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.