therefore on its best way to be one of the most siginificant CMS for German Government websites.



Bild von igor

The german government site is already using drupal:

Anja Schirwinski user image

Thanks for that link igor. There is also a wiki page on that contains a list of government websites:

Bild von Daniel Nolde
Daniel Nolde

Wow, didn't notice that the federal government's paper explicitely names and recommends Drupal! How can we - the Drupal community - make the best of this? How and where can we show more presence when it comes to support and solutions for OpenGov ?

Bild von Reinier Battenberg
Reinier Battenberg

Besides the Java Specification, its also good to know the British are using Drupal for their open data portal and that they have been working on a ckan drupal module

Bild von mori

In my opinion, you know what I mean, create a more awesome media-managment for D7/D8, have 100% german translations of the most important modules and a rock solid CRM-solution with integration of the existing government environments like Outlook, Outlook Calendar etc and workflows.

And of course more german articles with screenshots & tutorials in german or even a book about that topic.

Bild von mori

What I really would love in this case is a Drupal-Solution with these SOGo-features:

Bild von mori

Typo3 v6 is also having a look at this audience: -> v6
Goverment Package: The Government Package is a collection of best practices to enhance the level of web accessibility. The contents are rendered in HTML5 based on the famous HTML5Boilerplate. Navigation and content elements are defined to be accessible for screen readers and keyboard navigation. HTML5 semantics are used to add more meaning and structure to the accordant elements. Since web accessibility guidelines are strict on contrast ratio and readability, an alternative view to use a different, contrast enhanced stylesheet, has been integrated to the Government Package as well.
You can find a demo of the Government Package on It's purpose is to demonstrate Frontend HTML5 and Accessibility features. Currently, it does not offer access to the Backend.

Bild von patcon

It's hard to say without being able to read the paper, but I imagine Java is being preferred over PHP (and hence Drupal), simply because standardization of servers and development platforms is a very big resource drain in government. Java makes this much simpler.

Maybe the solution is virtualization and the proliferation of simple setups that use config management tools (like Puppet/Chef). This would make PHP-based solutions seems much more standardizable. We've been developing a Vagrant-based tool at my company and there's been quite a bit of interest from those working within the Government of Canada. I get the impression their motives are the same as those leaning toward Java-based solutions in Germany.

Perhaps the best route forward in pushing Drupal in government is to strengthen and build out our virtualization toolset?

Anyhow, here's the link to our project:

Neuen Kommentar schreiben