It has been months since I received my invitation to Drupal Gardens' beta. This service provided by Acquia, offers a Drupal 7 hosting.
Drupal as a service
Foremost, this service is a complete hosting plaform, with the ability to manage multiple sites, backuo, restore and export any of your sites. Each site will be given an address like mysite.drupalgardens.com, as Wordpress already does to offer free blogging service.
This way we can call it "Drupal as a service".
Acqui focused its development of its preinstalled distribution to be the most intuitive. Users can change their site's design in seconds, they can load and edit theme with live demonstration then save or cancel modifications. Almost all modifications will showed directly in the browser as this is handeld by AJaX.
A litte administration area manage this feature:
7 default themes are given, and foreach the ability to change color palette (links, titles, lists, ...), logo and favicon, structure (number and width of columns), font, borders and margins, background. And if it is not enough customizable , you can even put you own CSS code!
When all fit your needs, save and/or apply your new personal theme.
This one is managed by a menu on top looking like the admin module. Preferences are displayed and modified by AJaX popups giving and fluidity and ergonomy to the admin part, thanks to Drupal 7.
Acquia provides a solution viable to the manual installation of Drupal, defivitely useful for little blogs or quick sites (for an event for example). At the end of the beta we should see options to stay free, with ads and some limitations, non-free options will be likely to appear offering more disk space and ressources.
Click here to sign up.