Acquia Shows Drupal Gardens: A Hosted Version of the Drupal CMS
Acquia, which provides commercial support for and its own distribution of the Drupal content management system (CMS), today gave attendees at Drupalcon Paris 2009 a first look at Drupal Gardens. The project had been previously code-named Acquia Gardens, and is the company's upcoming software-as-a-service version of Drupal designed to speed the design and deployment of Drupal social publishing sites for non-technical users including small business owners and web designers. It looks like it could help extend Drupal out to many new users who might shy away from installing and learning Drupal from the ground up, and help Drupal compete with hosted publishing platforms.
Built on Drupal 7, Drupal Gardens is a hosted web service that includes design tools, similar to online hosted blog publishing platforms. You don't have to have programming skills to use it, or your own hosting environment.
"Drupal Gardens brings the power of Drupal to new legions of site owners, who are now able to bring sites from design to deployed online in a matter of hours,” said Tom Erickson, CEO of Acquia. “The ability to establish communities quickly is vital to businesses and government organizations as they evolve their brand management strategies or develop new interactive customer relationship programs.”
According to the announcement, Drupal Gardens includes:
- Flexible configuration for custom designs. It provides tools like Theme Builder to help site owners build custom sites and give designers the ability to test and tailor designs to meet their brands’ and sites’ unique requirements without requiring extensive technical resources.
- Point-and-click simplicity. "Taking advantage of the usability enhancements in Drupal 7, Drupal Gardens allows anyone to launch a powerful Drupal social publishing site with a few clicks, without requiring any programming skills."
- Streamlined content contribution. According to Acquia, Drupal Gardens makes content creation – including custom content types, wikis, blogs, and user-generated content - accessible for all levels of technical know-how.
- Opportunity to Expand. Drupal Gardens site owners can extend their web site functionality at any time by taking advantage of complete site portability. This enables users to export both their entire site, including its design, to dedicated, customer hosting environments such as Acquia Hosting.
The project is only an alpha at this point, but you can sign up at Drupalgardens.com to receive updates on beta availability and URL registration. This looks like an interesting step forward for Drupal and Acquia. Drupal founder Dries Buytaert had been discussing the concept for months. Software-as-a-Service is a hot category, and Drupal may compete more closely with hosted blog and site publishing platforms via the new offering.