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A Look at PHP's Continuing Evolution

Guest post by Larry Garfield – Larry Garfield is a Senior Architect at Palantir.net, a web consultancy based in Chicago. When not developing sites for clients, he can also be found leading the Drupal 8 Web Services Initiative, evangelizing good coding practices, working to bring the PHP world closer together through the PHP Framework Interoperability Group, or providing training either for clients or the Drupal community. Occasionally he remembers to sleep. PHP is not a young language. As of 2013, it's 18 years old; that's old enough to vote. Many... More

Complying with Open Gov: The November Deadlines - Part 2

(Part 3 of the "Open Gov" blog series) In the previous post in this series, we talked about the activities necessary to fulfill the minimum requirements for the first two implementation steps due in November. At the time I wrote that post, the plan for this post was to discuss the last two implementation step for the November deadline. In the interim, though, there have been some changes. First, and most importantly, the deadline is November 1, 2013, not November 5 as I had previously stated. Second, the much... More

Getting your site ready for Drupal 8

The drumbeat has started. On an almost daily basis, I'm asked How do I get my site ready for Drupal 8? Here is my best answer. If you go dutifully through this list, your site will be in peak condition when Drupal 8 is released. Start giving your administrators a taste of D8 now Significant parts of Drupal 8 are already available for Drupal 7. These modules are not quite as strong as their D8 counterparts, but they are a great investment you can make today. Get your admins excited about their future by installing... More

Live Drupal 8 Video Panel, Aug. 22, 2013

On Thursday, August 22nd, I will be talking with Drupal core contributors Larry Garfield and Kris Vanderwater in a live, recorded Hangout on Air. We will cover "Getting off the Island" and learning from other projects and technologies, the state-of-play in the Drupal 8 release cycle, the integration and use of the Symfony framework components, new development techniques, and more. Join us for this... More

Why Online Business Communities Matter for You

Remember when someone first said, “your business needs to be on the Internet?” and you dismissed them because it didn’t seem to be critical? Now having a website is the equivalent to being listed in the yellow pages 30 years ago. More recently came the clamor of “you need to be on social media.” Each evolution engendered skeptics but a few took advantage of the new opportunity to gain a larger share of their market – whether that be customers for consumer companies, donors for non-profits or constituents for government agencies. Today, most businesses connect with customers, employees,... More

The Case Against the Marketing Cloud

The Marketing Cloud. A one-stop-shop for CMOs. Everything you need to create, manage, and execute marketing campaigns. Web. Social. Email. Mobile. Analytics. Targeting. From a single vendor. All in one easy-to-buy package. Adobe’s got one: “Adobe Marketing Cloud. All the solutions marketers need. All from Adobe.” So does Salesforce.com: “Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a comprehensive solution that takes social marketing to the next level. Oracle has one: “Execute consistent, integrated social marketing strategies across your global brands” Even HP/Autonomy has one: “Autonomy Marketing Cloud,... More

What are Your 5 Guiding IT Principles?

Higher education IT organizations today face two major challenges: They must manage through day-to-day hurdles while also preparing for the technology challenges – and opportunities – of tomorrow. At our EDU Meetup earlier this month in Washington D.C. (http://higheredmeetupdc.drupalgardens.com/#), Georgetown University not only played the role of gracious host but also opened up the forum by highlighting the five guiding principles by which it manages its technology strategy to meet these dual challenges. “Open Source” is... More

Commons 3.3: Brought to you by the GRAMMY Awards & the Drupal Community

We're excited to announce the release of Drupal Commons 3.3 with several great new features and usability improvements sponsored by The Recording Academy, presenter of the annual GRAMMY awards. Drupal Commons is Acquia's social business software that makes it easy to start a collaborative community website. Drupal Commons has no license fees, is 100 percent open source, and competes directly with software from... More

Drupal 8: Building Twig Performance

(This article does not represent the current state of Drupal 8 development.) There's been a lot of excitement over Drupal 8's switch to Twig, a modern templating engine written in object oriented PHP code, but the process of making the switch happen has been an adventure on its own. The plan to adopt Twig required abandoning PHPTemplate completely, which is a mammoth undertaking requiring converting every Drupal 8 core template and theme function to a Twig equivalent. Even with a feature freeze... More

5 Steps to Success for Surviving Digital Disruption

Remember when you had to go the video store to rent or buy your favorite flick? How about having to go to the store to pick up that last minute gift during the holidays? What about only communicating with friends and family via snail-mail and email? The advent of the World Wide Web has resulted in a new Digital Age that has connected most of the world -- and in real time. Because we are linked together in this new way, individuals, organizations and companies are constantly finding better ways to do things digitally, replacing the old standards. Often this digital reinvention even saves you... More

Why should I go to DrupalCon? - The benefits of being there

I had the tables turned on me at DrupalCon Portland and got interviewed by Ray Saltini from Blink Reaction. He asked me some great questions about Drupal, and especially why you should come to Drupal community events like DrupalCon. Take six minutes out of your day and learn: How spending time in person helps long-distance collaboration, and cooperation later. Who comes to DrupalCon and why. Why you should come to DrupalCon. Why you should... More

Complying with Open Gov: The November Deadlines

(Part 2 of the "Open Gov" blog series) Federal agencies are currently wrestling with determining what they must do to comply with the White House’s Executive Order on open data. Until something more definitive is published, the best guidance might come from the Implementation Guide page on Project Open Data. The guide lists eight steps with minimum... More

The Wisdom of Crowds and The Open Source Way

What do high-speed rail, ash tree dieback, and changing world demographics have in common? These are just three projects that are actively harnessing what James Surowiecki refers to as, The Wisdom of Crowds. Open Source Design Let’s start with Elon Musk’s Hyperloop proposal for high-speed public transportation. Musk has taken an incubator approach, with Telsa and SpaceX staff involved in... More

Low-cost Drupal website brings high-end rewards for Kansas City non-profit

The journey from a dimly lit photo of a young woman with a blank stare to the smiling young man at the top of the homepage is a metaphor for the hope that Higher M-Pact brings to troubled teens, but also mirrors the journey of Higher M-Pact’s online presence. Higher M-Pact’s website enables visitors to learn how the non-profit helps high-risk urban youths strive for a better future. They did this by intervening sooner rather than later with these youths to motivate, engage and inspire. Obstacles are turned into opportunities, and a... More

What does the White House's Executive Order mean for Open Government?

(Part 1 of the "Open Gov" blog series) The White House's Executive Order of May 9, will cause a shift in the way that Federal agencies present data. The Executive Order, “Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information,” mandates that, “the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable.” So what does this mean for Federal agencies? Well, that’s a bit... More

Acquia a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management

Last week, Gartner unveiled the 2013 edition of its yearly Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. Gartner Magic Quadrants are evaluations of vendors in a specific market. As a refresher, Gartner looks at WCM vendors against two sets of criteria: Ability to Execute measures how well a vendor sells and supports its WCM products and services globally. Completeness of Vision focuses on the vendor's potential and points to its future chance of success. Gartner continues to evaluate this market based on the vendor’s ability to meet the changing needs of companies... More

Support enablement through automation - Meet Tim Hilliard

Acquia Cloud Engineer, Tim Hilliard, and I sat down at Acquia headquarters this spring to talk about ... what else? Drupal and helping people succeed with it. I find Tim's job interesting. He is part of the client advisory team at Acquia, but isn't specialized in front-line client support. He describes his role as part of the onboarding team for the Acquia Cloud platform, as "support enablement," ... "Enabling Support to do a really stellar job is one of the things that I really love and I focus on." He created a set of tools and... More

Ask not what open source can do for you,ask what you can do for open source

We've all used "closed source" products where various fees are paid to cover the cost of producing functionality, upgrades, and fixes. We wait with bated breath for the latest roadmap and complain when OUR desired features are not on it. We consistently "ask" the product to do more for us, earning that right because we paid good money for it. Ultimately though, this ties our individual rate of innovation to the vendor's. We either have to wait (behind customers who have paid more money), or accept risk by moving now and making customizations (which the vendor will not support). This... More

Open Source lies: Confessions of a former Commercial CMS Salesperson

I’m embarrassed. I believed what they told me. I echoed the lies about Open Source CMS Software that my proprietary solutions cohorts tell all their prospects. I guess I can’t blame them. The truth about Open Source CMS proves to be quite scary to the commercial world. It threatens their business. It pokes holes into all of the things that they hold sacred – their proprietary solutions, their product development roadmaps, their maintenance and support contracts, and so on. I'm here to set the record straight on my path to contrition. I need to dispel the lies that I told and evangelize the... More

Ok. We’re Responsive... Now What?

I was a little surprised at how dominant the topic of responsive design was at last week’s EduWeb Conference in Boston. By all accounts, it was a great conference. A wide breadth of institutions provided many perspectives and the quality of the presentations and interactions was as good as any other higher education conference that I have been to. But still, talk of responsive design – of what it is and how to achieve it - was everywhere. In fact, it was so prevalent throughout presentations and discussions that I was caught a... More

Following the Sun, Ops Team Keeps the Lights on for Client’s Big Media Push

(Part 1 of "The Adventures of the Acquia Cloud Ops Team" blog series) You’re in your office, feet up on your desk bathed in the luminescent glow of your multiple large screen monitors. You’re feeling good because your site is going to be getting some great media coverage, and you and your team have prepped for this based on all the projections provided by your Marketing team plus a bit of a buffer. And then... Your manager comes racing in saying that the analytics are showing the site traffic numbers are way beyond what Marketing had predicted. “How are we holding up?” he asks. Panicked,... More

Wanted: Drupal Core Toolbar maintainer

You may have seen xjm's call for a Taxonomy module co-maintainer. This post is a call for a maintainer of the Toolbar module. It currently lacks an official maintainer. "But I know nothing about the module!", you say. Well, maintaining a module is not strictly an undertaking of coding. Much of the responsibility involves empowering others to introduce improvements and fixes. Having a solid knowledge of JavaScript or PHP is helpful to triage issues and determine priority. But no one is an island... More

5 Takeaways from Capital Camp

Last weekend was Capital Camp, that annual time when Drupalists descend on Washington DC for two days of conversation and sessions on everything Drupal. If you weren't able to make it, here are 5 takeaways to apply to whatever you are working on: 1. Drupal is great for .gov Woven throughout the sessions were case studies for large government entities who turned to Drupal and found success, both on the state and federal level. One example, Gerogia.gov, used Drupal to transition to a responsive site... More

Drupal 8: Configuration Performance Management

(Part 2 of the "Site Performance with Drupal 8" blog series). Just getting started? Check out Part 1 (This article does not represent the current state of Drupal 8 development.) Drupal sites are all about content, but the site itself is more than just the code and the data it stores. The difference between production and staging isn't just which database to point it: It's the entire configuration. Storing, updating, and accessing this configuration is a big part of what Drupal does. Each module needs to read a different part... More

Financial Services emerge into a new agile era with blessing for AWS

Heralding a new age in technology use, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has cleared Amazon Web Services for adoption in the Netherlands’ financial sector. But, they haven’t just opened the doors to direct use – they have also sanctioned services built and delivered on AWS by third party suppliers. Suddenly these organisations have access to the vast ecosystem of solutions and suppliers that... More

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