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

Submitted on
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
,
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.

Acquia Debuts 'Enterprise Drupal Gardens' [March 20, 2012]

Submitted on
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
,
Info Tech

Drupal is a free software package that offers an opportunity to developers and content owners to easily organize, manage and publish their content. Drupal is open source software and is maintained by a community of 630,000+ users and developers. The solution is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (or “GPL”).

Acquia, the company that provides enterprise guides to Drupal has announced the introduction of a new platform named Enterprise Drupal Gardens. According to the company, this new platform allows users to create and manage endless content-rich, social websites. Some of the big names in content domain, such as Warner Music Group, have already started using this platform, the company stated in a press release.

“OpenSaaS Enterprise Drupal Gardens is a game changer. Global organizations are under pressure to find a flexible and low cost means to build incredible web experiences,” said Tom Erickson, chief executive officer at Acquia. “Warner Music Group is a great example of how we are helping enterprises dramatically reduce operational hurdles and costs, while offering them unparalleled freedom to create websites without boundaries, based on open source Drupal.”

Powerful Drupal CMS allows users to create photo and video galleries, custom content, forms and surveys, and dynamic content mashups. They can also easily style page elements and design themes and log in to sites with their ID’s from Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, Google+, and twenty other social and business networks.

In other news, Acquia recently announced the release of the Acquia Cloud API. The Cloud API allows developers to extend, enhance and customize Acquia Cloud's capabilities including developer workflow, site management, and provisioning.

The Cloud API empowers the entire Drupal ecosystem, developers and businesses alike, to save time and accelerate deployment by integrating Acquia Cloud tools into their properties. Developers can now automate testing, data sanitization and other operations to ensure data and code quality is consistent across environments.

As a result, Acquia is able to provide a platform for professional developers, distribution builders, and web design agencies to rapidly roll out new websites and businesses.

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

Submitted on
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
,
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.

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

Submitted on
Friday, March 23, 2012
,
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.

Higher education meet-up at DrupalCon

It's that time of year again where we are gearing up for another great DrupalCon. Next week, 3000 Drupalists, including more than 70 Acquians, will be migrating out west to the Rocky Mountains for an action packed week filled with sessions, stickers, beer, and lots of face time with the best open source community on the planet.

There is one remarkable event that caught my attention and that speaks volumes about an important trend we're seeing: the Higher Ed Drupal Users meeting on Wednesday.

Drupal start-up Acquia competes on community [March 15, 2012]

Submitted on
Thursday, March 15, 2012
,
Information Age

Dries Buytaert, founder of open source web content management system Drupal, says his company helps enterprises tap innovation from the Drupal community
Dries Buytaert wrote the first version of Drupal, the open source, PHP-based web content management system, in his university dorm room back in 2001.

Originally a message board system, Buytaert and his fellow volunteer developers used the software itself as a platform to collaborate on the project.

“We built our community on top of our own software,” he says. “We had to be open and transparent in order to build the software together, which meant that we needed it to have features that allowed us to be open and transparent. Those features are now part of the reason that people use Drupal.”

And use it they do. According to Buytaert, 2% of the world’s websites are built on Drupal. These are not just hobbyist developers – Drupal users include US telco Verizon, whose 90,000-user intranet is built on the platform, and the White House.

Until 2007, when Drupal already had many thousands of users, Buytaert did not receive any money for his invention, instead working as an embedded software engineer and later on his computer science PhD. He would stay up all night on conference calls with US end-user organisations “because it was just so much fun”, he recalls.

That year, however, he decided that it was time for a commercial venture based on Drupal. “For Drupal to be successful as a project, I felt that it needed to be successful in the enterprise,” he explains. “And for Drupal to be successful in the enterprise, there needed to be a company that could offer service-level agreements and contractual guarantees.

“Plus, I wanted to have a job,” he adds.

Enterprise guide

The result is Acquia, a venture-backed start-up that describes itself as “your enterprise guide to Drupal". One of Acquia’s business lines is based on the support networks offered by commercial open source suppliers Red Hat and MySQL (now part of Oracle).

Subscribers to the Acquia Network receive technical support, provided by engineers that Acquia has hired from the Drupal community.

“The beauty of having the Drupal community is that I don’t have to interview these people: you can see the quality of their work, and how they work with others,” explains Buytaert, who is Acquia’s chief technology officer.

Where Acquia differs from Red Hat and MySQL is that it does not sell an ‘enterprise’ version of the software. “There is only one Drupal,” Buytaert asserts.

Another business line is Acquia Cloud, a hosting service based on Amazon Web Services that is optimised for Drupal websites. “Organisations building websites will usually have a workflow that includes a development environment, a staging environment and a production environment,” says Buytaert. “Acquia Cloud provides them additional development tools.”

The third is Drupal Gardens. This is a hosted service that allows organisations to design, stage and host Drupal websites using a browser-based graphical interface.

Buytaert describes Drupal Gardens as ‘open SaaS’ (software as a service).

“Most SaaS companies won’t let you export your data, but Drupal Gardens allows you to export a .zip file with the MySQL database dump plus all the source code,” he explains. “This allows you to switch hosting provider if you wish, so there’s no lock-in.”

One of Acquia’s core principles, says Buytaert, is to act in the interests of the Drupal community. “The central investment thesis behind Acquia is that we will not be successful unless Drupal is successful. We’re tied at the hip.

“That means that we always put the community first, because the community is what makes Drupal innovative,” he adds. “The community means that if a popular new social web service is launched tomorrow, some developer somewhere will build a Drupal extension for it. At a conventional software company, it would take months before it would even get on the roadmap.”

There have been cases when putting the community first has cost Acquia time and money. “When we developed Drupal Gardens, we made several usability improvements that we could have kept to ourselves, but instead we submitted them to the latest version of Drupal,” explains Buytaert. “That meant going through the community approval process, which made it three times as expensive.”

Acquia is designed to make money, like any business, but Buytaert plans to do so by respecting the open source ethos, he says. “Open source leads to collaboration, which leads to community, which leads to innovation.”

Drupal adoption has never been higher [March 11, 2012]

Submitted on
Sunday, March 11, 2012
,
The Marketing Blog

London, UK – March 8, 2012 – Aquia the enterprise guide to Drupal, today announced another remarkable year of growth in 2011, as its revenue has grown to nearly 150 percent, more than doubling the previous year. Acquia also tripled its client base to nearly 2000 customers including Twitter, eBay, Maxim Magazine, Brit Awards, Mercedes-Benz and the United States Department of Energy.

According to Drupal.org, since 2001 Drupal has grown into a global phenomenon with more than 777,980 registered community members in 228 countries speaking 181 languages. The open source social publishing platform has seen widespread adoption, primarily in the publishing, education, government, arts, media and entertainment, as well with a number of community, product and corporate company web sites.

Company News

  • Revenue more than doubled in 2011, growing nearly 150 percent over the year
  • Doubled employees to 200 around the world, successfully opening new offices in Oxford, UK, and Portland, OR
  • Secured $15 million Series D funding with Tenaya Capital, Northbridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners
  • Added two Board of Directors members and industry veterans Thomas Bogan, current Chairman of the Board for Citrix and Paul Sallabery, former VP at Oracle and current board member for Quest Software
  • Acquired Cyrve, Drupal migration services provider, and Growing Venture Solutions, Drupal security services provider, and introduced Acquia Migration Services and Acquia Security Services

Customer and Partner Expansion

  • Acquia has tripled its customer base in the last three quarters with more than 2000 customers, adding Twitter, eBay, Mercedes-Benz, Brit Awards, Maxim Magazine, the U.S. Department of Energy and more
  • Greatly expanded partner network to 400 partners, adding more than 100 new developer and technology partners such as Alfresco, Engine Yard, Lingotek, New Relic and VML
  • Launched Acquia U, a program to employ and train recent and upcoming college graduates, as well as career changers, in Drupal
  • Sponsored 70 Drupal community events like camps, summits, meet ups, conferences and code sprints around the world

Product Innovation and Industry Recognition

  • Launched Acquia Dev Cloud and Acquia Managed Cloud packaging options for Acquia’s Drupal cloud hosting platform, which now boasts more than 600 customers in total, serving more than 5 Billion http requests per month
  • Released Acquia Insight, an application management suite that assesses Drupal performance, security and configuration in real time, providing code level analysis and clear, actionable recommendations to address system issues
  • Enhanced the Acquia Network – an unparalleled collection of knowledge, tools, and support for assembling extraordinary web experiences with Drupal – with the following:
  • A new user experience and a content rich knowledgebase — the Acquia Library with more than 500 articles
  • Acquia Apps Market availability, with more than a dozen third party services available to operate and extend Drupal websites, including Mu Dynamics, uTest, Yottaa, LingoTek, Drupalize.Me and more
  • Announced Drupal Gardens general availability with powerful site building and WYSIWYG design capabilities; more than 80,000 sites were created in the last year
  • Unveiled Acquia Commons 2.0 – next generation ready-to-use open social business software based on Drupal with rapidly evolving social web features
  • Acquia received numerous awards and notoriety in 2011, including:
  • Forbes 100 Most Promising Companies
  • Gartner Magic Quadrant Visionary for External Facing Social Software
  • Premiere Silicon Valley TiE50 Awards Winner, one of 50 most enterprising startups
  • KMWorld’s Trend-Setting Product of the Year
  • Enterprise 2.0 Conference Launch Pad Award Finalist
  • #1 Ranking on Momentum Index Top 20 List of top open source companies
  • EContent 100 – Drupal among Top 100 in Digital Content Industry for 2011-2012

Acquia Commentary

“2011 was another banner year for Acquia, as we continued to aggressively expand and bring the innovative power of Drupal to enterprises that want to assemble extraordinary web experiences,” said Tom Erickson, CEO of Acquia. “We are proud of accomplishments both at Acquia and within the Drupal community, and will continue to work together to expand Acquia’s reach and further accelerate Drupal growth internationally in 2012.”
“Drupal adoption has never been higher, and the community is stronger than it ever has been,” said Dries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO of Acquia. “And I am pleased to see the surge of interest among enterprises to standardize on Drupal for their specific web and content management needs. I expect to see more growth within the community and look forward to working with them to revolutionize today’s web experience.”
About Acquia™, the enterprise guide to Drupal

About Acquia™, your enterprise guide to Drupal // Acquia empowers enterprises with the open-source social publishing system Drupal. Co-founded by Drupal’s creator in 2007, Acquia helps customers manage their growth and scale their online properties with confidence. Acquia’s products, cloud infrastructure, and support enable companies to realize the full power of Drupal while minimizing risk, as it’s done for nearly 2,000 enterprise customers including Twitter, Al Jazeera, Turner, Intuit, World Economic Forum, Stanford University, Mercedes-Benz and NPR.

See who’s using Drupal at http://www.drupalshowcase.com, and for more information please visit www.acquia.com or call 888-9-ACQUIA.

When and how caching can save your Drupal site

This is the first of a series of blog posts debating caching strategies in Drupal. In this first post we will understand what Drupal is able of doing out of the box regarding caching, and what are the options to extend it to achieve sites that perform normally under high load.
Unlike a static HTML website, Drupal pages consist of small building blocks that are rendered independently of one another before they are bundled together and sent to the browser as an atomic unit. Because Drupal is a dynamic content generation platform, there are a series of complex events that are executed behind the scenes in order to generate the page that is sent to the browser such as establishing a database connection, loading settings and modules, initializing a user session, mapping the URL to a PHP page callback function to run the application’s business logic, and collecting the fringe elements that surround the main content of the page.

Opinion: It’s time to open-source the Big Society [March 2, 2012]

Submitted on
Friday, March 2, 2012
,
Computing

The government’s Big Society initiative has much in common with the philosophy that underpins the open-source community, which has delivered innovative solutions through collaborative working.
This empowerment for the greater good fits perfectly with the government’s agenda to enable individuals, charities and communities to work together to improve society. So it is ironic that the open-source community involvement in the UK public sector is lagging so far behind other European countries, such as France.

Granted, there are some examples of open-source adoption: Drupal is the chosen platform for the Cabinet Office and the london.gov.uk site. But these are still in the minority when compared to the use of proprietary software vendors.
To its credit, the government recently launched the first formal open-source toolkit of guidance and advice to help decision makers weigh up the pros and cons of open-source adoption. This level playing field should enable developers to gain a foothold in delivering public-sector projects and allow them to be evaluated equally against the more traditional software providers.

Read more: http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/opinion/2156381/opinion-it-s-source-society

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