Direct from the White House: APIs are Key to Extending Platforms [May 20, 2014]

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

By Jason Hibbets

To a technology director at the White House, the State of the Union is like the Superbowl. While the world is watching the President of the United States deliver an address to the nation, Leigh Heyman and his team are managing the media technology behind the scenes to create an enhanced and interactive experience for the viewers. How many of you watched the State of the Union on YouTube this year?

As the Director of New Media Technologies at the Executive Office of the President, Heyman uses strong leadership to chart new technical territory for the White House. If you ever get to meet him in person, the first thing that will likely grab your attention is the presidential lapel pin on his suit. It's a little intimidating, but his broad smile and confident handshake tell the whole story.

It's one of confidence and openness, and it's what struck me when I met Heyman for the first time at the Palmetto Open Source Conference in Columbia, South Carolina. He was presenting a talk about We The People, the White House online petition platform. It is one of many tech projects with a nod towards a more open and transparent government that Heyman and his team have led, including WhiteHouse.gov which runs on Drupal and various White House hackathons held at the White House itself.

Though no less extraordinary, it's somewhat old news that the White House has been using open source technologies in it's efforts. At DrupalCon San Francisco, the White House revealed their first contributions to Drupal. What's exciting now is they are consistently giving back to open source projects and writing web APIs.

This marks a new era for the government's relationship with open source, and is due in part to the work the New Media Technologies team does to promote a more transparent, collaborative, and participatory government.

In this interview, Leigh Heyman gives me some of the backstory on how he came to work for the Executive Office of the President and some fun facts about the famous Death Star Petition. He also discusses recent new media projects at the White House, shedding light on how they might live beyond the current administration and forge a new relationship with US citizens.

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Australian Government Likely to Standardise on Drupal [May 9, 2014]

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Friday, May 9, 2014

By Rohan Pearce

AGIMO wants Drupal delivered from the cloud to be the standard CMS

The federal government is eyeing the introduction of a government-wide content-management system. The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has indicated its preference is to use the open-source Drupal Web platform and to have the CMS delivered as a cloud service.

"The Government Content Management System (GovCMS) is envisaged as an important service offering for Australian Commonwealth Government agencies," the Australian government CTO, John Sheridan, wrote in a blog entry.

"GovCMS is intended to support more effective web channel delivery functions within Government, and enable agencies to redirect effort from non-core transactional activities, towards higher-value activities that are more aligned with core agency missions," a draft statement of requirements issued by AGIMO states.

An analysis by AGIMO found that between 182 and 450 websites could be transitioned to GovCMS over four years. The use of an open source solution means that Drupal modules could be shared between public sector agencies and the community, the draft states.

A transition to GovCMS will begin with Australia.gov.au and Finance.gov.au, the document states. The target go-live date is September this year.

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Thanks a Million, Drupal [March 4, 2014]

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

By Rohan Pearce

More than a million websites are powered by the open source CMS

Drupal, an open source content management system, now powers more than 1 million websites, according to figures released today. As of 15 February, 1,005,489 websites were powered by the CMS, according to the Drupal Association, a non-profit organisation that stewards the project.

(The figure was generated by an automated Drupal.org tool, and doesn't include sites running on versions earlier than 6.0.)

Some 12 per cent of the world's top 100,000 website have been built with Drupal, according to research by Builtwith Research cited by the Drupal Association.

It's heady stuff for an open source project born out of the desire of its creator, Dries Buytaert, to experiment with Web technologies.

"When I started Drupal, honestly I didn't have a master plan at all," Buytaert told Computerworld Australia in an interview last year.

"I started Drupal as a message board because I felt it was fun to build and we could actually use it in our student dorm. That kind of evolved into an experimental platform for me so I could experiment with different kinds of Web technologies from RSS feeds to blogging to other things.

"Eventually I moved my website from an internal, intranet kind of forum to the public Internet and that actually attracted an audience of people interested in the future of the Web."

Visitors to his site had a range of suggestions for modifications. "And so eventually I said, 'You know what — instead of me doing all the work how about I just give you the source code and then you can add these things yourself and feel free to send me back a patch'," Buytaert said.

"I kind of slapped the GPL licence on it, because that's what I knew from working on the Linux kernel, and I probably spent about 30 seconds thinking of a name — 'call it Drupal' — and uploaded a zipfile to my website for other to download...

"I had worked hard on it for a year and I was kind of proud of what I built, but I never expected a whole lot of people to adopt it."

Read more.

The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards Unites Music Fans with Record-Breaking Social Media [Jan. 30, 2014]

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Music's Biggest Night® Becomes Television's Biggest Social Event of the 2013 – 2014 Season

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (January 30, 2014) — With statistics compiled by Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, The Recording Academy® announced today that combined social media interactions surrounding the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards® reached a record-breaking 34 million, making Music's Biggest Night®, which aired Sunday, Jan. 26, on the CBS Television Network, television's biggest social event of the 2013 – 2014 season.*

According to data compiled by Twitter and 87AM, the GRAMMY®s garnered 15.7 million mentions on Twitter during the broadcast, the peak moment of which was during the Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performance with 171,593 tweets per minute. According to Facebook data, 6.3 million people had more than 13.5 million Facebook interactions related to the 56th GRAMMYs, making it the No. 1 trending topic. Stats compiled by Union Metrics reveal that there were more than 100,000 GRAMMY-related posts created on Tumblr with more than 5.1 million reblogs and likes. Stats compiled by 87AM reveal that the top three most-talked about performances were, in order: Daft Punk, Beyoncé and Jay Z, and Lamar joined by Imagine Dragons. The most-talked about artists were: Lorde, Taylor Swift and Macklemore.

GRAMMY.com, the official GRAMMY website, saw visits on GRAMMY Sunday and the following day rise 15 percent from last year, with 4.6 million total unique users and 18.5 million page views for the site.** In partnership with CBS, The Recording Academy produced, for the fifth year, GRAMMY Live®,an official second-screen companion program featuring coverage from the GRAMMY red carpet, Pre-Telecast Ceremony and backstage. GRAMMY Live's livestream and on-demand viewing was up 100 percent over last year, generating nearly 5.5 million total streams.*** The official 56th GRAMMY live-blog, syndicated globally to 38 outlets, saw a 320 percent increase in user engagement minutes and a 659 percent increase in unique visitors compared to last year.****

On YouTube, the official GRAMMY channel saw a significant increase in views starting the week of Jan. 12 with more than 5.7 million views of GRAMMY original content leading up to Music's Biggest Night.** Views of content published immediately following the broadcast received 375,000 views in the first 12 hours alone.

"GRAMMY engagement continues to explode year over year as fans seek ever deeper ways to connect with Music's Biggest Night," said Evan Greene, Chief Marketing Officer for The Recording Academy. "These consistently increasing statistics underscore the overwhelming excitement and passion for the GRAMMYs, and music, across today's most meaningful social platforms."

*Stats compiled by SocialGuide
**Stats compiled by Google Analytics
***Stats compiled by AEGDM Tremolo
****Stats compiled by ScribbleLive

About The Recording Academy

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYs on Twitter, like "The GRAMMYs" on Facebook, and join The GRAMMYs' social communities on Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.

Drupal’s Dries Dishes on D8 Development [Jan. 21, 2014]

Submitted on
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
IT World

Drupal, the popular open source content management system, officially turned 13 last week. To help celebrate the start of Drupal's awkward teenage years, Dries Buytaert, Drupal's creator and the founder/CTO of Acquia (which provides professional services around Drupal), took part in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit. During the session, Buytaert shared some information on the development of the next major release, Drupal 8.

The biggest question, of course, is when will Drupal 8 be released. Drupal 7 was released three years ago, and folks are wondering when D8 is coming. Buytaert was non-committal ("No comment"), so no word just yet and when to expect it.

When asked about what he thought they had gotten right in Drupal 8, Buytaert said "modernizing the code base to use standard best practices". The biggest implication of this is moving to object oriented PHP which, as he wrote last year, should help make Drupal-based sites less complex and easier for non-Drupal experts to maintain.

On the flip side, when asked what he thought they've gotten wrong in D8 so far, Buytaert indicated that part of the reason for the extended development time has been poor management of technical debt.

Drupal Holding Hackathon to Work on Open Source CMS [Jan. 20, 2014]

Submitted on
Monday, January 20, 2014

By Callum Borchers

There’s an exciting global event coming up where talented people from all over the world will come together and sprint.

I’m not talking about the Olympics. I’m talking about the Drupal 8 Global Sprint. And unlike the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, this weekend’s Drupal hackathon still has room for you.

Drupal, of course, is a popular open-source content management system. It runs about 2 percent of the world’s websites — not a huge share but an enormous raw number.

More than a million contributors from 230 countries make Drupal work and, from time to time, a bunch of them get together to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. The Global Sprint is one of those times.

Sprint events are happening in 30 cities worldwide, and there’s one in Boston Saturday at Genuine Interactive. It’ll probably be the coolest because it’s sponsored by Acquia, whose chief technology officer, Dries Buytaert, created Drupal.

Drupal 7.25 Released [Jan. 4, 2014]

Submitted on
Saturday, January 4, 2014
CMS Critic

By Mike Johnston

A new version of Drupal has been released. This maintenance release, Drupal 7.25, includes bug fixes and small API/feature improvements only (no major new functionality).

There were no security fixes made in this release, likely because none were identified.

Here are the major changes made in this release:

Added an optional feature to the Statistics module to allow node views to be tracked by Ajax requests rather than during the server-side generation of the page. This allows the node counter to work on sites that use external page caches (string change and new administrative option: https://drupal.org/node/2164069).

The Rise of Drupal and the Fall of Closed Source [Jan. 2, 2014]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 2, 2014

By Jared Whitehead

The rise of Drupal coincides with a movement that values thoughtful collaboration over aggressive competition. Contrary to tmany proprietary software companies and products, open source projects tend to become increasingly user-friendly and the communities around them actively work to welcome newcomers to the fold. The driven and radical altruism of many open source communities offered this new movement the authenticity they hungered for and one-upped the commercial competition’s biggest selling point—affordability.

It wasn't long before the usability, affordability, and ideology driving the popularity of open source began to pose a major threat to the commercial software industry. At first, the industry reacted with indifference, but one infamous case wherein Microsoft released a series of attack ads against the open source giant OpenOffice revealed that open source was becoming more popular than anticipated. When members of the industry realized, however, that open source wasn’t going away, the market began to adapt. Software giants began their own open source projects, some as an attempt to court open source users and others as a way to promote further interoperability between systems. Open source communities began to influence new projects and the foundation of a new economic model.

Opigno Aims to be a True e-learning Platform [Dec. 30, 2013]

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Over the last five years, e-learning platforms have gained popularity and notoriety for alleviating some of the strain caused by our education problems. Namely, for helping bring resources and materials to classrooms and countries that can't afford the proprietary and closed options.

For those looking to launch their own e-learning platform, the landscape has only recently been mature enough for almost anyone to jump in and start their own. In the early days, the way in which one would operate an e-learning platform was similar to document management as a means to knowledge management, rather than true e-learning. What I mean by that is, many people may use an e-learning platform as a Document Management System (DMS) to simply store their presentations and other documents. Others use it for storing rich HTML content (animations, dynamic slides, etc) and other educational materials, like quizzes and tests. To me, though, this is not what an e-learning platform is truly meant to do; it should offer a wide range of tools that:

  • publish knowledge
  • assess how the knowledge is assimilated by the learners
  • generate curiosity and collaboration among learners
  • teach concepts through constructive and playful interactions and self-experiences

There was a desire for a more active way to deliver content, for tools that could deliver things like a quiz, video conference, wiki, or forum. But very few of them succeeded in building a true e-learning platform.

Drupal 8 to Take Open Source CMS 'to the Next Level' [Dec. 19, 2013]

Submitted on
Thursday, December 19, 2013

By Rohan Pearce

Drupal's project lead, Dries Buytaert, earlier this month outlined the criteria for a beta release of the next version of the open source CMS: Drupal 8. D8 hit alpha in mid-2013.

Version 8 of Drupal incorporates dramatic changes for many of aspects the CMS, with improvements ranging from integrated WYSIWYG content creation and in-line editing, to support for responsive design 'out of the box' and multi-language support.

"I would love to see Drupal 8 in the middle of next year," Buytaert told Computerworld Australia.

"We've been saying 'it's ready when it's ready'," he added. "So what that means for us is when there are no critical bugs left. I track the number of incoming critical bugs versus the number of outgoing critical bugs. Basically how many new critical bugs are reported versus how many we fixed — and the number's pretty steady, meaning we do a good job fixing them but there's still some bugs coming in as people download the alphas and try things.

"They try to upgrade a module, for example. And sometimes it's not just bugs but also when people try to implement against one of the new APIs. Sometimes they'll say 'What the hell is this?' or 'It could be made easier this way.'"