CiviCRM Starter Kit is now available on Pantheon

kreynen's picture

If you aren't aware of the Pantheon hosting solution for Drupal sites and its great web UI a dev -> test -> live workflow, you should check it out. It's free to try and the CiviCRM Starter Kit is now one of the distributions you can select when starting a new Drupal site. It's a great way to spin up a new Drupal/CiviCRM site.

It should only take you 2-3 minutes to create the Pantheon instance and another 5-6 minutes to do the initial Drupal and CiviCRM installs. Left in SFTP mode, users can add Drupal modules and themes and CiviCRM extensions using the web interface. The kit includes several modules used on most Drupal/CiviCRM sites including Views, WebForm and WYSIWYG. We're also including modules that make running CiviCRM on Pantheon much easier like CiviCRM Cron.

Introducing new users to Drupal and CiviCRM has never been easier!


Nice work Kevin

colemanw's picture

And nice presentation at CiviCon too :)

Starter Kit is such a techie/geeky name ..

lobo's picture

should we call it something more generic and/or something more grandiose like

CiviCRM Enterprise

or something like that


I think Starter Kit is good

andrewperry's picture

I think it is important that this platform not be considered/promoted as THE "Enterprise" way of deploying CiviCRM as there are many "Enterprise" ways.

It may also give people expectations of the "Starter Kit" that are inappropriate.

It strikes me that a Starter Kit is exactly what it provides, so is a good name.

Great work Kevin!

Andrew Perry | Director
Community Builders Australia |

What's in a name?

kreynen's picture

@andrewperry, I'm glad the name makes sense to you. Getting other developers and site builders to use the starter kit is important to it being both useful and sustainable. Included too many modules and it would only be useful to my clients. I'm not trying to own this and would really like to get some help maintaining it.

Using starter kit in the name wasn't an arbitrary decision. I talked briefly about this at CiviCon as well as quickly covering some of the history in getting from the idea that a Drupal download could be something other than a CMS on initial install (2007) -> the first packaged install profiles on (2010) -> supporting large, 3rd party "libraries" like CiviCRM (2012).

I've always seen starter kits as being fundamentally different from a Drupal "product" distribution like OpenAtrium. At DrupalCon 2010, I presented with Jeff Miccolis (lead on the OpenAtrium project for Development Seed at the time), Derek Wright and Chad Phillips (the developers who wrote the install profile packaging for We discussed the potential to use packaging for products, starter kits, and testing distributions...

One of the dangers of building a "product" is at some point the preconfiguration starts working against developers and site builders. Updatability is another issue. Of the most popular D6 "product" distributions... neither OpenAtrium, the Conference Organizing Distribution, or Drupal Commons have made it past the development an alpha for D7. The Commerce Kickstarter from Drupal 7 couldn't even be upgraded between the 1.x and 2.x branches.

The CiviCRM team does an AMAZING job of being so complete "out of the box" without getting in the way of radically different configurations for very different organization needs... and still being updatable. This a major reason why I still recommend CiviCRM paired with a CMS over Drupal native CRMs. Even if one of these Drupal native projects got close to feature parity with CiviCRM in D7, I'd be VERY worried about updatability if I was interested in any of the features in D8.

Whether it's used on Pantheon or another host, the CiviCRM Starter Kit is really only intended to do 2 things:

  1. Make it easier to get started (we've saved you the time of finding and downloading dozens of modules and libraries)
  2. Provide a stable collections of modules with versions known to work well together... including with CiviCRM. (while it's unlikely we'll experience more Date, Views, and Entity upgrade issues in D7, the starter kit approach should help with the move to D8)

The CiviCRM Starter Kit isn't likely to do everything anyone wants without additional modules and theming on the Drupal side and some time reading the documentation and configuring both Drupal and CiviCRM, but I could spend 2 or 3 days configuring a site for an organization without adding anything... and then I'd be able to add what I needed from the web UI.

In the community media space, we actually maintain 3 starter kits... an Easy, Moderate, and Difficult version. Each kit adds additional modules and complexity to the previous level of difficulty. The goal is to prevent new users from being overwhelmed by options while giving them an upgrade path after they master a specific level. CiviCRM is added at the moderate level, but there's nothing stopping an organization from adding just CiviCRM to a site built with the Community Media Starter Kit (Easy).

In the community media distributions, nothing is preconfigured. Instead we include a Community Media Checklist module similar to CiviCRM's checklist and provide some examples for how other stations have configured things as Feature exports.

The starter kits are designed to provide a stable layer build on. This layered approach is working well in community media.

Only local images are allowed.

A few things I'd be happy to add to the CiviCRM Starter Kit:

  1. Example configurations for different use cases using Features CiviCRM once that module is stable.
  2. A better admin theme that Seven that could be using for both Drupal adn CiviCRM. Something like CiviOMG that is being actively maintained.
  3. Additional Drupal modules that improve the CiviCRM/Drupal integration

Of course anyone could use the patches work I've done in the .make file for the CiviCRM Starter Kit to build a distribution for schools, churches, or another group of similar organizations that use CiviCRM the same way we've built the Community Media Starter Kits.

Hopefully anyone who does that will also help maintain the CiviCRM Starter Kit so we can work together on the core CiviCRM packaging and divide that work.