On Friday March 16th, in preparation for the 2012 Drupalcon in Denver, we launched a Beta version of a Drupal distribution called DataPublic on Drupal.org and GitHub. In conjunction with Microsoft, the distribution is the culmination of many months of work. It is the single largest codebase that we've worked on here at Raised Eyebrow and involved the development of over two dozen custom modules/features.
What's a Drupal distribution?
Installation profiles provide site features and functions for a specific type of site as a single download containing Drupal core, contributed modules, themes, and pre-defined configuration. They make it possible to quickly set up a complex, use-specific site in fewer steps than if installing and configuring elements individually.
We jumped at the idea of building a distribution for a number of reasons:
- We like working with open data and understand how important it can be.
- We already had a number of generic features that we had created for use in our own site building process that we could re-use.
- We wanted to learn more about exporting complex site configuration to code.
You can review all of these features on the demonstration site at datapublic.openlab.ca
Bells and Whistles
There are a number of elements in this distribution that really shine and that helped to make this distribution an attractive option when thinking of building a Open data portal using Drupal.
Dataset content type and listings
The dataset content type allows the storage and listing of open data in three ways:
- File attachments (CSV, DWG, KML, KMZ, SHP, XLS, XML)
- External file links
- OGDI instance embedding
Simplified Video content
Easy Event management
Event management is almost always a requirement on the Drupal sites that we build. This distribution was no different. We expanded on our existing Events feature to add a full calendar using the FullCalendar module and jQuery plugin. Now site editors can organize events by simply dragging and dropping them on the calendar. Visitors to the site can also see all of the upcoming events in a nicely formatted calendar.
Mobile responsive theme
A few months back we found the Foundation framework, and to say that it changed our lives as developers would be an understatement. For this project we took our base Foundation Drupal theme and kicked it into high gear to create a responsive theme for DataPublic. Look out for a release of that theme for both WordPress, Drupal 6 & 7 in the near future.
Parlez-vous franjáis?, Sprechen Sie Deutsch, ¿Habla usted español?
The distribution is also built to be as multi-language friendly as it can be. We've included translation files (strings) for everything we've built and have done everything we can to ensure that when you enable the multi-language options on your Drupal site that it will function as you expect. We've had some experience in building multi-language websites.
Kick the tires and take it for a spin!
The distribution is in Beta stage, so we want you to take it around the block a few times. Download the installation profile from Drupal.org (which also comes with .make file for those of you that use Drush make) install the site and let us know what you think. We're looking for feedback on everything from the theme to the feature build as well as the coding in the custom modules etc. If you're interested in any of the other feature or custom modules, go have a look on our GitHub account and you can find them all there. They are easy to spot, they all have a datapublic_ prefix.