Why the University of Kentucky went with Drupal

There are lots of products in the Content Management Systems market; Wikipedia lists about a hundred options (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_content_management_systems), more than half of which are open source and free. So when UK considered supporting an open source CMS in mid 2010, we tried to come up with a set of requirements that a useable CMS would have. Here is the final list of requirements, based on which we decided to go with Drupal of all the available alternatives.

CMS UK Criteria

Requirements Definition

• Define the organization deploying the CMS
• Define the end users working with the CMS
• Define the work flow processes carried out in the CMS
• Determine all functional and non-functional requirements

Main architecture

1. Extensible architecture – ability to use additional plugins and modules
2. Flexible membership – ability to support dozens or thousands of users
3. Taxonomy / tagging / semantic web built into the core rather than an afterthought
4. Designed for multiple user / multiple author environment (as opposed to a single author / single stream of content model of most blog-centric packages)
5. Granular access to resources – multiple levels of user privileges (guest / logged in user / admin etc).
6. As a consequence of 5, ability to function as a secure intranet / file sharing system
7. Full compliance with accessibility standards.
8. Availability of additional modules for specific tasks
9. Availability of additional themes for styling


1. Built in search – preferably customizable
2. Built in support for RSS (in and out)
3. Built in integration with social media networks
4. Support for different content types (graphics, video, audio).
5. A system for comments and rankings
6. A discussion board / forum tool
7. Full support for CSS / theming (ideally ability to deliver content using different styles for different site areas)
8. Human readable URLs
9. Statistics and referrers tracking
10. Search engine friendly (easy to crawl, high search rankings)
11. Support for user profiles
12. URL redirect support
13. Free from advertising (such as “Powered by ***”); no CMS generated logos / copyright statements
14. Contact / Feedback form support
15. Support for WYSIWYG editors
16. Ability to detect mobile users and deliver content in a format optimized for mobile devices

Installation and maintenance

1. Not dependent on any proprietary technology for the database / scripting language (i.e. running on PHP / Python / MySQL rather than ASP / Oracle etc)
2. No licensing fees for the system itself or for the key plugins required to extend its functionality
3. Easy to install and maintain (ideally no need for coding / hacking)
4. Available tools for spam protection
5. Logging of user activities

User community / Integration / Compliance

1. Large user community globally
2. Relatively large market share
3. Compliance with W3C
4. Multiple language support / UTF-8 support
5. Integration with LDAP / Active Directory
6. Integration with other software currently in use at the University (commercial CMS, enterprise level applications, etc)
7. Significant skill base in place to support the CMS at the University