London Paper cuts costs by 66% with open source website

The London Paper has switched to an open source content management system as part of a major overhaul of its website.

The News International-owned publication, which is read by over one million people in the capital each day, claims it is the first newspaper to run its website on an open source platform.

The London Paper worked with integration specialists Assanka to build the platform, based on open source content management system (CMS) Drupal, over a five and a half week period.

Saalim Chowdhury, head of digital product said The London Paper's old content management system was inflexible, had poor usability and didn't scale with online traffic. As a result it could take up to 30 seconds to serve web pages.

Chowdhury said the open source route also suited the London Paper's approach.

"The culture here, being a highly innovative part of News Corporation, means we aren’t afraid of challenging established principles," said Chowdhury. "Being the first major newspaper title in the UK to go open source we are bucking a tradition for major publishers."

"We are encouraged to be experimental and we didn't see switching to open source as a risk," he said.

Drupal is a free software package which is supported by commercial open source software company Acquia.

Chowdhury continued: “It has meant we have high functionality levels, delivered in a fraction of the time, at a compelling cost and reducing our total cost of ownership."

According to Chowdhury total cost of ownership of the new open source solution will be a third of that of the previous system. Free licences, less-expensive support and ability to avoid costly hardware upgrades, helped drive down costs.

"Not sticking to a traditional editorial site structure, and applying design focused around utility, means our users get to the content they want faster and come back more. We’re confident this approach will keep us ahead of our rivals,” he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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