Popular Drupal Distributions

I wasn’t aware of Drupal distributions until the release of Open Atrium 1.x. Drupal distributions can be a very fast way to develop a website; giving you the means to tweak massive amounts of pre built-in functionality to your needs.

Drupal.org defines a distribution to be:

Distributions are full copies of Drupal that include Drupal Core, along with additional software such as themes, modules, libraries, and installation profiles.

Drupal.org further breaks down distributions into full-distributions and other distributions for developers. I’ll list some of both here which I’ve heard or have seen made use of locally.

In general all distributions should be able to be found on the Drupal.org Distributions Download page.

My Popular Distribution List:

Is a Drupal distribution created by Harvard.edu and powers a vast amount of Drupal websites at Harvard University. It’s designed to give courses, professors and departments a means to release a website that meets Higher Ed needs quickly and efficiently. The installation offers functionality such as bibliography management and other features foster online collaboration and provide relevant site sections, such as “Publications”, “Events”, “Blog”, “Classes”. There is also a dedicated website at Harvard for OpenScholar.

Having been asked to make use of OpenScholar in the past I know that Harvard’s Economics  and Chemistry Departments are both powered by OpenScholar.

Conference Organizing Distribution (COD)
COD allows you to deploy a website rapidly with features like event signup, session proposal, session voting/judging, session selection/scheduling, and social networking prior to events. COD also supports allowing affiliated Sponsors to supply logos and business highlights for conferences.

Having been to UCI’s DrupalCampLA many times I have personally been a user of such sites and must say for Conferences there is little else needed other than themeing up the distribution to meet your needs.

Recently I’ve been eating out at various hole-in-wall places. Or places that have little to no online presence. In the last few weeks I stumbled upon the Restaurant Distribution for Drupal. This distribution is built on top of Panopoly Distribution (Inception Inception Inception!) it also contains Drupal Apps to manage menus, events, blogs. It contains widgets that show Maps, social links, hours and location, and contact forms. The site is also responsive.

Developer Distributions: Panopoly and Turnip

This developer distribution uses the Profiler module I’ve mentioned in the past to be a fast starting point for launching into Drupal development. It leverages the following key developer components: Drush make, Profiler, Features, Behat, Deploy. To see a good overview of this profile I recommend its introduction by OpenSourcery.

This distribution leverages Chaos Tools and Panels heavily, it is: Panels Powered, Responsive, features In-Place Page Building, Improved Admin Experience and is compatible with Panopoly’s “Apps” for Drupal. Being involved in the Drupal community I know this module gets a lot of widespread usage.

Open Atrium
Is a popular Project Management and Collaboration site built using Drupal. 1.x allows you define Projects, Goals, Groups, Document Management, Issues … all through a very slick UX experience. Recently released Open Atrium 2.x contains similar features and supports Drupal 7 and is built using Panopoly mentioned above (Inception!).

Note: Distributions typically make use of Drush make, Subprofiles or the Profiler module. These tools allow for child makefiles (drush), subprofiles or base/derived Profiler profiles … with nearly endless recursive possibilities — hence my Inception references throughout this blog post. Also, Themes in Drupal can be nested essentially indefinitely.

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Author Spotlight

David Gurba

I am a web programmer currently employed at UCSB. I have been developing web applications professionally for 8+ years now. For the last 5 years I’ve been actively developing websites primarily in PHP using Drupal. I have experience using LAMP and developing data driven websites for clients in aviation, higher education and e-commerce. If you’d like to contact me I can be reached at david.gurba@arvixe.com

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