Collaborative Spaces: Integrating Drupal with Google Drive, Dropbox, and more

Click here to watch Collaborative Spaces: Integrating Drupal with Google Drive, Dropbox, and more

For many people, services like Google Drive and Dropbox are becoming the go to destinations for their documents. Additionally, services like Google+ Hangouts and Google Talk serve as primary channels for realtime communication. In this session, we'll demonstrate how to create a more collaborative user experience by bridging the gap between the content that is managed in Drupal, and the documents, files, and conversations that are exchanged outside of Drupal. In doing so, we'll explore the idea that you can increase user engagement in your Drupal site by enriching it with highly collaborative tools that your users are likely already using.

In fact, there are many types of Drupal sites can can benefit from integration with these collaborative services, including social communities, intranets, and online learning platforms. APIs provided by Google, Dropbox, and other service providers open the door for many types of useful integrations with Drupal, such as:

  • Automatically create nodes from Google documents
  • Display a dynamic list of Dropbox files in a block
  • Enable your users to create and collaborate on a Google Document - from within Drupal
  • Automatically insert Webform submissions into a Google spreadsheet
  • Let your users interact with each other for instant feedback and live chat within Drupal's asynchronous forums or with Jabber — all without leaving your Drupal instance
  • Allow Drupal users to upload files into a shared Dropbox folder
  • Provide your users with a way to easily save Drupal files into their own Google Drive account
  • Automatically Synchronize files from Dropbox shared folders into an Organic Group

Along with the APIs, these types of integrations are made possible with Drupal contrib modules (and maybe a little PHP hacking). But the API implementations have been evolving, and getting things working can be tricky. During the session, we'll take a look at a number of approaches – showing what's possible, what's easy, and what's hard. We'll review several use cases, including integrations with Organic Groups, and a Higher Ed portal example developed by Babson College.

All examples will be explained and demonstrated using contrib modules that are available on today - so you can take advantage of what you learn right away.


Part technical, part tactical, this session aims to provide the audience with a lay of the land – not only focusing on Drupal configuration and development options, but on the relative levels of effort and challenges associated with these types of integrations. It will be ideal for Drupal developers, solutions architects, technical project managers, team leads, and anyone interested in integrating Drupal with Google Drive, Dropbox, Google+ Hangouts, Jabber/GTalk, and other cloud file storage solutions (such as


Both speakers are individual members of the Drupal association and active members of the Drupal community with hands-on experience integrating Drupal with these services. Read full bios below.


James Barnett (barnettech) is an application architect and adjunct Professor at Babson College, where he has developed and architected numerous Drupal solutions. He is the author of several Drupal contrib modules, including Droogle, and Jabber. In the last three years at Babson, James’ team has released “advanced discussion boards,” as well as Faculty and Student Portal sites. James holds a Masters in Economics and Finance from Brandeis University, and as well a BA from Brandeis University. Past work experiences in the technology space include positions at: EMC, Fidelity, and IDG. James’ areas of expertise include: PHP, MySQL, Oracle, SQL, PL/SQL, Unix/Linux, shell scripting, Apache, Java, Perl, XSLT, JSON, XML, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, network operations, information management, load balancers, and front and back-end web work.

Dave Sawyer (cmsdave) is a Drupal Solutions Architect at OHO Interactive – a digital agency and Drupal development firm in Cambridge, MA. Dave specializes in architecting multi-site solutions and scoping large Drupal projects – with specific expertise in solutions for publishers, higher ed institutions, and online communities. Dave has given talks at numerous regional Drupal conferences and meet-ups including Drupaldelphia and DrupalCamp New Jersey. He has 15 years experience in web development and focuses on open source and PHP-based solutions. Dave has been developing with Drupal since version 5. Previously, Dave has worked as a consultant and developer for Adobe Systems, Bloomsbury Publishing, and The Vineyard Gazette. You can follow him on Twitter at @cmsdave.

Schedule info
Experience level: 
Drupal Version: 
Drupal 7.x
Time slot: 
Thursday · 02:15-03:15
E - Phase2 | 4th floor