Open Atrium: A Drupal Based Intranet Ecosystem
Development Seed, a communication shop dedicated to creating handy Drupal-based solutions, today announced the availability of a whole kit and caboodle of open source intranet wonder.

Open Atrium, now officially in its public Beta phase, is an open source starter intranet package that includes popular tools like blogs, wikis, a calendar, to-do lists, a ticketing system and microblogging.

The Seedling

The Development Seed team has been exercising their communication expertise for roughly six years. With an underlying mission to provide technological solutions for world-changing organizations, the brains behind the operation have devised ways to help the UN and the World Bank, among many others, further their impact.

Open source from the very start, Development Seed chose Drupal to help build their tools because "it’s powerful, it’s stable, and it has a great community supporting it." Five years later and for the very same reasons, they've again gone with Drupal for their first packaged, separate distribution. 

The Atrium

A team intranet, Open Atrium allows users to coordinate on projects with their co-workers.

OpenAtrium_GrpDashbrd.jpg

Open Atrium - Group Dashboard

With a point and click setup, there is out-of-the-box functionality for creating different spaces for different projects, adding people to each space, and 6 tools: a dashboard, a blog, a wiki, a calendar, a casetracker and a micro-blog.

OpenAtrium_ShoutBox.jpg

Open Atrium - Shoutbox

Have a look at this out of the box capability:


A Strong Drupal Backend

In addition to all the the built-in functionality, developers can create their own features, themes and modules as well. This extensible core is built on the Drupal Features System. Features can be built using Drupal.org site building modules (Views, CCK, Context, etc.), or you can  leverage other modules like FeedAPI, Faceted Search, etc.

But it's not going to stop there. Development Seed strongly believes in the idea of sharing your features. "The development paradigm adds the concept of usable features to Drupal -- rather than just modules to be used as building blocks - so that more novice users can enable new plugins quickly."

There are plans to create a decentralized network of Feature Servers -- servers that store third party features and their updates. You can learn more about their plans from this post on their blog.

Open Atrium is also being translated into a number of different languages, which adds to its appeal.

Why Open Source

With Drupal as the backbone to Open Atrium, it is open sourced under GPL v. 2 b. Anything that isn't specifically Drupal, such as themes is open sourced under BSD. To keep all thing code safe, sane and public, Open Atrium source code is all stored on GIThub.

Development Seed believes that crowdsourcing new features will take Open Atrium to levels many other solutions haven't reached. Says the Open Atrium team: "We open sourced Open Atrium because we see it as a seed for something much larger -- a community that makes great team communications tools. And it's working. Open Atrium is being translated in more than a dozen languages and several hundred people are growing its base of features."

The Roadmap

Open Atrium has an official roadmap that shows you where the company plans to take the solution. Version 1.0 stable shows the functionality they are working towards. Version 1.1 includes iPhone/mobile support, calendar enhancements and notifications. 

Other Shrubbery

Development Seed's solution sounds promising, but they're certainly not the only gang with their hands in the Drupal jar.

Pressflow from Four Kitchens is also a free, open source solution derived from the Drupal core. The tool is designed to enhance performance, scalability and data integrity. They have recently introduced direct download capability which should entice many more users to Pressflow 6.

And let's not forget Acquia, a member of the global Drupal community that provides all kinds of razzle dazzle for the web content management system. Most recently, they released the Drupal Stack (DAMP) Installer, a package that allows users to easily install the necessary components to get a Web CMS up and running.

Given that Open Atrium was downloaded 3,300 times in the first day alone, it looks like the solution is going to be a pretty viable alternative. Get your copy here.

What do you think? Will a big new solution from a relatively small guy be able to hold its own?