FAQs

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What is Open Atrium 2?

Open Atrium is open source collaboration software that enables organizations to securely connect their teams, projects, and knowledge. A powerful solution, Open Atrium’s framework allows your organization to easily integrate your existing software, while remaining flexible enough to change as your organization grows. With Open Atrium, you can better communicate, educate, and inform your organization by creating solutions such as an intranet, social collaboration platform, web portal, or learning management system.

Is Open Atrium Secure?

Open Atrium 2 is built with data security as its top priority. The structure of Open Atrium allows public, private, and custom access levels to be set for each content area (called "spaces" and "sections"). Additionally, the "groups" functionality in Open Atrium allows specific permissions to be set for users in designated roles, clearance levels, or functions and can be associated with user identity systems such as LDAP.

Data security is also simply and directly communicated on each page of an Open Atrium site, where a user can clearly see whether they are in a public or private space, and who exactly has access to the content they are viewing or creating there.  

As a distribution of Drupal, Open Atrium inherits Drupal 7's inherent security features and private file system, as well as its node access grant system, where web requests for private access are going through Drupal to verify identity and access. In Open Atrium, files and attachments also inherit this access control.


Open Atrium also includes automated testing around data privacy. On every build and release of the product, every aspect of the system is tested to ensure that data privacy is upheld.

Is there an upgrade path from Open Atrium 1.x (on Drupal 6) to Open Atrium 2.x (on Drupal 7)?

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. 

Migrating your content from a D6 to a D7 site really comes down to how customized your site is. The closer to being straight "out-of-the-box," the easier it will be for you to migrate your content over.

We are developing migration scripts in order to make data migration a bit easier, but overall it will really depend on the configuration and customization of your OA 1.0 site.

How can I get started with Open Atrium 2?

Open Atrium is an open source distribution built on the Drupal 7 framework and is available free of charge to anyone. Set-up, configuration, and customization should be accomplished by an experienced developer familiar with Drupal. Implementation and hosting services are generally priced according to the organization’s specific needs.

To get started, visit www.openatrium.com, where you can quickly download and  “test drive” OA 2 through a Pantheon one-click install.

Can I use Open Atrium 2 for my projects?

Absolutely! And we hope you do. Open Atrium 2 has the flexibility to expand and meet the needs of enterprise level and mission driven organizations and can help create business solutions through better social collaboration and management of their internal communications, teams, and knowledge.

The distribution gets better the more people use it and contribute back patches and additional functionality to the distribution. It can be a great “jumping off point” for your own project, and if you’re able to contribute something back, it makes the distribution stronger for all of us.

Is Open Atrium 2 free?

Yes. It is completely open source and free to download at drupal.org

Where can I find support for Open Atrium 2?

If you’re looking for a general overview of Open Atrium, you can visit www.openatrium.com.

Phase2 can offer custom enterprise platform development services, specific to the solution set Open Atrium offers. For more information and to contact our sales team, go here.

Any technical issues should be directed to the Open Atrium issue queue, which can be found here. In addition, we have created documentation about Open Atrium 2 that may help to answer any questions you have. That documentation can be found here.

How can Phase2 help me with OA 2?

Phase2 leads the open source Open Atrium project and acts as a steward for a community of more than 100 contributors who help make this software possible.  Our expertise in enterprise-level websites, intranets, social collaboration, and knowledge management solutions allows us to offer the following services around Open Atrium:

  • Complete planning, implementation, design, and training  around your Open Atrium collaboration solution

  • Content migration to upgrade your Open Atrium 1 platform to Open Atrium 2

  • Integration with enterprise applications and data APIs your organization uses

  • Expansion and customization of the core feature set to meet the needs of your organization   

  • Custom design and theming of your Open Atrium 2 instance to create a distinctive, branded experience

For more information about our services and how we can help build your site, email us at openatrium@phase2technology.com

What is Phase2’s commitment/relationship to Open Atrium 2?

Phase2 leads the open source Open Atrium project and acts as a steward for a community of more than 100 contributors who help make this software possible. We continually look for opportunities that could help to push the development of Open Atrium 2 forward.

What is Open Atrium 1.0?

Open Atrium 1.0 is a Drupal 6 distribution and has long been the open source collaboration and was initially built as an “out of the box” intranet platform. Open Atrium powers more than 12,000 collaboration sites, in more than 220 countries worldwide. This includes clientele such as:

  • Intel

  • The World Bank

  • PBS Newshour

  • US Department of Commerce

  • US Department of Homeland Security

  • US Department of Education

  • US Institute of Peace

  • Pan American Health Organization

Phase2 acquired OA 1.0 and has been the builder and maintainer of the distribution, since.

What is Phase2’s role with Open Atrium 1.0 now that Open Atrium 2 is in active development?

Open Atrium 1.0 is still available for download at Drupal.org and any issues can be posted to the Open Atrium 1.0 community site. As development is focused on Open Atrium 2, Phase2 is not actively maintaining Open Atrium 1.0 and recommends any future development to take place on Open Atrium 2.

Should I still use Open Atrium 1.0?

While Open Atrium 1.0 is still available for download and consumption, many of the commonly cited issues with the original version have been solved through our work on Open Atrium 2. That being said, Phase2 recommends looking at Open Atrium 2 as the first choice option for any social collaboration based software. In addition, if your current site runs on Open Atrium 1.0, we would recommend looking at upgrading to Open Atrium 2. 

Q. The way you’ve organized groups for access control in OA 2.x will help fix a lot of the issues we’ve struggled with In OA 1.x. In the past, We’ve used audiences in oa 1.x to simulate the use of groups in OA 2.x. I’m just wondering, in the alpha build that’s out, you have places where it says “group” but it means “space” – is that correct?

A. We’ve tried to fix and continue to work on this issue, which is coming from theOrganic 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.