The June Portland Drupal meetup was all about framework demos!
Sean Larkin of ThinkShout started the meetup with a presentation on RedHen CRM. Up until recently, CiviCRM has been the defacto CRM of choice for Drupal sites, due in part to the lack of drupal modules that provided core CRM functionality and the fact that CiviCRM provides a lot of functionality out-of-the-box. Unfortunately, CiviCRM is often too prescriptive for many organizations and the more an organization needs to deviate from the prescribed CiviCRM way of accomplishing a task, the more CiviCRM turns from a solution into a detriment.
There have been a few native Drupal CRM projects released since Drupal 7 was released. The Party module is part of a larger Drupal CRM movement that is working to fill in the missing CRM functionality gaps between existing Drupal modules. CRM Core strives to be a more out-of-the-box Drupal CRM solution. The distinguishing aspect of RedHen CRM is that it's a framework. Similar to how Drupal Commerce has been abstracted to accommodate infinite variations of online stores, RedHen was designed to flexibly adapt to how organizations manage their constituents.
To keep everything flexible, RedHen leverages the Entity API, which allows users to create custom contact types. RedHen also leverages the Relation module to associate contacts in a flexible way. This allows RedHen to provide advanced functionality, like defining primary contacts for organizational contacts and propagating organizational roles to individual contacts.
RedHen is currently released under the "development" status, but Sean clarified that it is stable and usable for core CRM functionality.
Following the RedHen presentation, Philippe Blanc presented on BIG, an application platform that he's developing. BIG is a collection of modules (yet to be released on drupal.org), that help create partitioned user application containers. BIG accomplishes this in a streamlined way by simplifying the login and registration system. With BIG, Drupal user ids are simply the user's email address. This allows the login and registration pages to be combined into one page. When a user enters their email address, the BIG system performs and ajax lookup. If the user exists, they receive a password field. If the user does not exist, the system can either automatically create an account or prompt the user to register.
Once a user has an account, BIG allows users to set a custom domain or subdomain that will point to their application container. While this has been possible with Drupal's multisite system, Philippe has created a solution that allows this to work on a single site install with a set of shared files and single database. The shared files allow for easier administration, as updating a module applies to all sites in the system.
BIG has a number of interesting goals that it hopes to address and we look forward to watching it progress and grow.
Following the demos, general announcements were made. Every third Thursday of the month, the Portland Front End user group meets at the Funny Monkey offices. There will also be a globally coordinated drupal.org sprint on July 14 and 15th, where Portland Drupalers can help move drupal.org to Drupal 7 in conjunction with sprints in the UK, Sweden, Peru and elsewhere around the globe. We will also have a Drupal presence at OSCon 2012 and are looking for people to help promote Drupal at the booth. More information about upcoming events and opportunities can be found at the Portland Drupal group page.