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Drupal 7 dives into machine-readable web

Later better than never

globalisation

The machine-readable web has come a step closer thanks to open sourcers in the Drupal community.

Drupal 7 has received sign-off - finally - adding the ability to embed semantic meta-data into sites using the open-source content management system.

That means Drupal 7 is adding native support for the W3C's RDFa - a set of XHTML attributes that are designed to turn human readable data into data that's readable by machines. That could be data such as a location's map coordinates. RDFa is already being used by Google (see here).

In a statement announcing Drupal 7, the Drupal Community said: "RDFa can add value by giving search engines more detail, details not visible to humans."

Drupal 7 had been expected as early as last summer, but it slipped as what appears to be a relatively small number of active committers worked hard to lock down the new system's few remain bugs.

Drupal creator Dries Buytaert reckons Drupal runs one per cent of sites on the web, making it popular but not as popular as WordPress and Joomla, which are first and second respectively.

In an attempt to close this gap, Drupal 7 is bringing changes to attract a broader audience of less tech savvy users. According to Drupal, changes in the user interface are designed to make common tasks easier for 80 per cent of the software's users.

For the more technology faithful, Drupal 7 also brings a built-in test environment, version upgrade manager, and a database abstraction layer for use with MariaDB, SQL Server, MongoDB, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite. ®

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