OpenACS 5.8.0

OpenACS: What it is and why to use it OpenACS, the Open Architecture Community System, is a web application platform designed for high traffic community websites.   Overview of Advantages OpenACS is a web application toolkit in a very crowded field of systems that purport to offer similar features. However, OpenACS offers a number of advantages over competing platforms. Community in a Box The OpenACS is a community system that is ready out-of-the-box for collaborative web sites. It provides functionality for discussions, content management, personalization and other mechanisms for users to communicate. In addition, the utilities available to extend this core functionality are easy to learn and to use. Proven Architecture The components of the OpenACS have proven themselves in the most demanding of applications. AOLserver is the backbone for AOL`s most heavily trafficked sites. Both databases, Oracle and PostgreSQL, have likewise responded with excellent performance in demanding environments. And the OpenACS is in deployment at sites that have upwards of 40K users and is doing swimmingly. Responsive Community The OpenACS community is full of very professional and committed open-source developers. According to, OpenACS is one of the most active open source communities in the world. The forums on are well trafficked with discussions concerning OpenACS enhancements, solutions to bugs, and assistance to newbies, among other things. Help is offered and questions encouraged by gurus, wizards and the odd mortal programmer Commercial Support There are over a dozen companies dedicated to providing clients with OpenACS development and hosting. In addition to these companies, there are many independent consultants that are available for hire. This collection of commercial providers work together to maintain the OpenACS in addition to competing for clients. In fact, often times the vendors work together for the same client. Most importantly, no client is ever left without support, even if his or her original provider goes out of business. Excellent Documentation Unusual among open source projects, the OpenACS is very well documented. Community members are encouraged to document and distribute their new packages as well as address any lack of information in existing documentation. Commitment of Heavy Hitters Perhaps the most compelling reference for the OpenACS is the commitment of some very large and prestigious companies, institutions and non-governmental organizations. These include the MIT Sloan School of Management which has initiated and led the development of .LRN, an open-source courseware system build on OpenACS. Recently, the University of Heidelberg, the most prestigious German university, rolled .LRN out for their 40K users. In addition, the OpenACS was used to build the CMS for, a site that handles millions of hits per day. For developers Beyond the advantages listed above, there are a number of enterprise-quality features for developers:

  • Automated testing

  • Flexible and easy caching, for improving the performance of your websites.

  • Extremely high performance and scalable database backed websites. The technology behind OpenACS powers some of the world`s busiest web sites, such as,,, and

  • A mature technology base. OpenACS uses pooled DB connections (which reduces database connection startup and teardown time), much like the technique JDBC uses, but predating it by many years. OpenACS runs on a multi-threaded server, much like Apache 2, but predating it by many years.

  • High reliability. OpenACS runs on the Oracle and PostgreSQL relational databases. These databases both pass the ACID test, which is important in insuring the integrity of your data. Both database systems support transactions, referential integrity, and allow operations to be executed via a programming language within the database itself. Oracle and PostgreSQL support native database APIs (JDBC, Perl DBI)

  • Component package system for easy installation and upgrading of packages

  • Upgrade paths for code and database schemas

  • Full internationalization, including an excellent workflow for translating content into new languages.

  • Fully functional content repository and content management system.

  • A lightweight, simple, extremely fast scripting language that features a clean, easy-to-understand API (Application Programming Interface) for generating websites from the database.

  • Millions of dollars of research and development have been invested in improving the OpenACS API, making OpenACS one of the most mature platforms in the industry, involving years of thought and trial and error going into the design.

  • An elegant templating system that separates code from presentation of content.

  • An object system that resides on top of the database, permitting site developers to create complex applications using an object API. Examples include an object level permissions system, audit trails, and ability to relate one object to another.

  • A vibrant and active community willing to help out people who stumble across any problems. There are multiple dedicated major players in the community that are investing over 3 million dollars per year in the development of OpenACS.

  • OpenACS has extensive documentation, both on, and included with the toolkit.

  • OpenACS is fully open source, with millions of lines of open-sourced applications available to use as examples. There are also pre-written packages for you to use or adapt.

It Offers A Rich Variety Of Already Built, High Quality Applications:

  • Workflow

  • CMS

  • Bug/Issue tracker,

  • E-commerce

  • Blogger

  • Chat

  • Forums

  • Project-manager

  • Calendar

  • Webmail

  • many many many more

When developers discuss OpenACS, they often overlook it because of programming language bias. We think that the most important thing about choosing a web platform is not the language you use, but the maturity and power of the API. In reality, it only takes an hour or two to learn to use Tcl, the language used to program OpenACS. It is a very simple and straightforward programming language. We encourage you to compare OpenACS`s API with other platforms, instead of just comparing the programming language. Most of your time is spent using the API rather than the programming language, and you`ll find that the OpenACS API is flexible and elegant, saving you significant amounts of time compared to other platforms. You don`t often see job postings looking exclusively for language skills, such as "Hiring developer for developer with BASIC skills?". Usually it`s the platform which is the most interest, which is why you see job postings looking specifically for "Microsoft Visual BASIC Skills"

User's rating:

  • Currently 1.80/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Enlarge the screenshot of OpenACS
[ Enlarge Image ]
Download 11MB OpenACS

Download Direct

(11MB, Extension: TGZ@REVISION_ID=3646409)

Download alternate to OpenACS solution

Look at the free or trial alternatives and similar apps to OpenACS software by the tags. It's possible also to find substitutes for the most popular titles in the Website Building category.

| Openacs |

History updates (Complete changelogs since the listing on this site)

5.7.0 [09-13-11]

Average review rating :

Useful independent reviews and opinions of the users

Review OpenACSWrite a review « Be the first to post a review for OpenACS download!

Predicted future versions and notices:

The constantly monitors the update of all programs, including information from the OpenACS 5.8.1 changelog file, however sometimes it can happen that data are not complete or are outdated.We assume that author continue's to develop 5.9.0 version with further advanced features, and soon you will be informed. Equally important 6.0.0 upgrades of the program we will continue to monitor. Full OpenACS description has been compared with the overall software database and our algorithm has found the following applications (are showed below).