Following hot on the heels of its recent acquisitions, Acquia had more big announcements to make at Drupalcon London. The main news was the company’s launch of a Drupal App Store for Acquia Customers, which they are calling the ‘Apps Market’.
This will allow Acquia customers to browse and buy apps that are offered by selected providers — and have them easily installed on their site. It will give module and theme developers a way to package and sell their work.
The store will launch towards the end of this year, but is now in a beta phase, with 8 apps initially. These are being provided by 3rd party providers that Acquia has chosen to partner with.
Four of these are existing partnerships:
- Mollom: Spam blocking
- New Relic: Performance optimisation
- Mobify: Site adaptation for mobile devices
- Visual Website Optimizer: An A/B testing tool
But Acquia also announced three new selected partnerships to be delivered via the App Store:
- Lullabot: to provide Drupalize.me subscriptions
- Mu Dynamics: to provide their Blitz load and performance testing service.
- Volacci: to provide their SEO Grader service.
Plus the company announced one app that has been developed internally - ‘Insight’. This provides site owners with a dashboard of key metrics about their site. It’s currently released as a beta version.
Acquia has the largest installed base of Drupal sites, mainly small sites hosted on Drupal Gardens which would be a ripe market for an App Store — so Drupal services companies will be keen to tap into this market. The selection process that will be employed, and any charges, have not been announced yet.
Phase2 has been driving the development of App Stores for Drupal, and included one in the Open Public distribution. The company’s product manager, Karen Borchert, was part of a session on ‘Products and App Stores’ at Drupalcon London with Acquia’s Robert Douglass. She also announced a community initiative to develop an Open App Standard for Drupal. You can find the discussion group for the Open App Standard on g.d.o.
Feelings about App Stores in general are strongly polarised in the community. Some believe they will provide revenue streams that will support developers and themers and allow them to create even better work — pointing to the successful ecosystem around Wordpress and even the iPhone — while others believe they will damage the open, collaborative approach to development on Drupal that exists now. The debate will continue, but what’s very clear is that Drupal’s largest companies are lining up behind the idea, and App Stores will be a big part of the Drupal landscape by 2012.