Drupal Commons liberates you and your community from the tyranny of costly proprietary social software. A ready-to-use solution for building either internal or external communities, Drupal Commons takes the guesswork out of building a Drupal-based community site by providing: * Freedom of assembly, giving your community members easy, familiar ways to connect with one another, and participate in your community; * Freedom from technology limits, liberating you to extend and adapt your social community site any way you need to your or your communities needs; * Freedom from software license costs, sparing you from spending half of your community building budget on expensive proprietary software license fees.
To make all tools comparable for you, we have created a set of categories where every tool has its own description, whether it fullfills the categories or not. You can read a detailed description of each category on this page.
Through groups and community manager tools, Drupal Commons enables communities to organize into groups in which members create content, from blog posts to documents (with attachments), discussions, wikis, and even tweet-style microblogs on the group home page. Users can follow the recent activity of friends in the community, and enables community managers to highlight content or groups to increase visibility of important community activity. Most importantly, Drupal Commons is based on Drupal, and retains Drupal’s unrivaled flexibility to adapt your community site to your community’s needs in virtually any way, such as using an enterprise directory or SSO system to manage user accounts in an internal community, or linking in your marketing automation system to connect customers with the your enterprise.
Drupal Commons provides a variety of content types that enable users to exchange information at different levels of complexity. “Shouts” are meant for quick, transient items of information (similar to Tweets). Discussions are used for collaborating and iterating on areas of uncertainty. Documents are used to capture more static information, and to collect attached document archives. (Note that the content of attached documents is included when searching the site.) And Wikis provide the opportunity to create a living document editable by all members of a group. If additional, more sophisticated document management capabilities are required, it’s Drupal to the rescue again, with add-on modules available to connect Drupal to existing (or other, new) enterprise document management systems via the standard CMIS protocol (including enterprise standards such as SharePoint and Documentum, and open-source upstarts like Alfresco.)
Drupal has long been a Web CMS leader in providing a powerful platform for creating and managing users, their roles & permissions. Drupal Commons adds to this by providing for a rich personal profile, and search fields enabling users to find other users (or “experts”) by searching by title, location, and other filtering criteria. Users can increase their exposure to other activities in a community by “friending” other users. Freind’s blog posts, interactions in the community, and contribution to groups thereafter appear in the Dashboard listing of friends’ activity streams. Information can be both public, private, and only available to “friends”.
Drupal Commons provides each user a dashboard page containing a wide variety of content blocks showing activity from all across the community site. This page provides quick access to recent content from all subscribed groups, as well as friend activity streams. Sidebars contain quick links to individual information, such as group membership lists, one-click links to recent content created by the user, friend listings, and unread postings. It also contains blocks listing sitewide notices, upcoming activities, and active user listings.
Because enterprises have a wide diversity of different project management requirements, Drupal Commons doesn’t force a specific project management style on users. Instead, it provides a GUI-based toolkit site owners can use to set up project management processes and features that fit their own unique requirements. Using Drupal’s custom content type and views modules, organizations can rapidly create Project, Task, or other content types, and then create listings of tasks sorted and filtered - and displayed - as desired. These can be linked to Drupal’s sophisticated workflow and rules systems to go beyond simple listings if desired. Using these tools, organizations can create everything from a BaseCamp-like clone, or a completely custom project management system that links to back-end information sources or systems.
Drupal Commons is open source, and has no license fees associated with it. Organizations can deploy Drupal Commons on their own servers in their own data center, do their own self-support, and use Drupal Commons free of any cost. Realistically organizations are likely to seek increased levels of services and support around a Drupal Commons deployment, and those organizations can deploy Drupal Commons in several other ways: Managed Hosting/SaaS. Acquia (www.acquia.com) provides a fully-managed, hosted offering of Drupal Commons for those mid-to-larger organizations that prefer a turn-key solution. Acquia handles all aspects of system deployment, configuration, scalability, reliability and administration. Subscription offerings for self-hosted deployments. For organizations who prefer, or have a requirement, to host Drupal Commons in their internal (or external, certified) data centers, Acquia offers subscriptions very much like the Managed Hosting offering described above.
Drupal Commons is “still Drupal” - the most powerful and flexible web cms and application environment available. Drupal provides extendability in many ways; nearly every case, Drupal’s powerful Theming layer can be used to add the branding elements of an organization, it can be used to even make modifications in page layout, information architecture, and presentation. Beyond this extensive ability to modify the look & feel, organizations can easily incorporate new functions by installing and configuring any of over 5,000 add-on modules available for Drupal. If no module exists with your desired functionality, leverage Drupal’s built-in extension points to write custom modules of your own. Custom modules work using Drupal’s APIs for intra-site functionality, or use Drupal’s web services interfaces from XML/RPC to SOAP to direct SQL access - to link Drupal Commons with other sites or existing enterprise applications such as SharePoint, business intelligence systems, or custom databases.
Because of its extensive use across the Internet, the Drupal community has extended Drupal’s ability to leverage nearly any user authentication system around. Drupal was the first wide-scale platform to implement OpenID support, which is very helpful for externally-facing communities. For internal communities, Drupal Commons supports LDAP for internal site authentication. For externally-facing communities, organizations can utilize OpenID, since Drupal was the first widely available platform to fully implement the OpenID specification. For consumer-facing communities, organizations can leverage the Facebook Connect module, allowing users to log in to a site using their Facebook login and password. Drupal has a wide variety of backup / restore schemes available, as well as a community-wide set of knowledge about how to handle these aspects within the constraints of varying business requirements / tradeoffs.
Drupal Commons is the Open Source alternative to proprietary social business software. Not only is Drupal Commons more cost effective than proprietary vendors, but because it’s fully customizable. Drupal Commons provides unmatched freedom to adapt Drupal Commons to your community’s unique requirements, and frees organizations from the burden of spending scarce budget on wasteful proprietary software license fees. We think the savings are much better invested in community growth activities. With customers ranging from government executive branches to financial services firms and consumer products organizations, Acquia is the go-to provider for organizations seeking to deploy an open source social business solution using Drupal Commons. Acquia is the premier provider of enterprise-grade subscription offerings for Drupal Commons, ranging from full SaaS solutions to customized Enterprise Elite support subscriptions for organizations with specific requirements.
See “Operational Flexibility” section above for support & services descriptions from SaaS offerings to support subscriptions. Acquia’s support subscriptions are available at multiple price points, providing commercial SLAs from basic up to 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year with fast response times.