A trip to the Drupal Gardens Part 1

A trip to the Drupal Gardens Part 1

Posted on: Thursday, May 24th 2012 by Bono Fung

Drupal Gardens offers an alternative to traditional Drupal installation. If you:

  • Want a site on the fly and don't need a lot of code/module modifications
  • Don't have a lot of experience in Drupal or any other CMS
  • Don't have your own local hosting space/resources

Then Drupal Gardens might worth looking into. It is fast to setup and it is easy to use. It comes with a lot of great pre-loaded features. It's a cloud service so you don't have to setup and configure your own hosting space. It is has a lower learning curve so even if one has never used Drupal it will make the first time experience less overwhelming. Drupal Gardens's official site also offers a lot of documents and tutorials so anyone can go through them and learn all the basics in relatively short time.

However, it does have some restrictions and limitations that one must take into considerations before deciding to go forward with Drupal Gardens. Please carefully review the following before committing to Drupal Gardens.

No additional contribute/custom modules

If you go forward with Drupal Gardens you will need to be clear that you cannot install or add any modules into the system outside of what's already made available. Drupal Gardens offers quite a bit of modules compared to regular versions by default. Unless you need to do something very specific you probably won't need anything else. Unfortunately, once you've committed to using Drupal Gardens and find yourself three months down the road realizing that you must add a custom module, you might need to migrate the site out of Drupal Gardens and into Drupal 7 etc. This can cause additional time and effort.

No custom updates for modules

Take CCK for example. In Drupal6 the default CCK2 does not handle multigroup; therefore, if you wish to do multigroup then you will need to update to CCK3. This is a relatively easy task in regular Drupal. In case of a similar situation in Drupal Gardens you won't be able to perform this update even if CCK is already available in Drupal Gardens. As a result you will be using the same version of module as everyone else in the system.

Real time update with multiple users.

If the site is updated by many people at the same time it might turn into a version control nightmare if you were used to SVN and GIT. Although regular Drupal also suffers from this problem when it comes to editing page content on the site but at least all the themes, css, scripts and module code etc can be handled through version control. Basically any Drupal Garden user who has permission to alter the site can all be working on the content, theme etc and overwrite each other's changes in real time without any notification. If you have a big group working on a Drupal Gardens site it is better to delegate each person to a particular section therefore avoiding an overwrite of each other's changes.

In Part1 I am basically giving everyone an overview of Drupal Gardens. In Part2 I will cover some tips and tricks that you won't find in official tutorials and documents.

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About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web