Talking Drupal #432 - Portals & Community Websites

January 08, 2024
Today we are talking about Portals, Community Websites, and Drupal with guest Ron Northcutt. We’ll also cover Private Message as our module of the week.


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  • Why are you passionate about community sites
  • Different types of portals you’ve worked on
  • Common features
  • Why is Drupal a great fit
  • Why would you choose Drupal over a Saas or PaaS
  • What is unique about each community
  • How important is UX
  • What common content models do you see
  • Most important tip


  • Brief description:
    • Have you ever wanted to include a full-fledged, ajaxified system for private messages between users on your Drupal site? There’s a module for that
  • Brief history
    • How old: created in Apr 2017 by Jaypan, a fellow Canadian, but the most recent release is by Lucas Hedding, who hails from Nicaragua, and is a prolific contrib maintainer in his own right
    • Versions available: 8.x-2.0-beta18 and 3.0.0 versions available, the latter of which works with D9 and 10
  • Maintainership
    • Actively maintained, latest release in Oct 2023
    • Number of open issues: 130, 4 of which are bugs on the 3.0.x branch
    • Test coverage
  • Documentation: does have a handbook, though the pages seem to date back to 2017, so hopefully the installation and setup hasn’t changed too much since then
  • Usage stats:
    • Almost 2,000 sites
    • Maintainer(s):
  • Module features and usage
    • With the Private Message module installed, users on your site can have permissions-based access to send private messages to each other
    • Messages and threads are fieldable entities, and in general the module is made to be highly configurable, so you can tailor it to meet your site’s specific needs
    • That includes the frequency for asynchronous operations like loading new messages, which can be done without a full page refresh. There’s also a companion module to use Node.js for the asynchronous operations, to reduce load on both the browser and the server
    • That also allows for browser push notifications, or you can use the integration with the Message module to send notifications via email, SMS, and more, including aggregating the notifications into digests
    • Companies often have a dedicated messaging solution like Slack or Teams that they use internally, but this can be a good solution for an extranet or vendor portal, where the users may represent a variety of organizations
    • It’s also worth mentioning that both Private Message and Message are included in the Open Social distribution, so that could be a way to try out a preconfigured setup