IBM's developerWorks site is publishing a series on Open Source website development

On July 11, IBM's site developerWorks posted its first article in a series, called, Using open source software to design, develop, and deploy a collaborative Web site. The series adopts a fake organization as a client for whom to develop a collaborative website using only open source software. The goal of the series is to give developers some guidance in developing similar solutions.

Of note in the first article is an interesting and comprehensive discussion of content management systems and the selection process they used to decide which framework to ultimately implement for their project. Wouldn't you know it? They picked Drupal!

Because we needed to make this Web site design easy for ourselves and anyone adopting the solution, the ease of installing the framework and the time it would take to figure out how to use it was a key factor. While Ruby on Rails (ROR) was intriguing, we decided that too much time would be spent writing a CMS from scratch, so ROR was dropped from our consideration.

If we were to be able to effectively control access to the information for each persona, having robust and flexible session and user management would make our implementation easier. Of course, the speed of implementation would also be improved by having a robust pluggable infrastructure backed up with a vibrant community contributing quality extensions to the existing framework.

Another key aspect was the potential to ramp up the scalability as the number of concurrent users started to increase.

The ease of adjusting the way the content was displayed was crucial; we needed to remain flexible during iterations of the design and any future adjustments. This so-called "themability" also was required for using the current best practices of Web design with respect to semantic xHTML, CSS, and accessible design.

Anyone involved in website development or at all interested in CMS deployment will want to check this out and check back regularly as they add to this series.

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