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Drupal Commons rocks

How do I love Drupal Commons? Let me count the ways.

Ok, so maybe this is just me being enthusiastic about a great day at work. But ok - that's what blog posts are, right? Personal expressions of what's happening?

Today I spent a bit over 1/2 day with a customer prospect who is considering using either Drupal Commons or a (proprietary) Social Business Software alternative. (Initial Caps Intentional.) These guys are working on a project that could have big cultural impact in the U.S., and have a user community of millions of users. It's a site you may end up visiting sometime in the next couple of years.

And as we went through what they need, there wasn't a single question I couldn't answer with either:

(a) there's a Drupal Module for that, (b) this is just a new content type plus view plus block to display it, or (c) that's a pretty straightforward custom module that can be built to talk to the (xyz) API in Drupal.

Every few minutes, a new requirement was brought up - all of which Drupal can handle:

  • Integration with (xyz) marketing automation system. Yup - there's a module for that. (We use it at Acquia, in fact.)
  • Synchronization of user profile information with SalesForce.com records. Not only is there a module for talking to SalesForce, let me show you these Drupal Commons sites with some really interesting implementations.
  • Deep Facebook integration, including logging into the Drupal site with their Facebook login & password, seeing which of their Facebook friends have an account on the Drupal Commons site, and (most importantly) inviting their Facebook friends to get an account on the Drupal site.
  • Pushing tweets to Twitter from the Drupal site, and pulling their most recent Tweets into the site. Oh, and using Oauth in the process.
  • TOTAL control over the creative aspects of the user interface. These guys are a digital agency. Creative control is king. They don't want this site to look like all the other community sites built with Drupal Commons. No problem - this is Drupal. It's got massive flexibility for designers. There are millions of Drupal sites out there - and most you'd never know were Drupal sites. The same can go for Commons sites; it's your blank palette, baby.
  • And etc. etc. Sharing content via Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, and over 100 more sharing and social bookmarking sites, or email. Using Google translate, or content localization services like ICanLocalize or Lingotek. Fivestar ratings, plus an extensible underlying VotingAPI. Google Maps integration to create interactive maps with various map markers and content in map bubbles. Support for the Brightcove 3 player. And on and on.

It's hard not to be totally evangelistic about Drupal / Commons. The thing is, if you have an idea about how you want to change the world by creating your special community, Drupal Commons simultaneously accelerates your activity, yet retains massive flexibility and capability to do exactly what you want. This is why people who start working with Drupal get so freakin' passionate about it.

Look out, proprietary vendors. As enterprise community-builders start to see that open source software (built by a community, for communities) is a better, cheaper, faster way to build their community, your days will fast become numbered. Drupal is going to take over the (your) world.


Posted on by DouglasT (not verified).

"This is why people who start working with Drupal get so freakin' passionate about it."

I had an in-depth conversation about a site that I'm developing the other day that really made me think. The subject was about using a content type and/or a taxonomy to identify and organize a small section of unique content. The other person was in favor of a new content type, and maybe also a new taxonomy. He had ideas for using Views to display a summary page of the information. He was passionate about how Drupal was allowing him to display the content exactly like he envisioned it, easily and dynamically.The odd thing about this conversation was that the person I was talking to was the end user. He wasn't a developer at all. He has never seen the Views module or any other admin page. We've discussed how Drupal works over the course of the project and he's seen the results. When I asked him about his change in perspective, he said "apparently I drank the Drupal Kool-Aide".

Posted on by Jay Batson.

Love it. :-)

Posted on by dreamleaf (not verified).

Totally correct on the rockin' front. I've just started work on a new site and decided to give Commons a bash before doing an install from scratch and sourcing the relevant modules etc.

I would say 3 weeks worth of config and fine tuning is all taken care of during the installation of Commons, the fact that it just works also means testing will be at a minimum too.

100% recommend the commons package to anyone wanting to create a network of any kind.

Posted on by Jay Batson.

Nik -

Thanks for the comments.

Be sure to come back and post your site URL at http://commons.acquia.com after the site is live, so we can point to it as a reference / example for others!