Non-profit considering building OpenPublic on Pantheon

praeducer's picture

I am about to build a couple sites for a Georgia non-profit, The goal of this Drupal project consists of two parts: one is to implement the underlying system for our social network and student project management platform (thinking of using OpenAtrium here); the second is to build the system for how the Student Studio team will communicate to and collaborate with the public including schools, investors, parents etc (this is where I would use OpenPublic).

I am volunteering for them and I am currently the only pure technologist on the team. I am a solid software engineer but I can only dedicated a couple hours a week to the project.

Does it makes sense in this context to build these sites with Drupal and host them on Pantheon? They will not have but a few grand to dedicate to development and infrastructure a year. I want to make sure they have the support they need in case I am not around and also to make sure I am sending them in a good direction.

Thanks for the advice!

Paul Prae


Maybe consider a managed hosting platform.

micheas's picture

I would take a long look at if you can abuse drupal gardens to do what you want.

The downside of drupal gardens is that you are limited to the gui, cannot add your own modules, and your theming is going to be somewhat hackish as you are limited to copy and pasting css into the gui.

The upside is that you have acquia dealing with all the technology issues, upgrading drupal, upgrading all the contrib modules that are being used.

The pantheon route deals with the stack under drupal but you are left on your own to upgrade drupal and the extensions that you install.

The drupal gardens route means that if the budget increases and they want to migrate to pantheon and install civicrm or other modules they can, but in the mean time they don't have to deal with how do I upgrade drupal, what do you mean I have to clear the cache, run update.php, etc, etc.

You might not be able to do what needs done on drupalgardens, but you might come close enough, and the $X a month for all the site maintenance is a really good deal, if it works.

I've seen a lot of custom rails apps and other custom websites abandoned for just because the organization didn't have the technical competence to maintain a website.

If you go down the pantheon route, make sure that there is a realistic budget for security upgrades.