The Obama administration has been working on carrying through with campaign promises to make government more transparent and accessible using Internet technologies, but few ever saw the White House itself contributing to open source software projects. But that’s exactly what’s happened: David Cole, Senior Advisor to the CIO of the Executive Office of the President, announced that his team was releasing a number of custom Drupal modules that they had developed to help run the whitehouse.gov Web site.
“By releasing some of our code, we get the benefit of more people reviewing and improving it,” Cole wrote in a statement. “This code is available for anyone to review, use, or modify. We’re excited to see how developers across the world put our work to good use in their own applications.”
The whitehouse.gov Web site is largely built on the open source Drupal content management system, which can be extended using a variety of modules to add specific features and functionality. The White House’s contributions are each modules that might be useful to other sites built on Drupal: one offers relatively fine-grained control over caching directives for different types of content, one interfaces with the Akamai content platform, another enables visitors to sign up for a number of mailing list and email services offered by the government, and another helps manage metadata for images so they’re more accessible to visually impaired users using screen-reading software.
[Image credit: Whitehouse.gov]