Panopoly Magic

By Andrew Ward,
Fire sun

Pantheon's Matt Cheney wow'd the crowd with his presentation of Panopoly at Stanford Drupalcamp this past weekend.  Panopoly is a full-featured, Panels and Chaos Tools-powered Drupal distribution, including 35-40 modules and custom configuration.  So after the install process you go from literally nothing to a full-featured Drupal website.  How convenient!

Panopoly is good to go from the get go.  It includes an admin system, image handling, an enhanced panels interface, Apace solr search, responsive layouts and images, user management, media-module integration, generic widgets, and a polished WYSIWYG that utilizes TINYMCE.

The Panopoly distribution is both a great starting point for building new Drupal sites and also a tool to develop more complicated Drupal-based products.

Mr. Cheney pointed out that one problem with Drupal is that admins and site builders have to know how a page was set up in order to change its layout, but with Panopoly's "Change this layout" option the admin and site builder have straight-forward control over the page's display.  The layouts, by the way, are all cross-browser tested, responsive, and even flippable if so desired.  Also enabled is Panelizer, which enables you to change the layout of an individual node.  

If you were to add widgets to your page, the "Customize this page" display resembles your site for a better previewing experience.  You are also able to create a pane and provide general Drupal fields on top of it.  You can add a list of quick links, a slider, an image (actually a hard thing to do in regular Drupal), tables and a lot of other reusable widgets to any page you want.  It really feels like Matt turned the whole site building process into a giant, customized WYSIWYG!

Other improvements for node-creation includes a cleaned up menu option with a featured image for the piece of content.  These options, including the publishing options and author information, are placed on the sidebar for your convenience instead of being inconveniently located at the bottom of the page.  Outdated options like "sticky this post" and "post to home page" have been removed, while a permalink field powered by pathauto is now intuitively below an enlarged title field.

We here at Kalamuna are really big fans of Panopoly, and even used it to build this website.  A lot of thought was given by populist and company to UX and workflow, and so Panopoly really is like a dynamic, user-friendly product for the site builder and admin.  A free product for the masses.

You can get it on Pantheon, or download it from, or repo sync.


Andrew Ward


Andrew's introduction to Drupal came through his activist work in the Beltway, and he's been delivering amazing websites to clients ever since. Fueled by raw milk and unprocessed foods, Andrew is driven to liberate you from rotten correspondence. He applies his Belichick-like attention to detail to each project to ensure success and happiness.