09 Mar 2012

Open Atrium - Intranet Drupal distribution


a·tri·um /ˈātrēəm/
1. An open-roofed entrance hall or central court in an ancient Roman house.
2. A central hall or court in a modern building, with rooms or galleries opening off it, often glass-covered.
Open Atrium is an intranet in a box that has group spaces to allow different teams to have their own conversations. It comes with six features :
  • Blog:  A classic blog for each group that has commenting, file attachments on both the post and comments, and granular notifications.
  • Calendar: A calendar that lets you quickly add events, suck in iCal and other calendar feeds, and support single or multi-day events.
  • Group Dashboard: Mini widgets give you a snapshot of all the activity happening across your groups. Think iGoogle, in that you can turn on what you want, turn off what you don't, and arrange it all however you'd like.
Documents: A simple online handbook that lets you collaborate on documents, store and compare revisions, attach files, and once you're done print out the final copy.
Shoutbox: Kind of like a private twitter, the shoutbox lets you share short messages, links, and information with just the people in your group.
Case Tracker: A full ticketing system that lets you assign to do's and create unlimited projects within each of your groups. The case tracker also lets you classify the to do, give it a priority, and manage its status.


You can download Openatrium on the official website (http://openatrium.com/).
I use MAMP to support my local websites. Copy the atrium folder on the server and create a new database, then go to the installation page and choose the installation profile "Open atrium", then the language. The installation is identical to a classic Drupal installation.
This distribution use Drupal 6, and is available in several languages (English, French, Vietnamese, ...)

First steps

The first things to do is to create a group, then add users to this group.
Each user can have different role : normal user or manager of the group (able to create user and manage content, ...). Based on their role, they can create new content (project, blog, ...).
Each user has a setting page to add more information about themself (pictures, contact information), and manage their groups.


The interface offer a great user experience, and helps user to master this tool quickly which is really important for any organization willing to use it.
The good points are the contextual help for each fields, the multiple shortcuts, and the possibility to customize the interface. The multiple dashboards (group, user, ...) gives you at any time an overview of all activities going on. You can customize any dashboards, and add block for the upcoming events, the latest files shared, ...
This solution is very powerful and offer same capabilities than the new wave of online collaboration tools (Basecamp, Harvest, ...). Open Atrium can be installed on our own secure network, to answer to most common companie policy. Enjoying the Drupal flexibility, we can extend  with modules just like any standard Drupal. Thanks to development seed and Phase2 Technology team.

About the author

Consultant, Web strategist, and Drupal enthusiast, I use open source software to build application that connects people and spread ideas. I believe that internet can lead to powerful changes for progressive organizations, and for our future.

Keep in touch here