Q&A from our Open Atrium Developer Demo: Access Controls, Notifications, and Functionality

Danielle Miller, Associate Product Manager
#Atrium | Posted

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text disable_pattern="true" align="left" margin_bottom="0"]Our recent Open Atrium for Developers Demo resulted in some interesting and helpful questions around access controls, notifications, and OA functionality. Below is the webinar from our Vimeo Channel, along with the questions and answers transcribed. Thanks again to everyone who attended, and please feel free to watch the webinar below or click here to register for our next Open Atrium webinar.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link="https://vimeo.com/64895874"][vc_column_text disable_pattern="true" align="left" margin_bottom="0"]A. We’ve tried to fix and continue to work on this issue, which is coming from the Organic Groups module. Both Spaces and Groups in Open Atrium are Organic Groups, so the "Groups" title is automatically applied to both. We've fixed a lot of these inconsistencies at the very top level in order to switch them to the correctly labeled "Space." However, since this is currently a manual fix, we are working to switch the labels over as we find them. Over time we plan to implement alter hooks and stream replacements to fix that.

In addition, we'd ultimately like to provide the ability for users to define their own taxonomy appropriate to their use case of Open Atrium. For example, universities might want to call spaces "departments" and companies might want to refer to them as "projects." This is definitely something we are working towards for the eventual product.

Q. We've been trying to model what a Group, a Space, and a Team wold look like using existing metaphors and it's been challenging to map from an OA 1.x perspective to an OA 2.x perspective. the access controls at the bottom of a node edit form are particularly confusing due to inconsistencies in terminology. The ones on the side bar look like they've been renamed appropriately. Could you provide some clarity?

A. The access controls at the bottom of the node edit form are coming from the Organic Groups module. However, we didn't want to completely hide this from the user because, as an admin, it allows easy movement of content from one section to another as well as between spaces. For example, if you go into a discussion post and let's say it's posted to the faculty section, but you want to move it to student discussions, you can edit that in the field at the bottom. Thus, you'll find the Organic Groups module access controls in a collapsed field set in attempts to indicate "there be dragons here" to less experienced users.

The access controls on the sidebar are in line with the new terminology and will generally fulfill the needs of more mainstream Open Atrium users.

Q. It appears that the notifications are much more granular in terms of updates. Are you keeping all the rest of the standard stock drupal notification stuff such as Digests, periodic notifications etc. or is it a one notification per change? 

A. Right now, notifications are customizable through the Messaging API -- the same module that Drupal Commons and Commerce Kickstarter use. When content is updated on the site, the module automatically creates a notification and sends it off to whoever has subscribed via email. Aside from that, we are not currently doing anything special with notifications on Open Atrium.

We are not using the old notifications module with some of the aforementioned functionality, as it does not exist in a stable form in D7.  When we looked back in November at different options for notifications, with input from Acquia and other big profile makers, we decided we didn't like where those modules were going as they were too bloated. Acquia hired Gizra to write the new Messaging API and that's what we're using now.

It is a very lightweight module and currently only has a plug-in for basic email. Plug-ins for something like SMS or sending something to a jabber chat room could be created, we just need to start writing the plug-ins for that. A lot of distributions out there would love to see people taking charge and creating these. In addition, we'd love to build functionality for things like summaries and digests. The best part is building these plug-ins around the Messaging API module is not only going to help Open Atrium, but several other distributions as well.

Q. For those looking to try out the install, it doesn't seem to implement OA functionality when using simplystest.me., is that correct?

A. If you install Open Atrium from any source, whether it's drupal.org or the Git repo, you're going to get the default Panopoly theme, which is currently the Bardic Responsive theme.  This will look very different from what you currently see and won't have the toolbar across the top.

The very first thing you will need to do is go to the appearance area on your site, which is where all the themes are, and select the Open Atrium Radix theme. When you use the Open Atrium Radix theme, you will get the full user experience including the toolbar across the top. We do have an issue in the queue to set the Radix theme to default, but Drupal currently has a bug that makes it difficult to set a default theme in the install profile. Nonetheless, we're working on getting that fixed.

In talking about the theme, one of the design criteria in Open Atrium 2.x was to split out the theming functionality from the look and feel. So if you wanted to use the Bardic Responsive theme, you could just add the toolbar as a block through the admin and then you'd at least have the basics. For this to work, you will still need to enable Bootstrap functionality. There is a module called Twitter Bootstrap UI that allows you to turn on the JavaScript. Currently we turn on the JavaScript through the theme hook. This is an issue we ran into when trying to put this on drupal.org as Bootstrap uses the Apache2 license, which isn't compatible with Drupal's GPL2 license. Thus, Drupal doesn't let us package Bootstrap with Open Atrium right now, but we point to it to an external CDN for this. However, you can install the Twitter Bootstrap module on your own site if you want to enable the JavaScript for another theme.


Danielle Miller

Associate Product Manager