I have recently signed up to beta test Drupal Gardens. I must admit I am incredibly impressed with the design.
The only problem is that it is too expensive for what I use Drupal for. I use Drupal for a lot of smaller short term projects where I expect many people to be signing up.

I would really like to start custom theming some of my sites on a server that I rent, but I don't have the coding know how.
Does anyone know what module that Drupal Gardens uses for that fancy WYSIWYG style editor?

Is this module an Acquia specific design or has it been designed by the community?


bwv’s picture

Don't know about the DG editor, but there is this module you might want to try:


tdimg’s picture

As far as I know the Theme builder that is available at Drupal Gardens (not to be confused with http://drupal.org/project/themebuilder) is not open (not GPL) and I'm not sure whether it's ever intended to become open.

A while ago, I've come across a blog post where this was addressed in the comments, but I can't find that particular blog post at the moment (it might've been this one: http://buytaert.net/drupal-gardens - see comments there where Dries definitely confirms that the ThemeBuilder is not GPL and won't be released to the public prior to the official launch of Drupal Gardens, and only a maybe after that).

Forgot, you might want to check out the Fusion theme and Skinr module:

both of which with the aim of making themeing a bit easier.

wheatbix’s picture

I have always respected Dries, it is a little strange that he would involve himself in development of one of the biggest steps forward on Drupal since 4.x and not involve the community.

I really hope that this module is released soon. Closed source development is the reason I stopped using MS Windows and installed Ubuntu. Dries, please don't make it the reason I don't use Drupal. You are leading by example as the figurehead of this community. Don't drag your beloved open project down the road of proprietary solutions. It will be a fast slide to Druumla.

Dries’s picture

Well, I'd say Acquia is very involved with the community. If you'd compile a list of the companies that contributed the most to Drupal 7, Acquia would almost certainly be in the top 3, and that is something I'm proud of. All the work we did on Drupal Gardens has been contributed back as part of Drupal 7, with the exception of the Theme Builder, which we haven't contributed back yet.

We might release the Theme Builder as Open Source. The question is really: when? Drupal Gardens is in private beta, and Drupal 7 itself isn't even released. Releasing the Theme Builder as Open Source would require some additional engineering (i.e. both real money and an opportunity cost) because it is tailored to run on our underlying hosting infrastructure. Plus, the Theme Builder is still in flux -- we're still actively working on it and making changes on a daily basis. We're not ready to provide support for it as would be expected from a good module maintainer on drupal.org. Once Drupal 7 and Drupal Gardens are released, and once Drupal Gardens is humming along, we'll revisit the question of when to release the Theme Builder under the GPL. To me, that sounds entirely reasonable but feel free to disagree.

As a company, we contributed back to the Drupal community by funding much of the usability work carried out by Mark Boulton (including paying for Mark Boulton), by helping with developing the Field API for core, by providing manpower and funding for some of the drupal.org redesign work, by helping with the drupal.org test infrastructure, by contributing to Drupal's Apache Solr integration, by contributing to the development of the Media module, by helping with the upgrade module in Drupal 7, by sponsoring local and global Drupal events, by giving away free hosting, and much much more. Almost all of our Drupal Gardens engineers contribute back to the community on a daily basis.

In other words, time to educate yourself before making sweeping statements, whea. Saying that Acquia is not involved with the community reflects poorly on you because it is far from the truth. Looking at your contributions, I can tell you that every single Drupal Gardens engineers has contributed more in 2010 alone than you have in your Drupal lifetime ...

wheatbix’s picture

Dries (I am assuming?),
I am a chemical engineering manager without a lot of time, I love Drupal as a system having moved over from Joomla some time ago. As such the only way that I am able to 'Contribute' to Drupal is by means of financially helping developers with projects. (Which is why my name has never appeared on any code). I only run a not for profit community website for a remote town in the Northern Territory, Australia.

You mentioned money. As such I would like to offer $500 towards the guaranteed release of the theme builder in the next 3 months. I am sure that many others will be willing to put up a bit of coin for what I have termed 'The biggest step forward for Drupal'. Let me know if you think that a community collection would help get this module released.

Regarding your attitude. I was not aware you had made this post until my email box filled with messages of sympathy and apology from the community. I did not say Acquia was not involved with the community. I stated that you have not involved the community with the theme builder, and that I was surprised that you didn't (implying you normally do).

I wonder why people say that other CMS communities are more supportive than Drupal?

lloydpearsoniv’s picture

While i am very interested in the themebuilder, I am even more interested in the the system that Drupal Gardens uses for the deployment of drupal sites, especially since i heard that it does not use Development Seed's Aegir. I am fairly new to aegir & have been trying to learn all of the ends & outs & at the same time be productive ...and these new innovations are making things much easier for me and i am really enjoying them.

yautja_cetanu’s picture

Thank you Dries for responding to this! Made me feel better.

osopolar’s picture

Any news on this? I am currently looking how to improve site building and speed it up. I like the theme builder and I'd really love to use the theme builder for a faster site development. Have the Acquia guys already decided whether to publish the theme builder or not? And if so, will this happen in the next months?

lightsurge’s picture

I've only tried theme builder a couple of times but it was definitely impressive... surely can't blame people for being passionate about wanting to be involved in it, even if that was/is impractical... so that last paragraph made me think Ouch.

Linea’s picture

We want Drupal Gardens to be affordable enough so that it makes sense for people building both large and small sites. I'm interested to hear why you think the pricing is too expensive for what you use Drupal for. thanks

wheatbix’s picture

'The Superest Drupal' only allows 1000 users on the site. I have a community site which is constantly growing. Not for profit and growing.
I have a hosted VPS which costs me around $30 per month. Using this I can run my community site as well as play around with Drupal on many other sandbox sites, attempting to build features for my community site. Why should I pay $40 per month when it only gives me one site which is not for profit? And that only gives me 5GB of space.

Jeff Burnz’s picture

You can export your site and run it on any sever you want - rtfm...

No platform lock-in
Test, prototype, start small & grow. When you're ready, simply export your site - theme, users & content - and go full Drupal.

Joel MMCC’s picture

On paper, that is indeed true. You can Export your site, themes (including Theme Builder-customized themes), nearly all modules, database — everything except the Theme Builder and some other Drupal Gardens-specific stuff, and host it elsewhere.

The reality, however, is different. Because some Drupal Gardens modules do get exported with your site, and some key functionality depends on those, yet those modules are neither Core nor open contributed, they do not participate in the usual module update mechanisms. Many of those modules were designed to work with the then-existing versions of Drupal Core and key contrib modules (e.g. CTools, Views, etc.).

As time passes and you update Drupal Core and contrib modules (which you really must do for security updates at least), the versions of those will surpass the ones that the Gardens modules were designed to work with. Meanwhile, the Drupal Gardens people are updating their modules on Gardens, but you don’t get access to the updated versions of those! You cannot download those directly from Gardens, there is no git nor other update channel that I know of that you can set Drush pm-update to retrieve them from, etc.

Sometimes, Drupal Gardens comes out with new Gardens-specific modules, and functionality from the ones you have may be migrated to those, so that if you do manage to get newer versions of the ones you have (there is a way, but it’s a real pain, using up lots of time and bandwidth and you may have to do it multiple times in a month, per site!), they may cease working because you don’t have those new modules on which the ones you have now depend!

Upshot: as time goes on and the discrepancy between the Core & contrib modules vs. the Gardens modules (and Themes, including your ThemeBuilder-customized theme!) increases, your exported self-hosted site will become buggier and buggier, more and more unstable, and there’s nothing you can do about it without jumping through some serious hoops.

These hoops basically involve not letting your Drupal Gardens version of the site expire and become archived (you have to log in as admin from time to time to keep it live), and re-exporting it every time Gardens announces that any updates whatsoever have been installed. You then have to migrate the Gardens modules and themes from there to your previously exported site, while keeping your other stuff.

That’s right: you have to export the whole site and its database just to get the updated Gardens modules and themes, every time there’s a DG update! In the case of the themes, you may have to merge your own customized CSS and/or .tpl.php files carefully into new and updated CSS (and/or .tpl.php) from the updated theme itself!

See this thread on the DrupalGardens forum for more info (I posted there under the name “mmccadmin”):

Zach Harkey’s picture

Take a look at the new sweaver module.

: z

herojig’s picture

I also was blown away by the design tool used on drupal gardens, it's fantastic and I sure would love to have it local, but sweaver is the next best thing I've found...

Phoenix.Consultants.Nepal (www.phoenixstudiosnepal.com)

kaakuu’s picture


quantum_leap’s picture

I am new to the community and from the few days I have been exploring the various posts, I understand that its an open community with very intelligent people. I also like the open source mentality of people here. I currently use Joomla but want to go the Drupal way. I am mainly a designer myself, not a developer. I recently tried Drupal Gardens, read a few tutorials, it was an amazing experience, lots of potential! Theme Builder was the big hit for me. I wish this was in drupal core. In my opinion, It should end up there. Swiver is really great too, theme builder seemed to kick ass, though!

frederickjh’s picture

Try the Livethemer module. It looks very similar. See the demo video.

omar’s picture

Way back in the day, I asked if/when the DrupalGardens' style editor would be open sourced and was told that it would be when it was "no longer a distinguishing factor". Given the DrupalGardens's support is being discontinued, now would seem to be a good time for it.

In the meantime, I've used Sweaver a few times. Unfortunately, neither of these projects has a D8 roadmap AFAIK.