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Praise for Open Atrium

By moshe weitzman - Posted on 17 July 2009

Open Atrium is the finest piece of Drupal art that I have ever seen.

In my 7 years of Drupal, I can’t think of a tighter innovation than this. If Open Atrium is Intranet in a Box, I’ll call this week’s Appollo 11 anniversary 3 men in a beaker.

A few high points ...

  • Stunning user experience. The experience of creating, customizing and participating in collaborative groups has been free based down to its very essence, and then rearranged in a zen garden. My Organic groups module, and the rest of Drupal, is relegated to community plumbing. The administration theme is lovely as well.
  • Lickable graphic design. Lovely use of color and icons in the software. The marketing site has a terrific dinosaur look as well.
  • Tight product definition. Open Atrium doesn’t do all that you will want from your intranet. It is still a baby. But it does enough and does it well. Everything else is easy added via a contrib module or by writing a custom feature.
  • Multi-lingual with crowdsourced translations.
  • A model Drupal install profile. Install profiles are often hailed as a solution to Drupal’s multiple personality disorder yet almost noone seems to use them. Development Seed has shown what can be done with profiles in Drupal 6, and they even made them so much better in Drupal 7.
  • A living breathing example of features module and its integration with feature servers. Standardized packages of modules and configuration are so so needed in Drupal. The fact that this also solve a lot of our deployment headaches is a huge bonus. And features are integrated into update module - amazing!

There is so much to love about Open Atrium, that it ascends above software to art. I’m thankful that the Development Seed founders chose to give it away for free. They certainly could be making many thousands of dollars here. I guess they’ll wait a while before replacing the houseboat with a super yacht. Perhaps they are holding out for hosted Open Atrium.

I have no financial relationship with Open Atrium/Development Seed. This little love letter carries no attached strings.