Is OpenSocial right for your Platform?

  • Articles
  • February 25 2019
  • 7 min read
Image of a mobile phone where a hand is touching the screen and many social bubble are emerging out of it


As a knowledge and ideation community, we have a vast scope of integrating newer technologies and solutions that connects and communicates in the best of manner.

We are always on the lookout for better channels that can strengthen the core teams and create out-of-the-box resolutions. One such option at hand is OpenSocial. 

A  Drupal distribution used for building social communities and intranet, OpenSocial powers the social capabilities of the organization and initiates modern and meaningful connections.  

Open Social is made by the same core team that created the award-winning, Drupal-based community: 'Greenpeace Greenwire'.

Do you want to create a similar community for your organization and move from a legacy community platform to OpenSocial? Let’s find out how we can achieve that! 

Image of an iPad where a hand touches the screen and different dialogue clouds are coming out of it with different pictures

Understand OpenSocial 

An online community with social communities, intranets, portals and other social projects, OpenSocial offers a collection of features and functionalities that are useful in constructing a social framework. 

In the Drupal community, Open Social is placed as an heir of Drupal Commons (Drupal Commons is a Drupal 7 distribution that is an out of the box community collaboration website). 

Image of a white flower in an orange and purple background where open social is written at the bottom of it

OpenSocial and its out-of-the-box Features 

Here are a few features that make OpenSocial a huge success:

  • Content types and structure

The user is offered with two content types: events and topics. The architecture lets OpenSocial be lightweight software that can easily be installed and can be used seamlessly by users. Blogs, News, etc. are all identical content type as a topic but have separate taxonomy.

  • Media Management 

With the help of Media management, the user can efficiently arrange, resize and add images wherever they want to on a particular website. File System, Images Styles and all other media configurations that are needed to add, resize and adjust images are inbuilt.

  • Responsive and Multi-Lingual Support 

Open Social follows with Drupal 8 “mobile-first” theory and it is responsive “by default”. It also consists of the “Translation Module” that is used for Multilingual support.

  • SEO Optimisation

The SEO strategy is based on a consultative approach. Adverbs, SEO, Social media and conversion optimization is used to generate the traffic. The out-of-the-box feature in OpenSocial helps the user to optimize their website in a way that more people visit it. 

OpenSocial Extensions

Above the features that make it stand out, the following are few extensions from that add value to the software all the more:

The Data Policy module helps site owners or administrators with informing their users about which (personal) data is collected. Next to providing functionality for informing users it also has the ability to add a data policy. It can be configured that users are prompted to accept the latest active data policy.

The extension allows Community Managers to create courses for the members. A step-by-step program that guides users, it includes video, text and an opportunity for users to keep track of their progress.

This module provides a solution for Open Social by allowing the showcasing of entities on a map and filtering entities on proximity.

As an extension, it provides a JSON API that can be used with the Open Social distribution. It uses a simple OAuth module for authentication.

Implementation of KPIs for the Open Social distribution, leveraging the kpi_analytics module is a great extension for Open Social.

The Social Progressive Web App module brings exciting new features to your Open Social community like Push notifications & options to pin your community to your home screen using a manifest.json.

These extensions were last updated on 4 February 2019.

OpenSocial Foundation and W3C Social Web Activity

“Social standards are part of the application foundations for the Open Web Platform” 
-Jeff Jaffe 

In other words, they will be used everywhere, in diverse applications that operate on phones, cars, televisions, and e-readers. In terms of OpenSocial, the W3C standard is defined as:

The social web working group which determines the technical standards and API facilitates access to social functionalities as part of an open web platform.
The social interest group coordinates messaging around social at the W3C strategy that enables the social business. 

Open source project at Apache Foundation

The Apache Software Foundation hosts two active and ongoing projects in addition to the many commercial enterprise platforms that practice on OpenSocial, it serves as reference implementations for OpenSocial technology:

Apache Shindig: It is the reference implementation of OpenSocial API specifications, versions 1.0.x and 2.0.x. It is the standard set of Social Network APIs that constitutes profiles, relationships, activities, etc

Apache Rave: It is a lightweight and open-standards-based extensible platform for managing, combining and hosting OpenSocial and W3C Widget related features, technologies, and services. 

How is OpenSocial Contributing to Society?

Social platforms are interactive and exercise notifications that are provided with the alerts. Making numerous social software to control social experience takes a lot of time and effort. Building a distribution is the answer to all of it. It allows the developers to build the best things, re-use it, expand and even improve on that. 

Site Owner and Business 

If you are using Opensource Saas offerings, you have the ability to use site codes and data anytime. Social media changed modern society and communications, especially in our private lives. The decentralized nature of social software is a huge opportunity for organizations to reinvent the way they communicate and collaborate

End Users 

End users obsess over user-centered design. Without engaged end users, no projects wouldn’t go anywhere. Thus providing the users with tools that are appealing and easy to use is a must for great user experience.

Why choose OpenSocial over any other software?

Freedom for the clients. If they need to download their SaaS platform and run or extend it as they want, then they can easily do it. 

Getting to this point from scratch takes longer and the core modules give you the functionality you need from the ground up.

This clearly notes that it is better software. With the Drupal community putting extra eyes on the code, making suggestions for design and development improvements, hopefully adding new features, word-of-mouth marketing, and possibly some clients.

OpenSocial giving tough competition to other community software in the market

The pace of digitization is steadily increasing, leaving a lot of old processes behind in the dust. The same applies to traditional methods of innovation. The internet has not just become a hub to share knowledge, but also to create knowledge together through crowd innovation.

Some of the other community software in the market like lithium is being beaten hard by OpenSocial.


Let’s find out 

  Lithium OpenSocial
Who uses it? Businesses of all sizes looking to attract new visitors A better way of connecting with your members, volunteers, employees, and customers
Free Trial Not Provided  Provided 
Free Version Not Provided  Provided 
Starting Price $235.00/month It is free
Entry Level set up Not Provided  Provided 

What does Drupal Community Gain From OpenSocial?

Without Drupal distributions, we won't be able to successfully compete with commercial vendors. Drupal distributions have great potential.
-Dries Buytaert

With the help of Open Social distribution, the Drupal community has been provided with a platform for their social projects. A more sustainable and adopted way of development. OpenSocial is better with Drupal because:

Users can use Open Social for their own projects and clients.
They can give back to the open-source community.
If the user is a Drupal freelancer or professional then they can improve the standing.

Who’s on OpenSocial?

As per, these are the notable businesses on Open Social as listed on the project’s page:

As the initial inception of Open Social, Greenpeace’s Greenwire project was launched in 2011. It was born out of the desire to make the world a better place by bringing people together and enabling them to better collaborate. 

Drupal’s open source was thus the perfect fit for an active volunteer community. 

Case Study on Youth4Peace 

The UN Security Council acknowledges the positive role played by all young women and men in preserving international security. The task force for Youth, Peace, and Security proposed an updated and expanded Youth4Peace platform. This was done in order to give inspired parties and partners a path to enable consistent and timely information.

The UNDP was already familiar with the features and functionalities of Drupal as the previous site was built on the same. The organization supports open-source mainly because of the reusability feature of modules. 

Moreover, the Drupal 8 community distribution, Open Social equals several goals of the project. Goals like: innovation and the use of technology. The distribution already included most of the needed features for the project, including blogs, events, profiles, information streams, a discussion engine, and moderation tools for community managers.

Therefore, The Youth4Peace portal was developed. It was constructed using an Agile method and mainly focused on:

  • A curated Knowledge Resource Library
  • Moderated e-Discussions & e-Consultations
  • Experts’ Profiles
  • News & Events and their overviews with filters

By being able to produce content for non-community members, the community was able to reach the global platform even at a bigger pace.

Image of 7 colorful hands in circle position where the text is written “progress study on youth, peace, and security

In The End 

Now we know that OpenSocial has the right blend of features that are needed to build a social community. The distribution proves to be an appropriate platform to start building a community or intranet with immense features.

OpenSense Labs understands how important it is for every organization to stay connected with the world. Therefore, we are here to leverage all those facilities and services. Ping us at [email protected] now.

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