Open Atrium: a one-stop solution for international cooperation projects
At Nuvole we have always supported the idea that Open Atrium can deal with complex use cases. Modules like Spaces, PURL and Organic groups can push the limit of the platform far beyond being a simple-yet-powerful intranet software. We were already experimenting with building public websites and simple distributions-like mini-sites with Open Atrium for quite some time, but now the new Alfa Puentes project gave us the opportunity to blend together all those customizations in one powerful platform.
These concepts will be covered in more detail in the Nuvole DrupalCon Munich Training.
The Alfa Puentes project
The Alfa Puentes project's main aim is to enhance the international cooperation between the European and the Latino-American Higher Education environments by creating a community of teachers, rectors and other related stakeholders. The members of this community need to share data and information both online, using an intranet platform, and offline, by participating to a series of mid-size seminars and conference spread across the two interested regions. Given the diversity of this community, multi-language support was also a strong requirement.
Open Atrium to the rescue
The platform is organized in three main parts: a public portal, a series of private self-managed intranet groups and mini-sites for the organization of real-life events. Since it's developed on a single Open Atrium installation users of the platform can have different roles in each components, e.g., a rector can start a private discussion group while a project partner may help with translations.
The portal is based on our mini-site features set, it contains information about the project, like funding periods and partners involved. All content is available in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese. Site managers can easily assign content translation to partners or collaboratively work on a specific section of the website. Even though the portal is implemented as a specific Open Atrium group type, the site look and feel does not resemble in any way its default theme: visitors perceive the portal as being an independent site.
Private intranet groups
In a cooperation project it is essential to provide a platform where users can easily engage in a conversation and share relevant information: nothing can be simpler with Open Atrium. Each partner can start a private discussion group and can easily invite users to participate. To facilitate information sharing each group can be powered with our Atrium Folders feature, which provides a more user friendly and familiar way of sharing documents and files than the built-in Notebook feature. The language of each group can be set at its creation, chosen among English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Mini-sites for event organization
The mini-site features set also powers the creation and management of mini-sites for organization of events. Each event site is an independent Open Atrium public group, with a specific Spaces preset which, at every site creation, enables features like static pages, custom navigation menu pre-filled with default content, news section and a spotlight area on the front page. Each mini-site must also provide a customizable per-event registration form which will add specific information (like participation to dinners, workshops, etc...) to the usual user profile data. To implement such a functionality we have integrated the Webform module with Open Atrium, ensuring a smooth user experience in managing such a complex use case.
Glue all together: the user dashboard
The default Open Atrium user profile section has been customized to be the starting point for the user to find her way trough the system. After the login the user is redirected to her profile page, from where she can have direct access to update her personal information, get to the groups she is member of and manage her event registrations.
Antonio spent a few years advocating Drupal in large student organizations like Erasmus Student Network, where he was responsible for the ESN Satellite project, a Drupal website template now used by more than 300 ESN sections all over Europe. After moving to Brussels he founded Youth Agora, a non-profit organization working on Drupal projects in the field of international youth information.
In 2008, due to the increasing demand for Drupal projects, he co-founded Nuvole, a Drupal company based in Brussels and Italy and specialized in working with international NGOs. Nuvole, due to its geographically distributed team, is a pioneer in the field of 100% code driven development.
Antonio shares his experience on the company's blog and by regularly presenting in national and international events, like Drupal VolCon 2010, Drupal Belgium Developer Sessions, DrupalCon Copenhagen 2010 and DrupalCamp Torino 2010.