State of Georgia Government

Ga.gov Goes Drupal

State of Georgia Government

In 2012 Georgia.gov became the first state portal in the country to be powered on Drupal. It's also the first state portal to use Responsive Web Designmeaning that mobile users, a rapidly growing demographic, will have a site customized for their viewing.

Video Interview

Calvin Rhodes, Executive Director of the Georgia Technology Authority and State Chief Information Officer, took time to welcome everyone to the 2012 Atlanta Drupal Business Summit. He briefly discussed the State’s statisfaction with their development partners Mediacurrent, Phase2 Technology, and Acquia. 

Project Goals

With web traffic over 1.2 million views per month, the team at the Georgia Technology Authority needed a platform that was enterprise ready, cost effective, flexible, and had proven sector adoption. The GTA Interactive team did tireless research into the CMS space in order to narrow down the choices. With each requirement they were able to mark more and more options off the list. 

Drupal quickly became the clear choice as the team saw the ease of use for “non-technical” users along with cost savings of moving from a proprietary CMS onto Drupal. In addition the team was impressed with the wide and growing government domain acceptance of Drupal. Sites like www.whitehouse.gov and each member of the House of Representatives are using Drupal with great success.

Challenges & Solutions

With web traffic over 1.2 million views per month, the team at the Georgia Technology Authority needed a platform that was enterprise ready, cost effective, flexible, and had proven sector adoption. The GTA Interactive team did tireless research into the CMS space in order to narrow down the choices.
 

Content Migration: One of the largest technical hurdles that Mediacurrent faced was the Migrating content from Vignette onto Drupal was one challenge while migrating content for 55+ sites, distributed across three versions of Vignette, was another. The Mediacurrent team worked closely with systems administrators at GTA to develop a specification of how to best export, format and retrieve the data for migration for each version of Vignette.
Install Profile Development: Mediacurrent assisted Phase2 to create a custom OpenPublic-based install profile that extended the OpenPublic base installation. This allows GTA to spin up new sites in the future and ensured that all of their sites were running on the same platform with full access to a common feature set.
Theming

The Phase2 team used the responsive Omega base theme to create the sub-themes for agencies. Every Georgia agency was able to choose from one of eight templates for their site—streamlining the creative process while providing a layout that best fit their site’s content. The Phase2 team then assisted in setting up the homepage after the content had been migrated to the site.

Featured Modules
Migrate module: Migrating and testing GTA agency site data was a very iterative process, and the Migrate module allowed developers to be able to test changes efficiently.
Drush scripts: Drush allowed developers to write scripts against Drupal with access to the full Drupal API. The Mediacurrent team wrote Drush scripts to fill in the gaps that Migrate could not do on it’s own. This included scrubbing XML data, cleaning up site content after the Migrate imports had finished, and performing other miscellaneous tasks required to stand up an agency site.
Final Thoughts

Mediacurrent is incredibly proud of our home state for being the first state adoption of Drupal as an enterprise CMS. In partnership with Phase2 Technology and Acquia, Mediacurrent hit a homerun for the state of Georgia in their CMS migration project. Even more impressive is the homerun GTA hit for Georgia taxpayers- saving them $4.6 million by moving to Drupal

The new Georgia.gov offers visitors a friendlier navigation, greater usability and more robust search functions. While on the backend Drupal offers solid site security and easier use for non-technical administrators. In addition, since mobile users now account for 11% of their total traffic, the team used responsive web design with Drupal to create excellent experience for mobile users on Ga.gov. The end result is a project that closed on time, on budget, and with great client satisfaction.  

We are excited about the possibilities that Drupal brings to the state of Georgia,” said Calvin Rhodes, Georgia State CIO and GTA Director. “This new platform will give us the flexibility to offer more online services to Georgians while making government more efficient and saving taxpayers money.

Customer quote

We are excited about the possibilities that Drupal brings to the state of Georgia. This new platform will give us the flexibility to offer more online services to Georgians while making government more efficient and saving taxpayers money.
Calvin Rhodes
Chief Information Officer