I have a pretty big update for you: we just launched Drupal Gardens into private beta. Since the first public Drupal Gardens demo at DrupalCon Paris, a lot of progress has been made. Today, we sent private beta invites to the first people that signed up to be beta testers, and if things go well, we'll send out a couple thousand more invitations over the next few weeks.

For those who received an invite, building Drupal sites just got easier. Drupal Gardens is a hosted version of Drupal so you don't have to worry about installation, hosting or upgrading. Think of it as Wordpress.com or Ning, except that it comes with the power of Drupal. Equipped with multi-user blogging, commenting, forums, custom content types, and advanced user management, Drupal Gardens should be a great tool for organizations that want to build social sites. For those of you who would like to also test drive Drupal Gardens, you can sign up to request a beta on drupalgardens.com and we'll be releasing more registration codes during the next few months of beta testing. We'll run in private beta for a bit and then open up to a public beta as we get closer to a final launch in early spring.

At Acquia, one of our goals has always been to help spread the adoption of Drupal. Hence, we have decided to make Drupal Gardens available for free until the end of 2010. By the end of 2010 we hope to have built all of the important features that will enable organizations to create feature-rich, social microsites. Our current thinking is that after 2010, there will continue to be a free tier for smaller sites but that there will also be paid tiers for larger websites or those who want access to premium features. There is a lot of work ahead of us and we need your help in the Gardens deciding what to plant, what to water and what to weed. We (at Acquia) can't wait to hear what you've got to say!

From a technical point of view, I'd like to point out this is a "real" beta launch. Drupal Gardens is a gem in the rough, built on the Drupal 7 core - currently in an alpha release - extended with functionality such as a WYSIWYG editor (CKeditor), media management, a theme builder, and basic "query builder" (i.e. simpleviews) capability. We're working with the various module maintainers, and contributing back almost all of our development efforts to the Drupal community.

Architecturally, Drupal Gardens is built on the ideas of an open social web; we markup data with RDFa, we implemented single-sign on using OpenID as our identity layer, we integrate with third-party services, and we allow people to export the code, the theme and data that makes up their site. We'll be sharing more technical details as we make progress, but we like to believe it will be a hosted service "done right".

I'd like to thank our alpha testers who have provided us some great feedback so far, the team at Acquia for working hard to get to private beta, and for the community for all the work on Drupal 7. I look forward to more people having the chance to test out Drupal Gardens and seeing what grows!


Chris Rutter (not verified):

Is there an export feature of DrupalGardens to allow one to export their garden to a standard D7 install?
If not, are there any plans to add this functionality in the future?

Similar to Wordpress.com's Export Function.

p.s. I would also like a beta code, Please. ;-)

Jay (not verified):

Chris, my understanding from the video is that you absolutely can export your Drupal site. I am very interested on what modules are going to be supported - I know you have to pare down modules for security/practical reasons, I wonder also what contributed modules will be supported.

Jesper (not verified):

Looks fantastic, but is it only for social sites? Can I sign up / pay to use Gardens for a Political site, a news site or a business site?

Brentnauer (not verified):

Is that theme editor available outside of Drupal Gardens? I think it'd be amazingly helpful for the average Drupal webmaster.

Randy Young (not verified):

My website was built with Drupal, my IT guy is gone and need some help with my site ! Can you guys lend a hand or point me to somebody who can help with my site ?

Would really appreciate it !


RMY @sneakerme

Paul (not verified):

Can you give us some information regarding the database structure? More specifically... is it running a single drupal instance with each account having its own node/users/etc tables or are there single node/users/etc tables referenced by an account id or similar?

shaun (not verified):

I am so impressed! Thank you so much Dries for all you are doing for Drupal. Being part of Drupal is like being on a roller coaster. I know that I am part of something awesome. And I appreciate you as a leader, and so many contributors. ( merlin!, chx, Angie, morten, dmitri, and so many more)

I am just a lowly web developer, and drupal has saved my hide and made me look like a hero more times than I care to mention. Once you left varsity I wondered if it would be detrimental to the health of drupal. It certainly hasn't.

This is not a fanboy post, but rather a long overdue show of my gratitude. I just hope that ALL contributors take a moment to pat themselves on the back, for the amazing job done on Drupal. I have always felt part of a community that is here to serve the world.

I know that sounds a bit dramatic, But if a community is so fervent about the growth of something free and awesome, to the point where someone gets a tattoo, or makes a song of the mascot. Then we are on to something right?

Peace to all Drupal contributors, and yourself.

Ben Nash (not verified):

nsI received an invite to Drupal Gardens and I immediately installed a site, browsed through the out-of-the-box site, then exported it, setup locally, uploaded to a web host, all within an hour and every think worked quite nicely. That was easy, thanks!

When migrating from Drupal Gardens the users passwords need reseting, no biggie and smart. The Theme Builder interface needs a little finessing still. I ran drush update on the exported site and everything was already up to date.

I think Drupal Gardens will have great success for developers, designers, and the masses.