Jeff Robbins, from Lullabot on Drupal (Podcast and Interview Transcription)

there really weren’t any resources out there for me to find this information, for me to hire a consulting company to help out or anything. And so, I kind of had to go out and find some people in the Drupal community to help me through. And when I finished the project, I basically sort of turned to these people and said like hey, let’s make a good company. And Matt Westgate who is my business partner was the author of the original Drupal eCommerce system and we’ve just been out hiring really great people from the Drupal community to basically to make Drupal easier, to work on making Drupal core easier to use, but even more than that, to make it accessible. We do podcasts, like you mentioned, we also do workshops and we’ve had a conference called Do It With Drupal that happened in New Orleans in December. And we are writing books and we are doing DVDs and all kinds of stuff. So, just trying to sort of get the Drupal information out there and at the same time, make it make easier for the process of building a Drupal site.

Lisa Padilla: Okay. And just a step back for listeners who may not be as technical, Drupal falls into a category of next generation content management systems and maybe you can talk a little bit technically in the broad sense about what that means when you say it’s a core, you are talking about open source software, Drupal is an open source software that is contributed to by the community, right?

Jeff Robbins: Yeah. Drupal is often referred to as a content management system but it’s also a web framework. It’s basically a PHP web application framework in the same way that Rails is a web application framework for Ruby, Drupal is a web application framework for PHP. But it’s really focused on CMS that’s built on top of it but it’s really, really flexible. And so there are all these modules out there that can add, basically sort of fundamentally change the way that Drupal works. They really add a lot of control, a lot of features, whereas like WordPress plug-ins are relatively sort of limited in what they can do, Drupal plug-ins can do a whole lot by just installing them. And so it’s a really flexible system, sort of like legal building blocks for building a web site, but it’s a content managed web site. Then also, Drupal is a multi-user system with multiple different permissions as well so it’s really easy to build community type web sites where different people will have different, community managers or just end-users and administrators and editors and all these different sort of roles, and you can build a web site where each of them has different permissions to do different things. So, it’s gotten really well-known as a community platform as well.

Lisa Padilla: Right, and Drupal is known for its scalability, so similar frameworks or content management systems may not scale as well as Drupal can, right?

Jeff Robbins: Well, it wasn’t known for that originally. When I first got into it, it was a big question. But since then we helped roll out some really big sites that I think it’s kind of started to prove that and at the same time Drupal is also improved. But as a PHP framework, I think there is a lot of PHP gets a hard time sometimes for not being as robust maybe as some other platforms but I think Drupal has done a really great job. MTV UK is all Drupal all the time and actually probably even a bigger site than that is Lifetime Television which is a totally different demographic than most of us in tech, but a hugely popular web site, I think it’s actually, well that will redirect you to the site. And then we have also helped Sony build the system for all of their artists’ web sites. So, in the past, all of the Sony artists would kind of be in, well their management companies would be in charge of building the web site and some of them would scale well, some of them would be able to handle being very popular, some of them wouldn’t. A lot of them were just like a flash site that didn’t have any dynamic content. But Sony has basically built a system where using one installation of Drupal, they can roll out multiple web sites for all of their different artists. And Drupal runs, Britney Spears’ web site and Jennifer Lopez and a whole lot of the Sony artists are on Drupal now. So, that looks good on the resume I guess, arguably.

Lisa Padilla: So, Drupal, I mean serves multimedia, I am looking at the Lifetime TV site now, definitely a tight template and together professional looking site. Sony Records is another one that you talked about and Fast Company where you got assessments coming from.

Jeff Robbins: Yeah, is a project we worked on last year and yeah, that’s a very rich social media and social networking kind of a web site that they put together really kind of cool stuff and that’s also all Drupal. And Drupal historically, I am talking a lot about the sites that I have had worked on in my backgrounds in media and so we have worked on a lot of media stuff, but Drupal is also the platform that powered Dean space, the Howard Dean web site back in, when was that, 2003-2004 and around that time, there was a lot of buzz around that because of sort of a new generation of online usage and politics online and it’s interesting to see how that played in with this last year’s election. But it really gave Drupal a boost, particularly at around NGOs and government organizations and a lot of political usage. And right now, Drupal runs Amnesty International’s web site which is believe is It also runs the Greenpeace web site. And the Amnesty web site is particularly a good example of Drupal’s internationalization capabilities. Drupal began its life in Belgium, which in itself is a multilingual nation and it’s kind of had this sort of multilingual upbringing and the Amnesty International web site is fascinating that way, especially when you switch to Arabic which is a right-to-left language rather than our left-or-right languages that we are use to.

10 Replies to “Jeff Robbins, from Lullabot on Drupal (Podcast and Interview Transcription)”

    1. Thank you, I like your site as well.

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  1. We’ve have done web design for 6 and have a few essential things for everyone. First, user must know what a site is about in seconds. This may be singing to the choir, but I can’t explain you how many websiets I come through with these simple issues. Oh and one other tip, If you use CAPTCHA make sure the letters are readable.

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