We were pretty excited about the Drupal 7 launch event earlier this month; auditorium meeting room booked in our London office? Check. Cupcakes ready? Check. Thinking caps on for some of the upcoming brilliance that Drupal 7 allows? Check. Now that we’ve finally put the bin bags full of pizza boxes and empty beer bottles away, let’s take a close look at what we find awesome about Drupal including its step into the cloud and some of the new modules that make sites and apps more social.
I sometimes get asked what the hell I, a Microsoft employee, am doing at an open source event. After doing my little product pitch and whipping out my WP7 I get down to the real stuff – I’m really there to a) learn about the product (I use CMSes on a daily basis) and b) help answer questions about how folks can get their stuff to work with Microsoft technology when the time arises. A question that comes up commonly is from agencies or dev shops who get asked by customers and clients how their web site/app can play nicely with their existing Microsoft infrastructure. As announced at last year’s DrupalCon, there is now support for SQL Server 2005 and later. The SQL Server driver for PHP 2.0 lets Drupal 7 use the PDO ‘PHP style’ that incorporates smoothly with the SQL Server database. For Drupal developers, this means taking advantage of Business Intelligence and reporting as well as SQL Azure features like exposing OData feeds.
Bryan House – Sr. Director, Marketing, from Acquia commented: “The Drupal 7 release with enhancements for the Microsoft platform is a tremendous milestone giving Drupal developers the freedom to use their existing Microsoft resources to build extraordinary web experiences with Drupal. It expands the set of options Drupal developers have to choose from when building the best solutions for their customers and end-users. We’re also pleased to see Microsoft really participating in the community, providing valuable assistance, and taking a long term approach to supporting Drupal.”
Install crazy simply with WebMatrix
If you use a Windows PC the easiest way of running Drupal is through WebMatrix. Honestly – if you know of a quicker or easier way – answers on a postcard please @androidrobb. Want to run Acquia Drupal 6 or Drupal 7? Well you can – check it out. If you’re planning on attending the February Drupal drop-in Robert Castelo has kindly allowed me a few minutes to demo this.
(To continue my PR quotations in italics):
In response to the WebMatrix announcement, Damien TOURNOUD, CTO of Commerce Guys, said that ”Microsoft has become a citizen of the Drupal world, and the integration of Drupal 7 in WebMatrix is great news for the Drupal community.” Damien is a key contributor to Drupal 7 and the main developer of Drupal 7/SQL Server integration.
Get it in the cloud
Windows Azure is an easy way of building and deploying apps without having to manage the infrastructure or operations that just make it work. Handle your growth, determine whether you need on/off workloads or just having sudden spikes in traffic to absorb with Windows Azure.
New modules that build on top of Drupal with some cool Microsoft technologies
Bing Maps – Embed maps into Drupal content easily
Get the module / source code: https://github.com/mindtree/BingMapsDrupal
Silverlight Pivot Viewer - Embed Silverlight Pivot into Drupal content using preconfigured data sources
Get the module / source code: https://github.com/mindtree/PivotViewerDrupal
Windows Live ID – Associate your Windows Live ID (Hotmail address or Messenger sign-in) with your Drupal account for easier sign-in
Get the module / source code: https://github.com/schakra/WindowsLiveID-Drupal-Module
OData Module – Allow data sources based on OData to be included in Drupal content
Get the module / source code: https://github.com/mindtree/ODataDrupal
(Thanks to Craig Kitterman for the images above).
So what does this all really let you do?
I’d bucket the benefits into three main areas: First off, you can get Drupal up and running easily on your PC using WebMatrix (especially great for beginners) on Windows, in addition to providing Drupal solutions to customers or clients who already run Microsoft technologies. Second, take advantage of some products or features such as Bing, Windows Live, Silverlight and more that people are using across the web and embedding it into your site. Finally, take advantage of the cloud movement by managing scalability and reliability with Windows Azure.
If you’re at the Drupal event stop by and and say hey – would love to chat about this, and other Drupal goodness!