Bryan: Welcome everyone to today's Acquia Webinar, introducing Drupal Commons 3.0, Driving the Convergence of Content and Community on the Open Web.
My name is Bryan House, I'm Vice President of Product Marketing here at Acquia, I have the pleasure of being joined today by Ezra Gildesgame, Product Manager on our two-fold Distribution's team. Welcome, Ezra.
Ezra: Thank you, Bryan.
Bryan: We've got a great session in store for you today. We are very excited to talk about Drupal Commons and the D7- version of Commons that we are about to release, so we will get started here.
Without further ado let's jump into today's session. I want to talk a little bit about the state of the market and the concept of OpenWEM that we announced last week, and also talk about how Commons and community applications built in Drupal fits into that as a topic and as an area. We will walk through Commons 3.0 and give you a sneak peak at what the capabilities look like, and then Ezra is going to do a demonstration of the product as well, so you'll get to see it in action. Very exciting stuff, again, feel free to submit questions via Q&A at any time.
When we talk to organizations this is the conversation we are having a lot of and many of those organization the Web is broken. They’ve got lots of different sites, they’ve got lots of different business objectives with those sites, some of them are Web content management, or CMS style sites where it's one or few, to many publishing information out to audiences to drive leads, to publish information and distribute information to citizens, or various reasons.
The social software within the organization are: intranet, extranet, partner community, developer communities, and those are much more about engagement and connecting and having people communicate back and forth, and then e-commerce, people are increasingly trying to do transactions. Whether selling information, selling products, and so this is really complex; this is incredibly complex for IT organizations, how to manage different technologies and different systems, and we've talked to pharmaceutical companies, and have 600 websites and some 60 different CMSs.
We've talked to hospitals and they have 20 different CMSs, this is a significant challenge for organizations, but what they want, is they are looking for a way for these things to come together, to provide unified platform to address these needs and address them in from a single set of Web technologies, so that way they get scale and efficiency and their development side, in terms of managing the applications, managing the underlying infrastructure as well as building new capabilities and addressing the business requirements.
Scale on the user side, reduced their training burden, their training overhead and make it very easy for marketers, other folks in the organization, to contribute to those sites, and achieve their business objectives associated with those sites. We are also seeing this gap between the marketing and IT and looking … these two organizations are looking for solutions to help them better communicate and better achieve their joint objectives.
Where marketing is looking at personalization and translation, and harnessing social media and building ways to engage customers and prospects, in their community, on the Web. Acquia is looking at how to do performance, how to build scalable, reliable systems that meet the needs of the business and do that in a way that integrates well within their internal environment. Increasingly we are seeing these two groups come together, and become … working together towards joint objectives to exchanging ideas and how to do that as marketing becomes a much more tractable, measurable activity on the Web that aligns the interest of the CMO with the CIO, and so we are seeing this drive behavior in the market.
OpenWEM is really about addressing some of the issues that we've seen with proprietary Web experience management approaches, and so the question is as you're building websites and Web experience, whether those be mobile sites, community websites, delivering content to smartphone or tablet applications. Do you have closed-loop development, you have struggles where you are unable to add new capabilities or new features because the development process is so locked down, you are unable to innovate fast enough.
You are unable to bring new things to market fast enough because of the heavy development requirements for the new applications. This is a challenge we are hearing over and over again from large organizations. They are what take months in a proprietary technology because of all the customization and custom codes we are able to achieve in days or weeks with Drupal.
It begs the question, why are we spending money on licenses and maintenance contracts, and what have you for these proprietary systems which we can't use anyway because they don’t move at the pace of our business? They’ve locked in to one set of infrastructure and tools, are you struggling too when you talk … when one side of the organization is talking to the other side, we can't do … help you meet your objectives on the Web, because we are a Java Shop, or we are … we only use these tools, and so you as a marketer, you as a developer, community manager, are forced to go outside into this world of shadow IT because you're current organization can't meet your business needs.
Your budgetary pressure, and so you're not able to invest in large CapEx expenses, especially with licensed purchases and hosting purchases but need to now move into much more of an operating expense model, where subscriptions … and a subscription approach is a better way to meet your budget and capital requirements.
These are just some examples of the symptoms that these are OpenWEM strategy that we announced last week can help address, based on our experience in the market and our product offerings to address the needs of organizations looking to build Web experiences and do it on a unified platform as Drupal.
Really what we are trying to do, is offer the digital marketing organization, that includes both business folks on the marketing side as well as IT folks supporting those business people, is often in both freedom and flexibility, we give them a platform that allows them to create simple Drupal's digital experiences that have lower cost of ownership because they can deliver them faster to market to help them innovate the pace that marketing needs to do, and accelerate that process of new … meet new requirements and objectives on the Web as the mood changes.
By giving you a unified platform to create branded unforgettable customer experiences, so regardless of whether you need social plus content, or content plus commerce, you can do that all from a single platform, we just saw this from one of the leading Web content management vendors just as a big partnership with the leading Microsoft-based community provider, so in the top-two of the three bubbles in the report, and they announced a partnership. "Hey, we'll work together, if you want content build it in platform A, if you want community build it in platform B and we'll work those things together."
That just introduces complexity to the IT organization to end users which interface do I create and which access permissions model and security model am I going to use here? How does that replicate from one system to the next? I think all of us that work in Enterprise IT have lived that challenge and it's a problem. Having a unified platform doing it from the ground up and Drupal as a compelling alternative, and doing it in a way that not only do the unified platform for these three Cs that we've outlined here, but also it integrates nicely to the best of breed tools that you already have in place for Web analytics, for marketing automation, for CRM, and for other tools that you're now willing to replace.
From a sweet bed in there that wants to drop in all those technologies. All of this is build on an open source … in the open fast model so there's no lock-in, so if you want to make a change and you're a cloud provider, your underlying infrastructure, you can't do that with your infrastructure, so that’s a key piece of Acquia business models, to give you that freedom and flexibility as your requirements evolve. You're cloud platforms and many other pieces can evolve with you.
When we think about these unified experiences for digital consumers, it spans a couple different areas. It's about delivering content appropriately in campaigns across the right channels, and drive conversion rates and personalization or social capabilities build into those. Combine that with community capabilities from able groups, self-organized and connect, create things like support communities, developer communities, brand communities do that very easily.
Enable your consumers, your prospects to be the best representatives of your brand, there are much more transparency and credibility in the market than you do as a vendor and so enabling those people and giving them the tools to share their experiences with others is a great resource for your brand.
Then finally tying this, where appropriate, to commerce capabilities and this is a little bit forward-looking as we define our WEM strategy but clearly the market has shown us that content and social and community capabilities are critical for driving commerce experiences in the future about taking advantage of those tools to create immersive shopping experiences.
We think about optimizing each of these areas from a content perspective, this is about lead gen and social media, tying it into things like marketing animation and measurement for analytics. From a community perspective it's about creating social brand applicants that help do the selling for you, it's adding social capabilities to your intranet as well as to your extranet and to customer-facing, prospect-facing environment and then tracking all that, and a then managing and maximizing engagement with stakeholders, you're developers, your partners, your customers themselves to drive innovation through your product lines.
One of the things that we've been thinking about from this is particularly with regards to community capabilities, social; it's helping to evaluate where you are in this timeline and where you are from the evolution of your social capabilities and your social maturity, from your applications that you built.
We've identified five stages, if you will, of collaboration capability, so there are as simple as collaborating and documents, and those of us who … anyone who uses Microsoft Office somewhere in the organization probably a SharePoint for collaborating on documents, and they are step one in building social capabilities, all the way up to social as a service that’s embedded across all your applications and that’s part of how you work.
We are starting to define these different phases and helping organizations think through where they are today: are they doing just internal collaboration, are they doing external collaboration? Are their community experiences that they work with, people outside their firewall in getting … in driving that into the R&D organization or the customer support organization, or are they putting that across all of their Web experiences and properties, and so you'll see some of this happening already, some of this is still into the future, so it's early days, and sort of this enterprise social or community market. Ultimately we strong believe that social will be a service that is included in your Web experience or your Web contents stack and anything … applications or sites you build ultimately will have social in them, and so this is an important piece to think about: where am I in this lifecycle and where do we want to go as an organization?
Tools like we are going to talk about today with Commons can help you get there and provide a path to accelerate the process and get you to where you need to go either, and utilizing social as a service.
With that let's talk a little bit about the product, Drupal Commons 3.0, so I'm going to do a little bit about, a high level about the product and I'll pass it over to Ezra who is going to walk us through a demonstration. We'll do that.
Commons 3.0 is built on Drupal 7, and we are going to talk a little bit about what the product does, you'll see it's a different user experience for the product which we are very excited about and we are getting a lot of feedback and the first two major releases of Drupal Commons in terms of how we can make it more useful for you as developers that are building social applications in your organization, as well as for your users that are your community managers, participants in those communities making more intuitive and user-friendly for them as well, so we are very excited about that.
So we think about what makes Commons unique as compared to other solutions in the market or a do-it-yourself approach, and the nice thing is this is a community application that was built by a global community of Drupal developers, so at the very nature from a product perspective, Drupal is social and so you see this, we talk about the proprietary vendors where they need to come together to cobble together for social experiences that are native across the Web properties.
It's the same in the Drupal world, and this is one of the things that really separates Drupal as a technology, but also as a community, things like Drupal.Org groups like Drupal.Org, they're collaborative in nature, so the expectation of this has really changed in that that insight and experience really informs the products, in order to make it easier for you to utilize and build communities and roll them out faster, and test ideas, so that way they are productive and useful for your business.
It gives you the ability to update campaigns and content seamlessly with one tool so you're not jumping back and forth between multiple applications to launch a community site or community capabilities on your website. To give you the ability to join … create a next-generation social Internet with collaboration around knowledge sharing as well as marketing campaigns and giving the tools for your employees and stakeholders to collaborate very quickly on those environments.
A big piece that we think about is for project teams that are using Commons, how do you accelerate ideas to experience, how do you facilitate fast-cycle collaboration, so that way people have relevant information to make decisions to move projects forward to ensure you hit milestones and deliver ultimately what you're delivering. Whether you're delivering technology products, whether you're building cars, or other places that you might be doing collaboration applications.
Then maximizing engagement across the various different community types, be they customer prospects, customer support, developer communities, and utilizing things like Discovery tools that are built to document search to find great content, but also to locate relevant experts. People who are knowledgeable, who you may not know in sort of the first circle of your personal network but they were active and involved in the community in making those discoverability an important piece of that experience.
Let's look at a couple different pieces, so one of the things you can do in Commons is follow content, and get notified fast so you can see … you can follow trending content, create a personalized view that subscribe to content and time, so that way you can reduce the noise and improve usability, the application and focus your interests and creating a content stream that’s around your interest, so that way you're not digging through the community looking for something, but it's actually delivered to you and personalized.
An important piece of the Commons experience is this ability to create groups, to follow and post content in groups, and sort of create the right level of structure around groups, and so in some environments that may be ad hoc through creation and it's a relatively wide open environment for groups to self-organize and collaborate; other environments that may be a little more hierarchical top down where the groups are pre-defined and people join based on their departments in their organizations or their interest.
You can do this very, very easily. You can create group home pages, so it makes it easier to drill down the content and surface content for visitors to that group as well as members in there, so there's a lot of capabilities on the group side that you can do to facilitate that collaboration and make it easier to join in. I think one of the biggest things we've seen with the organizations and the communities, in general, is how do you lower that sort of participation barrier, and so a big piece of what we do in Commons is to make it easy to find content and drive that initial participation in a community.
One of the big areas that we are really excited about with Commons is Mobile Collaboration, so Commons 3.0 will have out-of-the-box responsive design templates, and so you can create and re-factor your Commons' presentation layer for smartphones, for tablets, for desktops because in reality we are all collaborating and interacting with information, on the road, on different devices. Sometimes during big storms on our phones when the power [is chopped 00:19:13]. This will be an out-of-the-box of 3.0, one of the biggest featured answers that we are very excited about.
Commons is has always had this concept of personalized experiences but we've made … we've cleaned up the user experience in Commons 3.0 to make it more useful and friendly, and usable for you as visitors, so you can create personal as well as group dashboards, things like social bookmarking. You can create content here and sort of have a view to subscribe to discussions and content, create a stream of activity that others can see the use of a particular user.
Again, this makes it an easy way to do expertise location, you can combine this with some of the gamification tools out there for people like Badgeville, and then reward badges to people that are participating or contributing above certain thresholds in the community. Again, the drive, participation and also reward that in the community where others can see.
One of the most important viable pieces of Commons is this content plus community in a single platform, so there's no need for a separate CMS, so out of the box it comes with preset configurable content types, content views, they get very easy to organize that information. You're not doing a lot of structural designs set up in this, but you're much more focused on the branded experience and how you're going to present this information, but you don’t lose the flexibility and the freedom to add different custom content types, tweak things, make it useful and configure this for your own needs within the organization.
We also gave you some tools to provide a sort of community-focused participation and engagement metrics, compliments that Web engagement … the Web analytic tools you already have in place that gives you some specific data to the Commons experience so there's a lot of: are you driving new members, are there members participating in those, provide the community manager a lot of tools to ensure that they're getting the most out of the community, and so you don’t suffer from the empty-restaurant syndrome, if you will, but actually people that are actively involved and engaged, and the community manager knows where to go do … and to drive and increase that engagement.
Then from a developer perspective, you know, developers have the freedom to innovate here, we've built this with Drupal best practices in mind, so it retains that openness and flexibility the platform has from Drupal perspective to add modules, to integrate with other systems, take advantage of things like Semantic Web document management is a big piece, particularly in Internet environments, so you can integrate it with tools like Alfresco to manage content. Document is part of your collaboration environment. Certainly single sign on is a critical piece in the enterprise and so there's lots of options there.
We've retained and built in some Drupal best practices to ensure that you get all the things that Drupal has to offer as a platform while taking advantage of a much more out-of-the-box experience with Commons.
I'm going to do a quick case study of Commons in action, and this was a customer that built Daimler who built a social community on Commons to replace their focus groups, so this is utilizing a community environment for social engagement around brand … advertising and sort of replace the focus groups that they traditionally use as marketers with their agency. This was a community for young sports car drivers, 18 to 45 years old that were … about what they felt about their brands, about Mercedes specifically, about some of their video and Web advertising.
This is a very cost-effective way for them to build this, to replace a costly cumbersome, time-consuming way, traditional focus-group approach, and do it with … do it in a new and innovative approach. They won awards for this, innovative use of social media for this community, and ultimately the reason they chose Commons was there were so many features out of the box that they didn’t spend their time building their community. They spent their time building the experience that was relevant to get the data they needed to share with their client, with Mercedes, around the marketing focus group.
It shifts the conversation from doing the heavy lifting on the technology side to where you're spending your time on the business result side, and changing the paradigm a little bit. This was just one example of how people are utilizing this platform today and we certainly have plenty more, if you're interested.
With that, Ezra, I'm going to pass the control over to you and let's take a look at a demonstration. Are you ready to go, Ezra?
Ezra: Absolutely. Let me just share my screen here. Can you see my desktop?
Bryan: I can see your desktop.
Ezra: Okay, great, so let's gets started. The first thing I want to show is by default , out of the box what Drupal Commons looks like with some content in it, if you are new to the community. At this point you haven’t signed up, maybe you're considering signing up, and you just want to learn what the website is about. We've looked at this design a lot and there's a lot that you can tell as the new community member to learn what this community is about.
At a glance you get this configurable text here on the front page, so right now it's talking about Commons itself, but of course when you're setting up your community you can configure this text, so right out of fresh install you’ve got a homepage that says, "At a glance what the community is about," and then as people participate, the best of that participation is shown on the front page.
We just take a moment to take a look at what we've got on this front page, you’ve got a nice visual lift, and active community members, we've got upcoming events related to the community, a list of … and activity stream from the community just to active groups, and then the list of featured content on the site.
This is one example of this whole content community commerce idea. This is a space for people to collaborate first and foremost, but it's also a space where you can create that content if you want to or, perhaps, make a site-wide announcement or share some community-wide views, and make sure that that reaches the different people in your community. You can see how blogging site combine with the community site would really suit well into that.
Of course once you're logged into the site and the screen is here to show you what that looks like, you'll get a little bit more of a personalized experience, so this is the default landing page for folks who are logged in to Drupal Commons. What you see here on the left is a list of content and you can see from the thoughts and focus on the top that it's sorted by the most active content for … so let me tell you about what that means. If you're a community manager, one challenge in creating the community is figuring out which content is interesting, and which content people should really see, and large communities with tens, or hundreds of thousands of active users, that can be its own fulltime job.
What we are including in Commons is just the idea of automatically active content, and what that is, is the system that benefits both community members and community managers, and what it does is it automatically takes information about content. The things like the number of comments that the content has, the number of people who are marking it as … that they like that content, and it takes that information and it produces an internal activity score. The benefit of that is that the score decays over time, so as a community member looking at this listing, I can see content that’s generated a lot of activity recently.
This is different from something like a system that just shows you most popular content of all time by votes or something like that. This really let's you get a snapshot of what's active on the site right now and that’s the reason that it's so time-specific is because that value decays over time, so maybe there's a really interesting or perhaps even controversial discussion going on in your site that will have a lot of comment. People will be liking it, people will be viewing it, that will all make that content register more active, but if that conversation blows over and something is more interesting today than that was yesterday, the new content will be more prominently featured. That’s just one way that it will be really focused on the goal of helping people find content that they want to view and content that they want to interact with.
Of course, you will really value personalization, so I can engage these filters up here, and I can change the way that this is sorted so I if I want to just to see the most recent content I can view that. You will notice that there's this idea of following, following is what you can do to subscribe, or like on Twitter as it sounds, follow people, content and even groups that you're interested in. I'll show that in a little more detail a little bit later.
I want to show the groups that are actually here, you could see we've got a really simple primary now and not overwhelming, easy to figure out where things around the site, and if you click on the groups' directory you can see there's a list of collaboration groups within the site and it's really attractive. You get this really nice, visual list of recent content in the group, and the type of content that it is and a list of intruders to that group, so that you get a sense, even just scanning the groups of what they're about.
Similarly you’ve got the gist of most active groups in that activity system that I mentioned for identifying interesting content that works at a group level as well, so the group has the sum of activity with all the content.
Let's take a look at a Drupal page, go to the Boston group here. You can see that this is a really sleek-looking group homepage and front and center is content that’s in the group. We call this the group content widget, and what's really nice about this widget is a couple things.
We've done a lot of usability testing on Drupal Commons, on Drupal Commons 2, the previous version, and that has really informed the designs that we have in this version of Drupal Commans. Here were are on the group's landing page, you can see all the different kinds of content that are in this group, they each have a tab and so let's say I'm interested more in the document in this group, or questions in this group, I can focus in on those items, and each of those kinds of content gets its own unique listing. Perhaps if I'm interested in the ideation and I can see that that’s presented a little differently, because it's a different content type.
The other great thing about the way that this is put together and we hope you'll think it's great too, is that the creation, the content creation controls are in the same spot, so if I want to go ahead and create a post I don’t have to go to some separate menu somewhere, I don’t go to the file menu, I go right here to create a post so that it reinforces the idea for folks, perhaps, folks who are savvy, but also maybe folks who are new, to participate in the online community, that the content that they're creating is going to go into that group, because that control is in the same place as the content that’s listed. Of course if I want to follow the group or vote it out, I can do that as well.
Of course, on the side, we've got other secondary and interesting information, so based on activity in group and some upcoming events in the group, which brings us to events. Whether you’ve got a virtual community or a community of people who are meeting in real life or a combination of both, that’s been supported by Drupal Commons, so if you do have events you can leave the events future-enabled, and you get this really nice, robust landing page for events, with these facets here that let you filter so that if you want to find an event that’s near you or an event that in your groups, it makes it very easy to do that.
That’s actually a lot of flexibility to this tool, because you can … if you want to elect people sign up you'll be able to do that as well, group site for that, you can collect registration. At the same time if you're maybe just linking to a separate conference site, perhaps you'll have the site that’s powered by conference organizing distribution for Drupal and you can link to that site for registration as well.
I want to show this following functionality in more detail, Bryan mentioned that earlier, so image I've gone through the site and I've followed a lot of different things, and I've followed groups, I've followed topics, I've followed people who I think are interesting, and then just individual threads because I thought those particular threads were interesting. I can go to this site there and interface here and control how I hear about that information. Let's say that everything that I follow up here is in the activity stream, but perhaps the New York City group generates a lot of activities, like right now there's a hurricane and I'm just getting a ton of emails from the New York City group about that hurricane.
I can choose to not receive email from that group so that I don’t have to un-follow them completely, I'll still see it when I see listings of information that I follow on the site, but at least I'm not getting an email. That holds true for topics and people as well, so you really get a lot of control to personalize what you see on the site, but we present that in a really simple interface, so that it's not daunting to effect that kind of control.
Bryan mentioned that the software is Mobile-out-of-the-box, and so I want to show you some examples of that. Here we've got the What's Going On page, and suppose I'm on a smaller device I'm just going to drag and resize my window here and you'll see how this screen automatically reorganizes to fit. If I'm on a phone, you'll see that this is still a coherent design, and it fits in a nice, narrow window there and I didn’t have to do anything as the site administrator to get that benefit. This is one of the features that we are most excited about that … Drupal Commons 3.0 or the previous version.
Let's show the group's directory. There's that group's director and I'll just make the window smaller and you'll see a nice breakpoint there, so that I still get all functionality of this group's directory, but it fits in a narrow, device-sized window.
I want to talk about how you deal with spam and inappropriate content, so as you know in any community there's always of size, at least, there's always a size at least, there's always at some point, somebody who submits content that’s inappropriate or that’s just out of place advertising.
Now the first line of defense is actually that Commons provides, is actually … so you almost will never see Commons integrates with the Mollom service, which is an intelligent service that analyses the content that people submit into the site, and also analyzes their reputation across … based on information from thousands of sites across the Internet, to automatically determine whether something is down.
Most of the time, spam will not even make it through the site to be submitted, because you’ve got that tool and of course Mollom is something that we included as part of the services in the Acquia network. However, sometimes content is going make it through there, right. There is so much spam on the Web and it's a great service but every now and then something will make it through.
Let's look at an example piece that’s in appropriate content, we've got a shoe sale and perhaps your site is not about shoe sale, and so for this site it's unsolicited advertising. As a community member I can go down and report this content that’s inappropriate. I get a confirmation message, and then I click Report as Inappropriate. Now I've reported this as inappropriate, and suppose some other folks have done this throughout … a lot of folks notice that, they clicked the links, and as a site administrator I can go to the main content with this and you'll see that we've added too, what you get with Drupal Core, you’ve got this Reported Content tab.
Now I've got a listing of all the content that’s been reported by the community, and you can see that this is organized in a very useful way. You can see where the content was last reported and you can also see the number of reports, so you can imagine that on a really active community you'd have a number of people would notice when something is clearly out of place, when something is clearly spam or an advertisement, and they'll flag it, and as a result you'll see this number getting higher.
Part of the challenge is not just identifying when comments are being inappropriate, but you’ve also got to get rid of it, and ideally you want to also make sure that the people who are posting it can't post content anymore. We we've integrated that all into one bulk form, so this lets you check all of the content that’s been reported or just the content that you think is inappropriate as the moderator and you can believe the content and block the office account.
One thing that’s core strength at Drupal is the way that roles and permissions are really powerful, so within Drupal you can, for example, have a role of content moderation assistance, and this is something that will be included in Commons 3.0, and you can empower them to access this moderation screen. If you have people on your site who you know are trusted, they’ve proven themselves to be trustworthy, you can empower those community members with the responsibility of actually deleting spam content, and you can do that, in a way I think that Drupal's granular permission system.
You can do that in a way that does not grant them permission to completely take over the site, so maybe you trust those folks but you don’t want to give them control to do everything, you can still grant the back customer screen.
Let's go ahead and get rid of this shoe sale content. I'll just click Delete Content and block off his account, I got a confirmation screen and I can confirm, and the systems is able to delete that for me. You can imagine I could do this in a manual way … pardon me, I've got upgraded to the latest development snapshot and I think I introduced a bug. In any case it wouldn’t be a demo without a bug, right; so we got an error message, but in fact the content is deleted.
Another thing to note about this interface is that when the content is deleted it's also reported from Mollom's, so part of the way that that Mollom service works, is by getting reports of content that are inappropriate, so that Mollom can improve using its machine learning and algorithms that the ability to identify when content or a particular poster of content is inappropriate. This, other than one click, you can delete the content, block the office account so they can't post new content, and report that content to Mollom so that they're … that spammer is less likely to break through your site, and also any other Mollom site in the future.
It takes a lot of these tasks that normally would be friction, folks or community members and community managers and it makes that really simple for both. For example, on one large community site that I'm a moderator on, when we have spam on the site where people have to send a message to the moderator, and then the moderator has to respond to the message, and the moderator has to go to each individual piece of content and delete and then unblock the user, it can really be cumbersome. Personally, this is one of the features that, as a site moderator that I'm most excited about using.
That’s our demo for today; I'd love to take some questions from the folks on the phone.
Bryan: Ezra, why don’t you pass it back to me, I've got a quick…
Ezra: Sure, let me…
Bryan: …then we'll move it over to Q&A and you can check out the prioritized questions, in the Q&A tab, they've already thrown some questions up there for you, and I will continue to queue them up for … Ezra, as they come in.
Ezra: Thanks, Bryan.
Bryan: So, just to quickly summarize before we move over to Q&A and let Ezra get into some of those questions. Really what this is about in Commons specifically, the product, and overall are OpenWEM strategy is about this combination of content and community today and in the very near future commerce, to create these content-rich social Web experiences. Experiences that are multi-channel in nature so they work well on your desktop as well as in your smartphone or tablet, that are easy and rapid to deploy. That way you are not spending time building infrastructure but spending time on value-added capabilities for your site.
That maybe the brand experience for your community, and if you look at some of the Commons sites that are out there, be they from the eBays of the world, or other … to think Mercedes Benz that we saw and plenty of others can give you tremendous flexibility in the brand size. Or, if it's integrating those communities, and those capabilities into an existing infrastructure within your organization, Commons and its open architecture, it gives you tremendous flexibility to leverage the investments you’ve already made on the IT side, be it those things like single sign on, document management, CRN and marketing automation, all of those things you could take advantage of.
Those are value-added places you can spend your time in deploying communities and building applications rather than trying to figure out how do we do profiles, or how do we do [trending 00:42:23] and like content, and some of the things that will come out of the box, so really it's about accelerating that.
Letting you focus on the value-add in that last mile rather than the basic building blocks of building a community application and doing it on a platform. Regardless of whether you're building a community experience a content experience or a commerce experience it's the same tools that … it's the same menus of training, and you get efficiencies over time as you launch more of those.
Really, it's a pretty powerful tool, we are very excited about it and most importantly it's built on Drupal 7.
I see lots of questions coming in, lots of questions in the chat, which is good. If you put them in the Q&A below that would be better. We'll get through those. Ezra, do you want to start talking through some of the questions that we have here?
Ezra: Sure. First question is, "Can partners get access to Commons and with some hands-on experience?"
The answer is absolutely. Commons is, through and through, it's an Open Source product, so we are doing all of the development on Drupal.Org, you can download a development snapshot from Drupal.Org to see where things are every night. At the same time we are currently … the version that’s up right now, is probably best used by folks who have a bit of Drupal's development expertise. We will have a more robust data out in November that would accessible and easy to use for a broader audience of people. You can always check the latest status on that Drupal.Org Project page.
The next question is, "What is the recommended server memory for Commons 3.0?"
What we are doing with Commons, and this goes for another question that we've got about performance scalability, and we are going through a phase of extensive performance testing, and it is absolutely core to the product that Commons work well and work in a fast way on sites with thousands and thousands of users and thousands of pieces of content.
We want to make a recommendation of the server memory based on those benchmarks, and that performance data, so as soon as that information … as soon as we figure out what the best number for that is, we'll make sure to release it and you can follow progress on that performance-tuning in the Drupal relationship queue.
Another question is, "A number of users are stuck on Windows XP currently and he would like to see a browser to access fact content. Does your solution work with IE-8?"
Yeah. Right now we are including Internet Explorer 8 as part of the supported browser. I don’t think that we are going to include Internet Explorer 7 but we are going with IE-8, and it's worth noting that Google Apps actually has announced that they'll be dropping support for Internet Explorer 8 in November. Our support there is basically … our current support commitment there is greater than even in Google's.
Next question is, "I have heard you comment on Drupal 6 a couple of times before, and it's great…" thank you "…however, I am not pretty much going to Drupal 7. When can I realistically expect you to use Commons 3.0 in a production environment?"
We will have production release of Drupal Commons in quarter four, so you can definitely expect to have that in quarter four. I would say, if you want to start building a site on one of the data that … depending on your level of expertise; that could be a good option as well. Folks who are familiar with the Drupal code might be comfortable building a site that starts out on the Commons data and gets updated as that data gets updated.
Another question was, "Responsive design on one hand with the Aloha on the other, an editor that does not currently work on Android 2.3?"
Yeah, Aloha is the WYSIWYG Editor in Drupal Commons, and Aloha actually is something that Commons inherits from our other Drupal distribution the Spark distribution of Drupal where we've made a significant investment, Acquia has the Drupal distribution to improve the content editor experience for Drupal. We've leveraged some of those benefits inside Drupal Commons, and I'm not familiar with this specific issue that you're referring to Android 2.3, but I know that the Spark Team is actively working to hammer out those issues and that I am … the Drupal Commons team is working with Spark to make sure that our editors works well in Commons as well.
If you're having a specific problem with Aloha and Android 2.3 I would encourage you to file an issue in the Drupal Commons issue queue and we'd be happy to look into that in greater depth. It's possible that investment would just be automatically fixed as part of the current and ongoing Spark development anyhow.
Another question; "If you want to use Commons' functionality in Drupal 7, would you start with the Commons 3 installation that has CMS capabilities? Or would you do it the other way around?"
This is a great question. I would say 90 percent of the time, the answer to that question is going to be that you can just install Drupal Commons; you know Drupal Commons certainly doesn’t take anything away from the Drupal Core functionality, and of course the strength of Drupal, historically, has always been as a content management system. I would say that you, in 90 percent of the case, you should be able to start with Drupal Commons and you're ready like Bryan said, we've got a range of different content types that are included in the product, or for doing content management.
Of course we have all the standard Drupal facilities that you might expect, so the used modules, the ability to create more custom content type, if your site needs that, and actually for developers we've made it really easy to add content types to that group's homepage, so if you member on that group homepage, there's that tab interface for each type of content. It's really easy to add a new tab for a new custom content-type; if that’s something that you’ve got on your site.
Another question is, "Can you password-protect each group?"
Commons does show the ability to make groups private, and so as part of that you can restrict either the content that’s in the group, so that people can only see the group if they joined, or you can even make it so that the group doesn’t show up unless a user has been explicitly invited. That the model for that is more of an invitation or a request to join a model that's a password model, and that tends to be robust because you can share the password but the access that’s on a per-user basis, and is controlled by either account.
However, if you wanted to restrict access to the group using a password, you could still do that and the thing to keep in mind, with this question, and basically any question about features and people commenting is that even if it's something that we don’t necessarily ship as part of the core Drupal Commons product, we've got those thousands and thousands of Drupal modules that you can use to expand or extent function that’s part of Commons. I would say this is a great example of that.
The next question is, "I have site analytics tools been updated since Commons 2, and is there an easy way to see which groups are the most popular out of the box with Commons 3?"
Let me answer that in two parts. The two main groups are the most popular, you’ve got that after group's listing, that was on a group's directory, and so that’s one great way to seeing which Drupals are the most popular. We are going to ship Drupal Commons with a similar set of analytics tools that are built in from the ones that were included in Commons 2, and we are also looking at it potentially adding third party analytics tools through the Acquia network.
Another question, "Can you add product content types and community details to this to create a community and corporate site?"
Yes. I think this is similar to the other question but a little more than e-commerce labor, so the apps that we could add additional content types to your Drupal Commons installation and you could, based on Drupal Commerce distribution, and you could also add functionality from Drupal Commerce to your Commons installation. For example, if you wanted to sell products or even, some sites sell thing like subscription, so I can imagine using Drupal Commerce, adding it into Commons to provide the ability to subscribe to pay, to subscribe to a particular group, there's a lot of possibilities there. A good question, thank you for that one.
"Can you limit events to a specific group?"
Yeah. With most of the content-type in Commons, virtually all the content-types are included are intended to be posted into a specific group, so if you have the New York City Group, and you want to post your event into that group, you can post it just into that specific group and it will be really associates with that group.
Another question is about internationalization; "Will it work well with [I-18 end 00:52:28] module which is a model that’s used to translate content within Drupal, with multiple language and so?"
Absolutely, Drupal Commons will have all of the strengths that Drupal Core does, and Drupal on the I-18 end module has. In addition, Acquia has partnered with another provider to provide community cloud-sourced translation. They are partners with Lingotek, and through the Acquia network you can user their service to … The way that Lingotek works is, suppose you have a piece of content on your site and the conventional translation system as an administrator you would have to manually translate that.
With Lingotek you can have the system send the content out to Lingotek, Lingotek will do an automated machine translation and save that to your site, and then it allows people on your site, community members to refine that translation. You'll get a head-start from best of breed automatic translation tools, and then humans can't go in and refine that. That’s a nice way to cloud-source translation on their Drupal site. That’s something that will work Commons but, of course, that’s part of operating network, so it has a broader applicability to Drupal sites, in general.
A lot of great questions today; "Is the administrative area also responsive? I could manage Commons from my phone."
Thank you for the enthusiasm there and, yes, in general it's responsive. The end interface is responsive; we've got a front and back end theme.
"Are you using a specific responsive template for Commons 3.0?"
Yeah. In Drupal we call it … we tend to call it simply, "theme" sometimes, and so Drupal is … Drupal Commons is powered by the adaptive themes which is one of the most popular and well-supported contributed group of fans, so the theme in Commons is called "Commons Origins" and that’s what gives that out-of-the-box look and feel that we just saw, and that’s Commons origin powered by an adapted theme.
One of the benefits of going with adapted theme is that, those landing pages that we showed in Commons, those are all customizable, so you can switch out the content on those pages, and they'll still retain their responsive ability, so it's the benefit of that … of the adaptive themes for, say, more template that you can have customized landing page that retains its responsive trait. It's not like you have to call up the Mobile Team or somebody like that to make something responsive once you’ve customized it.
"Can users interact bi-directionally with both Web post and email; in other words respond to an email notification of some kind of content; I'll reply?"
That’s a very popular question. In the initial release of Commons that’s not included, but that’s absolutely something that we've got on our radar, for inclusion in the following release. Having said that though there are a couple of great modules in the email comment module for Drupal that you could use if you want to add that functionality before Acquia adds that functionality, and that’s something I love to highlight.
Which is that, a lot of people are familiar with our experience using a vendor and they ask, "Well, there are such and such feature in the roadmap, I wonder if that could be included?" It's true that Acquia has a roadmap and things that Acquia works on; but the benefit of being based on Drupal and end up having Commons as an open-source product of its own, is that you don’t have to wait for us to implement a particular feature if that feature isn't in a particular release, so we would like to highlight that.
"How can integrate Commons functionality along with the full Drupal 7 site?"
The question here sounds like you’ve got an existing Drupal 7 site and you want to add one or more of the pieces of functionality from Drupal Commons into your site. In general, there are two ways to do this and the best way depends a little bit about how your site is built, but I'll describe those ways briefly.
The first is that each of the bits of functionality in Drupal Commons is broken out into what's called a feature module, so for example, if you like the Activity Streams in Drupal Commons but you don’t really need the other functionality, you can go to Drupal.Org and download the Commons Activity Streams module, and add that to your existing site. That’s one approach, where you take an existing site and just add one of the Drupal Commons modules to your site.
Another approach is in quoting the content from your existing site into a Drupal Commons site; I would say that different folks are … if there are different benefits to each of the approaches, and which one is right for you really depends on how your site is set up now.
Another question; "I'm not sure I see where this fits in with an organization that used this instead of SharePoint 0, with SharePoint."
The answer is really both, I think that if you have really basic document management capabilities, that you might to just use Commons and those documents. However, if you're accustomed to all of the robust functionality that we've got in SharePoint or that you're used to SharePoint, you can integrate Drupal to SharePoint in there, or the CMIS modules for Drupal provides that ability, so that you don’t have to choose one or the other. You can do a smooth integration of the best of three tools.
"Can you import Google Drive API for [doc 00:58:03] sharing?"
Yeah. That’s actually something we want Drupal Commons for Acquia's intranet that we use to collaborate for our whole company, and that’s actually a feature that we've added to our Internet and that’s been really popular, so that if you go to a site search, and of course Drupal Commons search is powered by Acquia search and Apache Solr, and you search for copy on a site, you'll also get results from Googld Docs, that might be interesting to you, and where that becomes really nice is when you’ve got … and intern that, it's like the connective tissue between all the different properties that you’ve got in your companies.
Maybe you're using a range of different systems, and ideally you’ve got those integrated but perhaps you do have one or two separate systems you could integrate them in that way. That’s something with Google Doc integration; it's something that is on my personal wish list, so I think that’s a great feature.
Another question, "Can you integrate Drupal Commons 3.0 into our native iOS app or only a Web app?"
Yeah, that’s a great question. Something that has been a strength of Drupal is its ability to speak to Drupal applications, or speak to Mobile applications, rather, and so one of the things that we are looking at for the long-term roadmap for Commons is to include a more robust services integration so that if you're somebody you like the responsive functionality that Commons provide but you want to provide a dedicated Mobile App, you could use that services functionality in Commons, you just build on top of that.
We've also got a fairly recently-released … related to Acquia recently released a Drupal Gardens app that lets you … if you left any site running that module to use post content to the site from an iOS app…
Another question here, "Interested in why you chose panels over display suite or context?"
That’s a great question, it's a technical one, and there's actually, I will refer you to the Commons issue too, there's an issuer, if you just search for Panels Context in the Commons Issue queue, you'll see that there is a public conversation about why we went with one approach over the other. In a project like Drupal where they stifle the module, sometimes you’ve got to release that … a module and choose between two, which is the best approach or the right approach for a particular use case, and so you can read about that particular conversation, with respect [PALS 01:00:46] and in case we've got any issues here.
"Is there any work being done to begin reporting to D8?"
Thank you for that question. We have not begun reporting Commons to D8 but the [we think 01:00:59] that that’s closer to the D8 release cycle, posting the D8 being available we will reporting Commons to the latest and greatest version of Drupal Core.
Another question, "Does Drupal Commons integrate a suite of modules for a partial implementation of phased approach?"
The answer there is, yes. One of the feedbacks we have received from developers from Drupal Commons 2, is that they wanted even more flexibility to just what you're talking about, to use some functionality without the others. We've gone to great lengths in Drupal Commons 3 to provide that, and so I just one example of that is that suppose you want to completely customize all the landing page as just [site holder 01:01:43], you can actually disable the landing pages and build a completely different set of landing pages. Powered by the Panels module, and you can run your site in that way so you're not actually overriding anything you're just disabling some things and building on the building blocks that Commons comes with, and a lot of…
Bryan: Hey, Ezra?
Bryan: We are getting a few minutes past the hour, so I suggest that maybe we take the rest of questions offline, we could actually post them with the recording, you can post some brief answers there. Do you want to do maybe one more question and then we'll be respectful of folks' time and end there?
Ezra: Yeah, absolutely. The last question is another technical question, "Is there organic … user roles for Drupal Commons 3?"
The short answer there is, yes. That we do support that, that’s included in organic groups.
I would add, you can … if you have any other questions, about Drupal Commons, you can also … we'll make sure to answer the ones that are on the webinar, but you can also post in the Drupal Issue Queue for Drupal Commons.
Bryan: Actually, just build on that, you can see both Ezra and my own Twitter handle, so feel free to reach out to us, via Twitter, and we'll follow up with you directly. We'll download all the questions, and we can … and anyone we didn’t get to we'll post the answers and we'll push those up on the page with recording so you can get access to those as well.
I do want to thank everyone for joining us today; this is obviously an information-rich session, lots of great content and questions.
Ezra, thank you for a great demo, and for answering so many questions.
Ezra: Thank you.
Bryan: Hopefully we'll see you folks at a future Acquia webinar, lots of great stuff happening in Commons, so we look forward to seeing sites that you’ve built with that as well.