I have been reading about online communities since the days of the WELL (one of the first electronic communities to ever exist.) Of course, humans have always formed communities as part of their biological imperative – communities for living, for art, for trades, for commerce, for sex, for war, and for peace. And the internet has certainly made finding and connecting people in these communities easier. Well, forming your own online community has just taken an evolutionary leap forward.

I am thrilled to see the folks over at Bryght finally launch their new website. I know Boris Mann (Keeper of the Drupal Kool-aid) and Roland Tanglao (Chief Blogging Officer) and they are both very, very smart and very, very geekish. Now of course, they can also say that they are very, very bryght.

Bryght hosts what is essentially a community-website-toolkit that is hosted on their servers and which gives the user all of the tools they need to build an online community: blogs, articles, photos, polls, message boards, menu/nav systems, etc. It uses and continues to integrate all of the gee-whiz standards like RSS, XML, and of course the new ones such as ABCD, 1234, and the incredibly complicated but highly necessary LMNOPQRSTUV.

The entire site can be built, maintained, and updated by people with no HTML or web-coding skills. This is what HAS to happen going forward. It’s absurd that you still need to either code by hand or use Dreamweaver just to build a basic website. (No Dorothy, you CAN’T use Microsoft Word!! Yes it looks crappy and the code is dirty. Put it down and back away from the mouse!)

So in short, it is a set of tools and templates that allow you to create a website and community, it allows end-users to modify and update their content without programming skills, and it is hosted on their servers so that you always have the most recent version of Drupal running underneath your site. Simple, accessible, brilliant.

I can think of about, oh, 2 billion people who could use this service. The other 4 billion are still not using computers, but once they begin, they’ll want to use it too.  Municipal communities, neighbourhood associations, sports groups, educational communities, political groups….the possibilities are endless.

And these guys are taking the base platform (Drupal) and extending it with new functionality all the time by working with some of the key Drupal coding team. On that note, Boris once said to me that Bryght was to Drupal as Red Hat is to Linux. In other words, one commercial developer and extender of the Drupal open-source platform. I would say that is only partially accurate because it is not just the distribution that they offer but also the hosting and management.

I have extremely high hopes for this operation and think that we will be hearing a LOT about this company in the next year or two.

Congratulations you guys! I look forward to seeing your faces on the cover of Business in Vancouver soon! This has the potential to scale very quickly and I have no doubt about your ability to do it.

DISCLOSURE: Boris and Roland fed me blogging kool-aid in June and I have been drunk with it ever since. (Have you seen how many damned posts I have written??) Now I fear that they have slipped Drupal kool-aid crystals into my regular blogging kool-aid. Feeling….sleepy….must….build….a…..community….website….