Open Atrium 2.x Alpha is Here!

icon and logo for open atrium 2.0We are very proud today to be launching our alpha product release of Open Atrium on Drupal 7. This project has been in development for more than six months, and has certainly been anticipated, planned, and requested long before that!

How Was it Built?

Over the course of the project, the Open Atrium team mantra has been: “proudly invented elsewhere.” Most Drupal community members know that Open Atrium was originally conceived of and built by the talented team at Development Seed to achieve an “intranet in a box,” combining discussions, notifications, issue tracking, and calendars in a first-of-its-kind open source solution.

So when it was time for an upgrade to Drupal 7, the goal was for Open Atrium 2.0 (OA2) to represent the “best of Drupal,” combining the top thinking in the community about how to handle flexible layouts, best-in-class security and permissions, and beautiful, responsive, usable design. Open Atrium Alpha is proud to be built on the Panopoly base distribution, utilizing the Organic Groups and Messaging API modules, and using Radix, a Bootstrap-based theme. Basing Atrium’s functionality on work that is “proudly invented elsewhere” meant that our team could focus on combining this functionality into a truly powerful platform, creating a flexible framework for plugins, and making it easy to use.

What’s In It?

Open Atrium consists of several core features that are key to creating a social collaboration software solution for organizations needing to share knowledge and connect their teams. The core features included are:

Discussions, Notifications, & Messaging

Discussions in Open Atrium can be restricted to as few as two people or opened up to the whole organization, and can be restricted based on a user’s projects, teams, or organization membership. Users can subscribe to specific discussions and communicate through the email notifications feature, allowing teams to stay better in touch with the information that matters most.

Knowledge Management

For organizations building intranets, wikis, and knowledge management sites, Open Atrium allows for the simple storage and sharing of documents and media within groups or to the global organization. Open Atrium comes standard with full Media support and the ability to attach and store files, images, and video with documents assigned to specific discussions and groups.

Security & Access Control

Open Atrium features robust access control that outperforms any other open source solution by providing administrators full control over access for individuals, project teams, and organizations. Content created within a project can be restricted to sub-sets of the project team; Information can be shared globally or to restricted groups; and communications can take place among larger communities or highly classified teams.  Attached media and file documents can be made private to specific groups and teams.

Mobile Ready

Open Atrium’s theme is built using Bootstrap, a front-end framework using responsive CSS that allows content to be ready for multiple screen sizes out of the box. Over two dozen cross-browser, responsive layouts and several responsive image styles are included to aid in site building and allow your site to work seamlessly on mobile devices.

Customizable Layout

Open Atrium is built on Panopoly, a Drupal Panels-based distribution that offers drag-and-drop customization of pages and content. Easily switch layouts, change styles, and add generic widgets to display text, images, links, maps, submenus, video and spotlights across your Atrium site.

Pluggable Functionality:

Open Atrium is built with extension in mind. Custom functionality is added via plugins, keeping the core platform lean and light, while allowing users to add the specific functionality they need and not be burdened by unnecessary features.  Open Atrium 2 comes with the Discussion and Wiki plugins, but they can be easily removed and other community-developed plugins can be easily added.  Developing custom plugins well-documented and is no harder than building a normal Drupal module.

What Is “Alpha”? 

At Phase2, we consider an Alpha release to be “developers’ code.” The architecture for the product is well-defined, and the supporting functionality for the product is all built. But it is not a fully developed product. It is not free of bugs, and it isn’t ready for someone who is not a Drupal developer to start building with and using. For Drupal developers interested in evaluating it for projects, building plugins or additional functionality, OA2 Alpha is a great place to start. We hope you’ll help us identify bugs and report them to the issue queue and help build plugins and functionality that allow the community to extend Open Atrium’s capabilities.

For organizations who are eager to start using Open Atrium “out  of the box” but do not have an experienced Drupal team on-hand, we would recommend that you consider working with a Drupal developer to do so, or wait until a Beta product is released before evaluating it on your own. We are working hard to make it easy for organizations to get started quickly with Open Atrium, and we’ll keep you updated as soon as we have more opportunities for evaluating, demoing, and using Atrium. To join our mailing list for Open Atrium (no spam, ever!), please drop us a line and we’ll keep you updated.

Can I Update My OPEN Atrium 1.X Site to THE 2.0 Alpha?

Like any Drupal 6 site, there is no simple upgrade path from Open Atrium 1.x to Open Atrium 2.x. This is due to the different architectures of Drupal 7 versus Drupal 6.

So, what’s next? 

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be building some additional plugins and functionality into Open Atrium 2, evaluating the patches and contributions from the community, and helping community members build new plugin features. There are teams in the community working on document management and case tracking functionality as we speak, and we are excited to see what other plugins emerge.

Can I Help?

Absolutely!  First off, the issue queue is open. Download Open Atrium, evaluate it, and let us know what you find. We’ll be pleased to review patches from willing community members. We are also in the IRC #open_atrium room, so please join us there for more conversations on Open Atrium as well.

Second, we have a group of community members who meet and talk regularly about contributing to Open Atrium and making it better. If you’re interested in joining our contributors group, please join the group, or email us at to be added to our contributors list. I also give a “Developers Demo of Atrium” webinar every Friday at 11:00 am ET. To sign up for this week’s demo, please click here.

Third, we’ll be hosting an all-day hackathon at DrupalCon Portland on Friday, May 24th at the DoubleTree hotel. If you’re interested in developing plugins or discussing Open Atrium, we hope you’ll join us there.

Finally, we want to give thanks and appreciation to the contributors group, including awesome community members like Matt Cheney and the team behind Panopoly; Antonio De Marco and Andrea Pescetti from Nuvole; Amitai Burstein from Gizra; and David Snopek and Pancho; who have contributed their code, their testing time, and their patches to help make Open Atrium a great product.

  • RJ Pittman

    Congrats on the release Mike! I think there’s a lot to be said for all of the effort you put in to make this project your own, and seeing it all the way through to this point. OA2 looks awesome!

  • Fredric Mitchell

    congrats guys. i know this was a big lift!

  • Nigel

    Just in time for it to be ported to D8! :p

  • Mohit Aghera

    Congratulations guys…..Just installed the OA2 and its really awesome….Great work…

  • juan_g

    For upgrades D6 -> D7 of complex sites, there is now the Drupal-to-Drupal data migration module based on the Migrate module. It could be useful for Open Atrium upgrades.

  • Paul

    We currently use Atrium as a bug tracker and our clients love it, can’t wait to see the case tracker in this version, until then we can’t really use it :/

  • Amitai Burstein

    Congrats! and thank you for the credits :)

    Can you share what was the reason to opt to Messaging API instead of the Message stack (i.e. Message subscribe)?

    • Mike Potter

      We *do* use message_subscribe for the Subscribe functionality. And we use message_notify for sending the notifications. We just hook into it to provide the list of users to notify based upon the “push” notifications, rather than the “pull” subscriptions.

  • Robert Dean

    After installing it, it’s fairly blank. Any recommendations for a quick start? Mainly trying to get a sense of the project management and issue tracking aspects of it. I changed the theme to the Open Atrium Radix theme…but still seems like there is more that I should do?

    Looking good. Thanks guys!

    • Mike Potter

      Yeah, I should have mentioned that the first step should be to set the theme to Open Atrium Radix. It will get better with other themes in the future, but for now you should start there. Remember that OA2 doesn’t have any issue tracking plugin yet. It’s just Discussions and Wiki for now. So try creating some Spaces, then create Sections within Spaces, then create Discussion Posts or Wiki pages within Sections. Play with the different default Layouts provided for Sections (in the Section Edit form)

    • David Snopek

      I can (shamelessly!) recommend this 3rd party project management / issue tracker for OpenAtrium 2.0: :-) Check it out and let us know what you think!

  • Voronin Valentin

    Wow, guys. Transfer from D6 to D7 is needed.

  • Jeff Mahoney

    Can’t wait to check it out! You know what would allow my company to use it? A promise of an upgrade path to Drupal 8… a lot to ask for… maybe I should work on that :)

    • Mike Potter

      That’s hopefully a joke, but I expect the upgrade path from D7 to D8 to be just as difficult as any other major version. Since OA2 depends upon big modules such as Panels, Media, Organic Groups, a lot of the work is in the hands of others.

    • Bojan Živanović

      I would definitely consider any kind of an upgrade path promise to be a joke.
      Custom Migrate handlers are the only proper way to do it, and a distro can only provide initial boilerplate.

      On the other hand, rebuilding distros on D8 is going to depend on rewriting half of contrib again, so a lot of time will need to pass after D8 is released.

  • Carlos Mação

    Congratulations! Will it be simple to migrate modules like Webform to the new plugin architecture?

    • Mike Potter

      See the plugin documentation here: For many modules, just adding the Space and Section reference fields to your content type (webform) are enough to make it aware of Open Atrium 2.

      • Carlos Mação

        Thanks, it will try.

  • Tamara Hill-Tanquist

    This is awesome!

  • chrisfromredfin

    Is my installing routinely hanging on:

    Completed 130 of 139.
    Installed Panopoly Core module.

    …or does it just take a long time? Nothing happening in my database.

    • Mike Potter

      I haven’t seen that problem, but please post problems like this into the issue queue. Shouldn’t be doing tech support in a blog comment ;)

    • David Snopek

      I’ve done the install a bazillion times and I can confirm that the later modules take a really, REALLY long time to install. :-) So, if you’ve got a busy server, it could just be taking a while…

    • Bojan Živanović

      Installing a Feature during drupal installation can take a while and be prone to hanging.
      We have people complain about it in the Kickstart queue (usually on servers that are resource constrained).
      This means we (distribution maintainers) need to experiment on continue to experiment with alternative ways to rebuild features (see

  • EclipseGc

    Any chance you’re going to reopen the open atrium irc channel? Would be nice to have a place to collaborate in real time. This is still a distro I care about.

    • Danielle Miller

      We already have the #open_atrium IRC room open for any questions that you might want to discuss real time.

      • EclipseGc

        ahh, underscore, not dash or nothing. Thanks!

  • Bojan Živanović

    I am very happy to see OpenAtrium alive again, and based on something as smooth as Panopoly.
    Going to give it a spin today :)

  • Jeff Walpole

    Congrats to the team on this amazing first step. Of course everyone needs to be patient about the features that will accompany it, this is only alpha and as Mike said, help on those features is always welcome. You cant have community expectations without community contribution!

  • Sean Robertson

    This is very good news. I’ve been wondering what was going on with OA lately, and I’ve got a potential project in the pipeline that I’d love to use it for. :-)

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