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Warner Goes Drupal: A Q&A With Paul Sinclair, SVP, Digital Media, Atlantic Records [March 20, 2012]

Submitted on
mardi, le 20 mars 2012h
,
Billboard

Warner Goes Drupal: A Q&A With Paul Sinclair, SVP, Digital Media, Atlantic Records

Warner Music Group is among the first companies to use a new platform by Acquia called "Enterprise Drupal Gardens."

In short, Enterprise Drupal Gardens offers clients the same advantages as proprietary "software as a service" (Saas) models without being confined to a proprietary platform like Cisco's Eos. Warner started using Eos for some of its artist websites back in 2009, but Cisco decided to discontinue Eos in 2011.

Acquia has been working with Warner for six months to tailor the platform to the music company's specific requirements. A wide range of artists websites are already on the platform, including Cody Simpson, T.I., B.o.B, Portugal. The Man, Stevie Nicks, Iron & Wine, Surfer Blood, JaneDear girls and Gloriana. Websites for Jason Derulo, Waka Flocka Flame, Shinedown, Paramore, Wiz Khalifa and Trey Songz are among those due to be on the platform in the coming weeks.

In a conversation with Billboard.biz, Paul Sinclair, SVP, Digital Media, Atlantic Records, explained the benefits of using a Drupal-based platform and how it plays into the role of today's record label.

Billboard.biz: What does this partnership mean from a practical standpoint for Warner's websites?
Paul Sinclair: Here's why this matters to us and why it matters to artists in a nutshell: the thing we've learned over the last few years doing the direct-to-fan thing, both on the website side and the ecommerce side, is that there are a couple things that are really important. The website needs to stay up, and that's no trivial task. The other side of it is the world keeps getting more innovative and keeps changing faster. The [platform] needs to change with it and be almost infinitely flexible. Having done this for a number of years at Warner and Atlantic, the platform we were on before [had] a sense of robustness. During the Grammys, when other websites were non-accessible because some artist had an amazing performance on the Grammys, Bruno Mars' website was still up. That was one of the things we got out of our old platform.

The next great thing that we find to be interesting, we need to be able to tie it into the artist experience - the artist website, the ecommerce store, whatever it is. Warner has been doing things with Drupal for years and open source is great, but in my opinion we're ultimately an innovative record label, not a technology company. So we should focus on great products and innovation and marketing, but that doesn't mean we're running a bunch of servers and stuff like that. This [partnership] gets us the best of both worlds for artists. The website stays up and they get the benefit of open source because there's a zillion developers out there giving cool little features back to the Drupal community, but without the headache of running all your Drupal stuff.

Was lack of flexibility a problem with Cisco's platform?
It wasn't a lack of flexibility, it was [the platform was] proprietary. You had a big team but there are only so many people to build new features for Cisco. Drupal is a worldwide platform where everybody from a kid in his bedroom through to big companies is building stuff [for the platform]. Ultimately it opens up the world. Cisco, as big as they are, can only put so many resources against anything. Artists love to be at the bleeding edge. One of my jobs is to help them decide [if something] is a great idea or if it's not. If it's a great idea you don't want to be handcuffed. You want to be able to plug it in and try it.

What kinds of things can we expect from artist websites on this new platform?
There are some very cool social networks out there that allow you to have apps that upload content and that's why everybody loves social networks - they build tools to allow you to upload content very easily. In the past we've tried to replicate those. With Drupal we've figured out it's faster and easier to do that. So in the near term we're going to be rolling out apps for artists to be able to get content. I was sitting down with Shinedown at lunch yesterday and they said to me, "Hey, we love our website and we love social but we really do love our fan community on our website. We want to figure out easier ways while we're on the road to be a part of that, because it's hard while we're on the road." And we said, "We think the solution is we're going to have this app for you and it is going to work on your phone and you'll be able to get content on there without having to pull out a Macbook Air." I point that out because everybody should have an app to put stuff on their website, but it's more challenging that it sounds.

We're thinking through if there should be a deeper fan rewards program [on artist fan clubs]. By being there for the artist, should you be rewarded when you tweet, when you log into the website, when you buy something whether it's from us or a retailer? The openness of this platform [means] we try it and it works, awesome, we can do it with other artists when it makes sense. And if it doesn't work, then no harm no foul, you can move on and try something else.

The last couple months, everybody's been talking about Pinterest, right? When there's a new thing, this platform allows us to plug in the new thing for one or two or a hundred or however many artists want to try out the new thing, and figure out if it works with their fans or not. It doesn't require us to wait six months while we miss the opportunity to get in there because the platform itself is flexible. You can also make sure that every artist website is not the freakin' same. Every artist wants a unique experience. Artist websites can't look like templates. Artists want to feel like it's their experience.

You've said that Warner is a music company and not a technology company, and on the hosting side you're not a technology company. But it sounds like to some degree you have to be a technology company now. Is that true?
Yeah. Look, we have lots of people who do this. We have lots of people at Atlantic who do digital. There are lots of technologists in the company. I just think our focus should be on leveraging technology for artists - experiences, products - and not on managing servers. We should be working on the edge cases and letting people like Acquia worry about the boxes that power the thing, and the core platform that powers the thing. Therefore we can focus on the artist experience, the fan experience, the community, the things you should do as a 2012 record label. I think there was some thought over the last decade that record labels were going to be technology companies. I think we're leveragers of technology, we're not technologists - even though we have lots of people who live and breathe tech all day.

Fans of Drupal software connect in Denver [March 20, 2012]

Submitted on
mardi, le 20 mars 2012h
,
Denver Post

The Mile High City will host about 3,000 "Drupalers" this week for a three-day geekfest.

Drupal, free and open-source software that powers websites such as Twitter, eBay and Whitehouse.gov, will be the focus of DrupalCon, which will attract people from around the world. Members of the ultra-passionate Drupal community from as far away as Australia are set to visit Denver.

"Drupal is a platform to make building websites easier," said Matt Tucker, a Drupal developer at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "There are thousands of Drupal developers from across the world that have contributed functionality for Drupal websites that you can simply drop in place and use."
After a two-year planning and development process, CU switched some of its sites to Drupal in January, including the main colorado.edu site.

"Our old website was basically a static HTML website using very outdated technology," said Joanna Bertrand, Web manager at CU.
Drupal allows the university to publish more engaging and up-to-date content, as it did shortly after the men's basketball team won the Pac-12 Conference tournament. The CU Drupal team will speak about its transition to the software at DrupalCon on Wednesday.

The conference kicks off today at the Colorado Convention Center with a keynote from Drupal founder Dries Buytaert and runs through Thursday. It is open to the public, though there is a $450 registration fee.

Buytaert started Drupal as a dorm-room project in 2000 while he was studying computer science in Belgium. He initially set out to create an online message board so his college buddies could easily stay in touch.

As Buytaert added features such as RSS feeds and public diaries (better known as blogs), Drupal evolved from a simple message board to a content management system.

In 2007, Buytaert co-founded Boston-based Acquia, a company that maintains Drupal-backed

websites for enterprises. Two years earlier, he organized the first DrupalCon, attracting 40 people.
The nonprofit Drupal Association now holds two conferences annually, one in North America and the other in Europe. This is the first time Denver has been selected as the host city.

Tucker, who helped organize the Denver event, estimated that roughly half of the attendees will be from the Rocky Mountain region. He said there are several hundred Drupalers in the Denver/Boulder area, and many simply enjoy helping newbies out.

"People who use it absolutely love it, and they want to share that knowledge with everybody else," Tucker said.

Cost cutting: the open source solution? [March 20, 2012]

Submitted on
mardi, le 20 mars 2012h
,
Electronics Sourcing

UK Budget Must Encourage Open Source Adoption to Cut Costs - UK public sector open source adoption falling well behind other major economies.

DrupalCon 2012 Kicks Off in Denver [March 20, 2012]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 23 mars 2012h
,
eWeek

DrupalCon, the conference of users and developers of the open-source Drupal project, kicks off March 20 in Denver.

The Drupal Association, hosts of the biannual DrupalCon conference, announced the opening of its North American DrupalCon in Denver, with more than 3,000 Website designers, developers, site architects and IT managers in attendance.

The first day of full conference events at DrupalCon is March 20. Drupal is an open-source content management platform that powers millions of Websites and applications. Drupal is built, used and supported by a very active community of people from around the world, and that community comes together for DrupalCon.

The theme of DrupalCon Denver, "Collaborative Publishing for Every Device," is the subject of sessions and keynotes over three conference days. Keynote speakers include Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal; Mitchell Baker, leader of the Mozilla Project; and design guru Luke Wroblewski speaking on mobile.

The Drupal community has grown to more than 16,000 registered developers and nearly 800,000 members around the world in 228 countries, speaking 181 languages.

The latest version of the Drupal project, Drupal 7, released just one year ago, had such a strong adoption rate that it is now the most used version of Drupal. The Drupal project now has more than 15,000 modules and 4,000 code changes per week. The millions of Websites and software applications using Drupal include everything from personal blogs to the largest enterprise applications, including Twitter, eBay, Whitehouse.gov, NASA and universities around the world.

“The Drupal open-source content management platform is going strong, and is alive and well,” said Jacob Redding, executive director of the Drupal Association, in a statement. “We’re very pleased to see the quickest version adoption rate to date for the Drupal project, and the enthusiasm for the future of Drupal is strong at DrupalCon. We have an amazing community, and we look forward to spending the week getting in touch with Drupal communities from around the world, individual developers and contributors, and sponsors that have made their businesses around Drupal because of its incredible growth potential.”

DrupalCon sessions will center on the future of the Drupal project through eight session tracks from nonprofit, government and education, to design and user experience, and business and strategy. There will be many case studies around adoption and enthusiasm for Drupal, from Martha Stewart.com, to the University of Colorado, how Drupal is transforming government, how Zagat.com went from .NET to Drupal, and even a session on using Drupal in the emergency room to improve patient experience.

A co-located event for those evaluating Drupal called "Drupal Means Business," is on Thursday, March 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will include a full day of business-focused content and is designed for colleges, universities, businesses and government agencies that would like to know more about Drupal.

Code sprints will take place throughout the week on various topics, with Friday being a full day code sprint.

DrupalCon is also the place where companies that build their businesses around Drupal come to meet others within the community, speak at sessions, look for prospective employees and showcase their offerings. Sponsors include Diamond: Acquia; Platinum: Blackmesh, Forum One Communications, Four Kitchens, Lullabot, Phase2 Technology, Trellon, Workhabit; Gold: Aten Design Group, Chapter Three, Commerce Guys and more.

Budget wishlist includes tax changes and more SME support [March 20, 2012]

Submitted on
mardi, le 20 mars 2012h
,
Microscope

With the Budget just a day away the industry has made its wishes clear asking the Chancellor to simplify taxes and provide more support for tech start-ups.

In addition there have also been calls for the greater use of open source to cut costs and to reduce VAT back down to 15%.

Some details of what can be expected tomorrow have already emerged with measures to stop those avoiding stamp duty on the agenda along with a potential cut in the 50p tax rate for the highest earners.

But all eyes will be on the taxation measures and support for smaller firms with calls for the national insurance holiday that has been offered to start-ups to be extended to established firms and a simplification of taxation generally.

"The Budget is a real opportunity to remove the growth barriers for small firms created by the complexity of the tax system. It is clearly one that should not be missed," said Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business.

Others wanted more done to help tech start-ups with more help for entrepreneurs willing to take risks.

"As the Chancellor prepares to announce a Budget aimed at stimulating growth, we are all expecting a great focus on macroeconomic policies. However, given that many of the green shoots we have seen recently have come from smaller businesses, such as the tech start-ups in London's Silicon Roundabout, this should be reflected in the Budget," said David Ballard, CEO of Northdoor.

There has also been a call for more adoption of open source to help government cut its own IT costs.

"The government has made huge strides in enabling a fair hearing form open source providers alongside traditional proprietary software vendors in the public sector procurement process, but much more needs to be done," said Jim Shaw, general manager for Europe at Acquia.

Warner adopts open source Drupal platform for artist websites

Submitted on
lundi, le 19 mars 2012h
,
Music Week

Warner Music Group has signed up to use a new open source platform for its artist websites.

Acquia’s ‘Enterprise Drupal Gardens’ has been created to allow firms to centrally create and manage large numbers of content-rich, social websites.

The platform, dubbed ‘OpenSaas’, allows clients to access and build their websites through a common web browser – without being ‘locked in’ to a proprietary ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) model.

A wide range of artists websites are already on the platform, including Cody Simpson, T.I., B.o.B, Portugal. The Man, Stevie Nicks, Iron & Wine, Surfer Blood, JaneDear girls and Gloriana.

Warner Music taps Acquia to build artists’ social sites [March 19, 2012]

Submitted on
lundi, le 19 mars 2012h
,
Mass High Tech

Acquia Inc. has launched a new enterprise platform for companies to create and manage content-rich social websites and signed on Warner Music Group as its first enterprise customer.

Burlington-based Acquia today announced that it has created an enterprise version of its Drupal Gardens platform, a service that will enable customers to use Acquia’s website hosting, development and security services through a Web browser.

Similar to software-as-a-service (SaaS) models, Drupal’s service is an open content management system which means customers will not have to install any software or manage any servers.

Warner Music Group (WMG) will use Acquia’s enterprise version of Drupal, according to the company. The list of artists’ websites already on the platform include: The Man, Stevie Nicks, Iron & Wine, Surfer Blood, JaneDear girls and Gloriana.

Acquia CEO Tom Erickson said in a statement that “the platform is a “great example of how we are helping enterprises dramatically reduce operational hurdles and costs.” Drupal has seen huge growth since its creator, Acquia co-founder and Dries Buytaert open-sourced Drupal in 2001. The platform now powers more than a million websites and has a community of 775,000 developers and users in 228 countries, according to the company.

Acquia raised $15 million of a $20 million fundraise in July 2011 just months before moving from its location in Worburn to its new digs at 25 Corporate Dr. in Burlington.

58 New APIs: AT&T, goMobi and Social Shopping [March 18, 2012]

Submitted on
Dimanche, le 18 mars 2012h
,
Programmable Web

Acquia Cloud API: Acquia is a commercial open source software company that provides products and services for Drupal. Acquia's cloud based solution lets users create Drupal based web sites. The Acquia Cloud API allows developers to extend and customize Acquia Cloud. The API allows direct control of Acquia Cloud sites and supports developer workflow, database, and backup management. It uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

Distribution packaging now fully supported on Drupal.org [March 15, 2012]

Submitted on
jeudi, le 15 mars 2012h
,
Drupal.org

Distributions provide one of the biggest opportunities for both the Drupal project and its ecosystem. Although there has been support for distribution packaging on Drupal.org since December 2009, there were many restrictions on what could be packaged for technical and legal reasons. By solving the underlying legal, technical, security, and usability problems, these restrictions have been lifted and fully-featured distributions are now enabled on Drupal.org! This move enables thousands of active developers to pursue distribution development with a consistent set of tools for managing version control, releases, issue tracking, collaboration, and documentation.

Funding for the project was generously provided by major distribution developers:
Phase2 Technology

Acquia

NodeOne

Pantheon

Lullabot

New features for distribution packaging

External library support
Feed parsers, alternate versions of jQuery, WYSIWYG editors, etc. can be included with distributions automatically. A packaging whitelist tracks GPL-compatible libraries that can be added to distributions.
Packaging whitelist table, listing GPL-compatible libraries allowed for inclusion in distributions

Patch support
Patches can now be applied to core, contributed modules and themes, and even third-party libraries. Patches will appear on distribution release nodes, resolved to their parent issue.

Table on release nodes shows patches that have been applied to a given distribution

Support for development snapshots
Both development releases and Git clones (either a specific revision or a branch/tag) can now be used in distributions, rather than just official project releases.
Complete technical implementation details can be found at the Distribution Packaging community initiative page.

Changes for distribution maintainers

If you maintain a distribution on Drupal.org (or would like to) be sure to read the following updated documentation:

Packaging a distribution on Drupal.org
Managing Drush make files for an installation profile
Drupal.org distribution packaging requirements
Full example drupal-org.make file
Common Drush Make errors and their solutions
Drupal.org Library Packaging Whitelist

Credits

This initiative was spear-headed, designed, managed, and primarily implemented by Derek Wright (dww) of 3281d Consulting. Chad Phillips (hunmonk) and Michael Prashun (mikey_p) also helped with the design and implementation.

The work was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Phase2 Technology, Acquia, Node One, Pantheon, and Lullabot.

Additional thanks to:

Angela Byron (webchick) for spear-heading initial funding discussions, for performing extensive QA on changes, for authoring major chunks of the documentation, and for providing input throughout the process.
Jeff Walpole (jwalpole) for wrangling funding from multiple sources to make this happen.
Jonathan Hedstrom (jhedstrom) and Moshe Weitzman (moshe weitzman) for maintaining Drush make (which is now part of the core Drush project), the primary tool used by the Drupal.org distribution packaging system.
Jeff Geerling (geerlingguy), Adam Moore (redndahead), Angela Byron (webchick), Alberto Paderno (kiamlaluno), and Greg Knaddison (greggles) for maintaining the library whitelist.
Roy Scholten (yoroy) and Bojhan Somers (bojhan) of the usability team for help reviewing the UI changes.
Ezra Barnett Gildesgame (ezra-g) and Frank Febbraro (febbraro) for feedback on the changes, testing, and reviewing documentation.
Alex Barth (alex_b) for his initial help to identify the problems and flesh out the roadmap for solving them.

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