Microsoft embracing open-source Drupal 7

Content management system works with SQL Sever, is distributed via MS Web Platform Installer

Microsoft this week highlighted some of its interoperability accomplishments reflected with the release of the open source Drupal 7 content management (CM) system.

Drupal 7, produced by Drupal Association volunteer coders, now works with Microsoft's SQL Server relational database management system products and is distributed through the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. It's also distributed from the Drupal Web site and Commerce Guys, an organization dedicated to Drupal-based e-commerce apps. Drupal is an open source, PHP-based CM system for creating websites, blogs and e-commerce sites.

Microsoft has also included Drupal 7 in its WebMatrix tool, which was released on Jan. 13. WebMatrix is a free Web site creation tool that supports a number of open source applications integrated with Microsoft's IIS 7.5 Express Web server.

Version 7 of Drupal was released on Jan. 5. It has been about two-and-a-half years since the last major release, according to Jim Taylor, owner of Columbus, Ohio-based Rooty Hollow LLC, in a Microsoft-produced video. Rooty Hollow provides development and IT backend support services. Taylor, one of the volunteer developers on the Drupal project, noted that the user interface of Drupal 7 has been improved and the database layer under the system was rewritten. The team added a new PHP Data Objects (PDO) layer and the CM system now works with multiple databases, both open source and proprietary.

Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (and later versions) in Drupal CM got rolling last year, according to a blog post by Jean Paoli, Microsoft's general manager for interoperability. It culminated in a SQL Server Driver for PHP 2.0 with PDO support release, which Microsoft made available in August. Those who use the free SQL Server Express edition with Drupal can tap into the database management system's business intelligence and reporting capabilities, according to Paoli.

Drupal runs on Apache or Microsoft IIS Web servers and supports PHP 5.2 or higher. In addition to working with SQL Server, Drupal integrates with MySQL 4.1 (or higher) or PostgreSQL 7.4 (or higher) relational database management systems.

Four new Drupal modules were created for administrators and developers. The modules include Bing Maps, Silverlight Pivot viewer, Windows Live ID and an OData module. Schakra and Mindtree developed the modules using funding from Microsoft.

Paoli also said in the blog post that Microsoft is supporting Drupal on Windows Azure, which is Microsoft's Internet cloud platform. "We're working, for example, on bringing the full elasticity and scalability of Windows Azure cloud to Drupal and other PHP applications," Paoli stated. Drupal 7 can be deployed to Microsoft's cloud-based operating system using a tool called the "Windows Azure Companion."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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