Drupal Commons rocks

Posted by
on December 9, 2010

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.

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