Building a community site with Google Apps

Several years ago I set up a community site for my condo using Drupal. Not too many people used it and eventually it was overrun with spam. The discussion forums were used for personal attacks & name calling. I finally got tired of dealing with the spam and cleaning up the forum, so I shut it down. Recently a few people started noticing it was down and wanted it back.

I didn’t want to keep using Drupal, since it’s unfamiliar for most people and can be difficult to maintain. I looked at Joomla, but it seemed a lot less flexible and even more difficult to maintain. Finally, I decided the best solution was to use Google Apps.

If you’re using Dreamhost, it’s very easy to set up your domain to use Google Apps; You simply click a checkbox in the domain setting.

The major features we wanted for our site are a calendar to post events, a place to post announcements, and documents for residents & potential residents to view & download. Google Apps can do all of those things very nicely. It’s a lot easier for staff & board members to simply upload a document rather than compose a post in Drupal.

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