Acquia Coverage

govCMS and GOV.AU Beta: A Joint Approach to Improving Online Service Delivery [April 19, 2016]

Submitted on
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
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Australian Government - govCMS

In this joint blog post, CEO of the DTO Paul Shetler and Australian Government Chief Technology Officer John Sheridan explains how govCMS will be a critical part of the GOV.AU Beta.

As the Australian Government’s digital transformation gathers pace, it’s not surprising that agencies are wondering how these changes will affect them.

There has been particular interest in one of the DTO’s major projects, GOV.AU, and how this relates to existing platforms, including govCMS.

Understanding GOV.AU
DTO CEO Paul Shetler said that GOV.AU is not a technology solution and it’s not a replacement for other technologies; it’s a service design approach.

“The vision of GOV.AU is to create a place where users can find anything to do with the Australian Government, without having to visit multiple different websites.

“Users won’t need to understand which agency is responsible for which services or information, in order to get the job done - they’ll just be able to visit GOV.AU.

“Of course, this is a huge task that we’re exploring one step at a time. At this early stage, we’ve created an Alpha product to provide an indication of what this might look like.

“And you can view that Alpha product online and provide feedback now at gov.au/alpha.”

Complementary products
Australian Government Chief Technology Officer John Sheridan says govCMS was designed to provide a solution to agencies that would reduce the cost of maintaining their websites.

“govCMS removes the burden of website content management and hosting arrangements, leaving agencies with more time to focus on the content and services they provide to end users,” said John.

“govCMS provides a responsive and accessible starting point for websites, using a common platform built on open source code and operated through sharing and reuse.

“The platform is available now and can be used by all agencies.”

How govCMS will help deliver GOV.AU
Paul said govCMS is the technology solution that will underpin the GOV.AU Beta, will be the platform used by agencies to author and prepare content for the site.

In the near future, agencies will author content using govCMS and it will be published on the GOV.AU Beta website.

“For those agencies already familiar with govCMS, it will make adding and updating content in GOV.AU a really straightforward process with a minimal learning curve,” said Paul.

Helping agencies prepare for change
John Sheridan says, “If you’re already using govCMS, you’ve already started the journey to change. While moving to GOV.AU will require extensive work around user research, design, and content reduction and improvement, you’re already using the best available content management platform.”

Paul said work had already begun to help agencies prepare for the future.

This includes:

  • exploring how we can use the API-enabled content hub feature in govCMS to publish information to GOV.AU,
  • planning to more widely adopt design patterns coming out of GOV.AU Beta’s development work, and
  • creating better connections across our community so when the times comes for change, we can share the load and tackle challenges together.
  • Should I stop any progress in re-platforming to govCMS?

“The short answer is no. Keep going, because GOV.AU will be designed to use the content stored in govCMS, and govCMS will be a part of any end solution,” John said.

Have you got more questions on GOV.AU? Provide feedback via the Alpha prototype at gov.au/alpha.

Acquia Funds Community Development of Drupal Modules [March 24, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, March 24, 2016
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ITWire

Boston-based open source company Acquia has announced that it will provide US$500,000 to the community around the content management system Drupal, in order to help in the development of modules that add additional functionality.

Drupal is free software developed originally by Belgian Dries Buytaert (seen above) and released under the GNU General Public Licence. The Acquia move has been prompted by the rapid take-up of version 8 of Drupal and the funding will go towards modules for this version.

As with many free and open source applications, a community has developed around Drupal, contributing code, modules and advice. Acquia makes its money by selling and servicing websites built with Drupal, with customisations aplenty to suit the customer in question.

In 2014, it announced a deal with the Australian federal government to build websites and has developed a modified version of Drupal which is called GovCMS.

The Module Acceleration Program has so far seen about 30 modules developed and another 20 are targeted in the next two months. Participants in the program include module maintainers and contributors, freelancers, and development agencies with Drupal practices.

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Sky-high Response to Cloud Platform [March 22, 2016]

Submitted on
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
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PSNews

The cloud-based open-source initiative, govCMS has attracted more than double the number of Agencies and Departments it initially estimated in its first year of operation after

According to the private supplier, Acquia who provided the platform on which the initiative was based, the Drupal-powered website entered its second year supporting 58 sites for 28 Agencies.

govCMS provides the foundation for Government open source innovation, including its use of shared, cloud-based services, and its unification and transformation of the digital connection between itself and the general public.

According to Acquia, the govCMS team has an ethos that the adoption of govCMS should reflect the quality of the service, and as a result, the service is not mandated.

It said however, that the Department and Agencies that adopt govCMS would benefit from a standardised procurement model and achieve compliance for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and other compliance requirements.


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Burda Launches Worldwide Coalition of Industry Partners and Releases Open-Source Online CMS Platform [March 21, 2016]

Submitted on
Monday, March 21, 2016
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PRNewswire
  • The first online Content Management System by publishers, for publishers
  • International community of industry partners, publishers, and developers
  • Free to use and continuously improved through community collaboration

MUNICH, March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- International media group Hubert Burda Media makes its Drupal 8 based Thunder Content Management System (CMS) available online as a free open-source platform for use and further development by other publishers. With this move, Burda joins forces with sector and industry partners including Acquia, Facebook, Microsoft, nexx.tv, Riddle.com and Valiton, aiming to develop the best open-source CMS platform for publishers. Burda believes that in today's world, successful media offerings result from the right combination of quality journalism and technology expertise. For the media company, this meant future-proofing its Content Management System by developing Thunder, an open-source system based on leading-edge technology, now available online free of charge for use and continuous development.

Board Member Philipp Welte explains, "Success in this new era of publishing can only be achieved by keeping up with the lightning speed of technological progress. No publisher in the world can do this alone, so we have to leave our historical silos behind, share our knowledge, cross traditional boundaries and learn how to work in a much more connected way. Thunder symbolizes this new era of collaboration: We have invested a lot of development effort, but we are not keeping the results for ourselves. We are putting it out there, to the core of our industry, so everyone can contribute to its continued enhancement. Our aim is to work with our partners to develop the best technology foundation for publishing the best journalistic content."

Worldwide collaboration - The Thunder Coalition

With the launch of the new CMS, Burda is creating a worldwide coalition for publishers, industry partners, and developers. At the core of the community is a team of publishing experts and developers led by Ingo Rübe, CTO for Burda's German publishing operations, and initiator of Thunder. This team will also be responsible for coordinating the continuous development and enhancement of Thunder. Ingo Rübe explains, "A CMS is no longer a strategic differentiator, especially in the consumer's perception. Thunder helps media companies break free from expensive legacy systems, and focus on the development of their content and brands."

Innovative CMS technology enriched by custom features for publishers

Thunder is a Drupal distribution based on the new version 8 of the framework, released in November 2015. It features a range of publisher-centric Drupal modules with custom enhancements, including tools for interactive content, IVW counting tools, single sign-on (SSO) and Responsive Web Design (RWD). With RWD, the layout of both the front-end (websites) and the back-end (authoring tool) automatically adjusts to each user's device. Thunder users also benefit from a whole range of channel- and feature-specific enhancements through collaboration with industry partners such as Acquia, Facebook, Microsoft, nexx.tv, and Riddle.com.

Burda have already migrated their Playboy and Instyle brands to Thunder. Florian Boitin, Editor-in-Chief of Playboy, remembers: "Over six months ago, we were one of the first brands to integrate Thunder into our editorial workflows, and we are proud to have laid the foundations for something really big. We were able to contribute to the design of Thunder by leveraging our long-standing experience of different CMS platforms. We are now reaping the benefits of further development efforts by the community, both in terms of technology and content."

Thunder was released under the GNU General Public License, meaning the software can be used and enhanced by all users free of charge.

For more information about Thunder, available extensions, and the Thunder Coalition, visit http://www.thunder.org.

About Thunder

Thunder is a web-based, open-source, Drupal 8-based Content Management System setting new standards for publishers' CMS. As members of the Thunder Coalition, publishers, industry partners, and developers can leverage worldwide community collaboration to implement Thunder, build custom extensions and share them with the Coalition to further enhance Thunder. Thunder was designed by Hubert Burda Media in 2016.

Cloud First Strategy Turns 5 Years Old [March 18, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, March 18, 2016
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FierceGovernmentIT

By Eli Richman

The government's "cloud first" strategy turned five years old last month, marking a period when many agencies overhauled services by consolidating their data centers and moving programs to the cloud.

"This has ushered in a new era of government IT characterized by an unprecedented ability to scale, continuous deployment, agile development and standardized, effective security practices," said Teresa Carlson, vice president of worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services.

In February 2011, then-Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra posted a new strategy for agencies to reform their IT practices and adopt a "cloud-first" strategy. Kundra hoped the move would help reduce federal data center costs by 30 percent, or $7.2 billion at the time.

Since then, cloud technologies and offerings have advanced considerably, and agencies have graduated from the 78 services originally identified for the cloud to full departments and major websites.

For instance, the public facing websites for DOJ, DHS, NIH, NIST, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Transportation are all hosted on the Drupal-based govCMS platform, noted Dan Katz, technical director of the public sector at Acquia.

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Can We Save the Open Web? [March 17, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, March 17, 2016
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The Daily Dot

By Dries Buytaert

The Web felt very different 15 years ago, when I founded Drupal, an open source tool for building websites. Just 7 percent of the population had Internet access, there were only around 20 million websites, and Google was a small, private company. Facebook, Twitter, and other household tech names were years away from being founded. In these early days, the Web felt like a free space that belonged to everyone. No one company dominated as an access point or controlled what users saw. This is what I call the "open Web."

But the Internet has changed drastically over the last decade. It’s become a more closed Web. Rather than a decentralized and open landscape, many people today primarily interact with a handful of large platform companies online, such as Google or Facebook. To many users, Facebook and Google aren’t part of the Internet—they are the Internet.

I worry that some of these platforms will make us lose the original integrity and freedom of the open Web. While the closed Web has succeeded in ease-of-use and reach, it raises a lot of ethical questions about how much control individuals have over their own experiences. And, as people generate data from more and more devices and interactions, this lack of control could get very personal, very quickly, without anyone’s consent. So I’ve thought through a few potential ideas to bring back the good things about the open Web. These ideas are by no means comprehensive; I believe we need to try a variety of approaches before we find one that really works.

Double-edged sword
It’s undeniable that companies like Google and Facebook have made the Web much easier to use and helped bring billions online. They’ve provided a forum for people to connect and share information, and they’ve had a huge impact on human rights and civil liberties. These are many things for which we should applaud them.

But their scale is also concerning. For example, Chinese messaging service Wechat (which is somewhat like Twitter) recently used its popularity to limit market choice. The company banned access to Uber to drive more business to their own ride-hailing service. Meanwhile, Facebook engineered limited web access in developing economies with its Free Basics service. Touted in India and other emerging markets as a solution to help underserved citizens come online, Free Basics allows viewers access to only a handful of pre-approved websites (including, of course, Facebook). India recently banned Free Basics and similar services, claiming that these restricted Web offerings violated the essential rules of net neutrality.

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Acquia Honored in 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service [Jan. 21, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 21, 2016
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Stevie Awards

Acquia is honored to be among the finalists for the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service. Acquia was recognized in three categories in this year's competition.

Global Sales Team of the Year: Acquia’s global sales team serves as strategic consultants for the company’s largest customers, helping these organizations plan and develop their digital strategies. The team was formed in 2014, and this is Acquia’s first Stevie's honors in this category.

Worldwide Sales Executive of the Year: Tim Bertrand, Acquia’s chief revenue officer, is a Stevie finalist for the second consecutive year; he earned silver in 2015 for his leadership and strategic direction at the company.

Frontline Customer Service Team of the Year: This is the third consecutive year that Acquia’s global support team has been named a finalist; our support experts were honored with bronze medals in both 2014 and 2015 for their commitment to Acquia’s customers.

Every year the Stevie Awards hosts several programs around the world to honor business achievement, including the International Business Awards and American Business Awards. This year marks the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service competition, in which more than 2,100 nominations from organizations in virtually every industry were evaluated. Finalists will be awarded either gold, silver, or bronze awards during a gala banquet on Friday, March 4 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Happy Birthday, Drupal! [Jan. 15, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 15, 2016
,
Drupal Association

Happy birthday, Drupal community! Today is the Drupal project's 15th birthday. In honor of the upcoming year, we've put together a retrospective of some of the incredible changes and accomplishments we made together last year.

2015 was a landmark year for Drupal: between three DrupalCons, the release of Drupal 8, and numerous improvements to Drupal.org, there's a lot for everyone to be proud of. None of our amazing accomplishments would been possible without our community of passionate Drupalers. As you read the infographic, we invite you take a moment to congratulate yourself for all the ways that you've helped make the project strong. Because Drupal's 15th birthday isn't just an accomplishment for the software—it's an occasion to celebrate everyone who has helped get the entire project and the community to where they are today.


See the infographic.

A Front-end JavaScript Framework in Drupal Core? [Jan. 14, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 14, 2016
,
LullaBot

This Episode's Guests

Preston So
Development Manager at Acquia Labs, in Acquia’s the office of the CTO. Preston has contributed to Spark, a Drupal distribution for an improved authoring experience, and done work on researching front-end frameworks for Drupal core.

Sally Young
Developer at Lullabot, and principal architect of the decoupled lullabot.com. Also, we hear she can cut a mad rug.

Drew Bolles
Front-end Developer at Chapter Three. Spirit Animal is a White Tiger!

Matt & Mike talk with Acquia's Preston So, Chapter Three's Drew Bolles, and Lullabot's own Sally Young on the possibility of a front-end JavaScript framework in Drupal core, and what that would look like.

Go to the episode.

Boston Unveils Pilot of Overhauled City Website to Solicit Feedback [Jan. 14, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 14, 2016
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StateScoop

By Alex Koma

Boston’s IT staff is collecting public feedback on the newly released pilot version of “boston.gov,” taking a big step closer to launching an overhauled city website.

The city launched the pilot version of the site last week, giving users a sneak peek at three of its new pages and offering them a chance to vote on what sections of the site they’d like to see next.

“On the one hand, it’s a little scary to be developing in public,” Lauren Lockwood, the city’s chief digital officer, told StateScoop. “But our hope is that by exposing ourselves and bringing people into the process that we end up with a better product.”

With roughly a million words on the current website’s 20,000 different pages, Lockwood said the city has been hoping to clean up the clutter with a new site for a while now. She said her team started the process by surveying people “inside and outside city hall” to figure out what about the site needed to change, then set about collaborating with a design firm and a developer to create the new Web portal.

“We set out to create a website that’s not only more useful for our residents, but also more welcoming,” Lockwood said.

Indeed, Lockwood noted that her team sought to build a site that’s “equal parts warm and official,” and also “act as a helpful human.”

Part of that process involves simplifying the content on the website — Lockwood said the current site contains huge blocks of text that require an 11th grade reading level to understand, something the city is hoping to change with the redesign.

The pilot site doesn’t contain many pages, but Lockwood feels the test version embodies many of those attributes her team was striving to attain. The homepage contains links to three initial topic pages for users to explore: “starting a business,” “having a car in the city” and “winter is coming.”

Each page contains information that’s “department agnostic,” Lockwood said, so that users don’t have to hunt on each agency’s page to find what they’re looking for.

“If you want to learn about winter preparedness, rather than going to the parking website to learn about parking garages and the 311 site to learn about how to report cases of unshoveled sidewalks and on and on and on, now we include that in one place,” Lockwood said.

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Life Fitness Globally Deploys Lionbridge onDemand [Jan. 12, 2016]

Submitted on
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
,
Lionbridge Technologies

Global staff receive 24/7 automated quotes and seamless integration with the Acquia Platform

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Jan. 12, 2016 -- Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LIOX) the world's leading provider of global content and communication solutions announced customer Life Fitness recently completed a global rollout of Lionbridge onDemand, including a fully automated integration to the Acquia Platform. Now dozens of Life Fitness departments across geographies all manage their translation needs 24/7 via Lionbridge onDemand.

"Translation was a painful, often delayed process before Lionbridge onDemand," said Bob Quast, Vice President Global Marketing & International Market Development, Life Fitness. "With onDemand we have eliminated delays and manual activity for quotes, status updates, file transfers, purchase orders and invoices. Content review is also streamlined through Lionbridge's Global Brand Voice and Review Workflow, which also allows us to manage brand consistency. The automated connection to Acquia flows web content into the same easy process. Lionbridge onDemand is a great solution for us."

Translation needs at Life Fitness span numerous content types including: websites, videos, software applications, mobile apps, technical documentation, marketing collateral, legal, graphics and more. Lionbridge onDemand supports all of these content types via a walk-up interface that makes managing the translation process easy for all users. For its web presence, Life Fitness integrated Lionbridge onDemand using a newly developed connector with the Acquia Platform, a scalable cloud platform for building, delivering and optimizing digital experiences.

"Life Fitness is responding to the demands of a highly engaged customer base, creating immersive, engaging digital experiences for their brand loyalists and fitness enthusiasts alike," said Joe Wykes, VP of Global Channels, Acquia. "By integrating Lionbridge onDemand with the Acquia Platform, Life Fitness is accelerating the delivery of content and campaigns across markets to help build its global business."

Lionbridge onDemand tripled its revenue in 2015 as clients like Life Fitness find great value in its ability to streamline the entire translation process.

"We are appreciative of our relationship with Life Fitness as they realize the value of Lionbridge onDemand and the Acquia connection," said Marc Osofsky, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Global Offerings, Lionbridge. "The joint Acquia-Lionbridge onDemand solution is an ideal fit for many companies who need an accessible, scalable, online solution to manage distributed translation needs throughout the organization."

For more information, please visit lionbridgeondemand.com.

About Lionbridge
Lionbridge enables more than 800 world-leading brands to increase international market share, speed adoption of products and effectively engage their customers in local markets worldwide. Using our innovative cloud technology platforms and our global crowd of more than 100,000 professional cloud workers, we provide translation, online marketing, global content management and application testing solutions that ensure global brand consistency, local relevancy and technical usability across all touch points of the customer lifecycle. Based in Waltham, Mass., Lionbridge maintains solution centers in 27 countries. To learn more, visit www.lionbridge.com.

About Acquia
Acquia is the digital experience company. Intuit, Warner Music Group and Stanford University are among the more than 4,000 organizations that are transforming their digital businesses with Acquia's open cloud platform. Global 2000 enterprises, government agencies and NGOs rely on Acquia to create new revenue streams, lower costs, and engage audiences more deeply through content, community, commerce and context. For more information visit www.acquia.com.

How Tech Giants Spread Open Source Programming Love [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 8, 2016
,
CIO

By Paul Rubens

"Go is a programming language designed by Google to help solve Google's problems." So said Rob Pike, one of the Go language's designers.

That may be the case, yet the open source language is increasingly being adopted by enterprises around the world for building applications at large scale.

The story is similar with Erlang. Originally a proprietary language developed by Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson for handling massive volumes of telephone switching data on its hardware, Erlang was open sourced and is now rapidly gaining popularity for large-scale applications.

And there's more. Facebook developed GraphQL and BigPipe technologies in response to the particular challenges it faces running a social network processing hundreds of billions of API calls a day for over 1.5 billion active members. Today these technologies have been open sourced, and are used by the likes of content management project Drupal to make its mobile web pages load faster.

You may have noticed a common theme here: Programming languages and technologies that were developed by industry and Internet giants – specifically to meet the unique challenges they faced operating at massive scale – have been open sourced and are now being adopted by regular-sized enterprises for everyday use.

Part of the reason for this is a natural technology trickle-down effect, according to Mark Driver, a research director at Gartner. "Today's leading edge super high tech is tomorrow’s standard product," he says. "Also, large companies (like Google and Facebook) understand the collaborative nature of open computing and the dynamics that drive the Internet. So it's natural that they share these technologies and strengthen the industry around them."

What’s in it for Google?

It may also be that companies like Google share their technology for more self-centered reasons. For example, in November Google open sourced its TensorFlow artificial intelligence and machine learning engine. This needs to be fed huge amounts of data to work effectively.

[Related: 8 key open source software foundations (and what makes them key)]

By giving away its TensorFlow technology, Google’s allowing everyone to benefit from the technology and any improvements that are made to the code. But as the owner of vast amounts of data gathered through the many services it offers, Google is in a position to benefit more than most from improvements made to the technology by the open source community.

There's also a considerable marketing benefit in promoting a language like Go that's available to all, Driver believes. "Sponsoring a project like Go can help Google drive the recruitment of engineers," he says. "It can lead to a virtuous circle of innovation."

The trickle-down effect is particularly important because the challenges that Google, Facebook and other Internet giants faced a few years ago building large-scale applications with huge numbers of concurrent users are exactly the ones faced today by thousands of established companies and startups offering web- or mobile-based applications to large numbers of their customers.

These companies are discovering that many of the problems they’re facing have already been solved.

Acquia is just such a company. It uses Go for its software-as-a-service offering that provides enterprise services for the Drupal content management system. "More and more companies are becoming data companies, handling data from customers, mobile devices and so on,” says Christian Yates, a vice president at Acquia.

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City Unveils Easier-to-use Test Website [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 8, 2016
,
Boston Globe

By Meghan E. Irons

Web users trying to traverse the frustrating maze of that is the city’s website, take note.

A newly redesigned site — brighter, bolder, bluer — is here, though for now, it’s just a test.

Think big city with a heart, a warmer, gentler one. No acronyms.

“Beautifully designed, delightful to use, and thoroughly useful,’’ boasts the site in its debut Thursday at pilot.boston.gov.

The site features a large image with soft blue background and bold white letters reading “Boston.gov.”

It is a result of months of planning and input from the public, said the city’s chief digital officer, Lauren Lockwood.

An audit of more than 20,000 indexed pages suggested that using the site was a drag, she said.

“We heard from residents who mentioned how difficult it can be to search through departments and find the right information on the current website,” Lockwood said.

The pilot site previews topics pages, based on how readers think about an issue. Three topics are on the site for now — starting a business, having a car in the city, and winter preparedness.

The city’s digital team will eventually add more topics and information from the various city departments.

The redesign is being led by the city’s digital team, along with IDEO, an award-winning global design company, and Boston-based Acquia, a local technology provider. The cost of the redesign is $880,800, officials said.

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Boston Streamlines its Site for Mobile [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 8, 2016
,
GCN

By Amanda Ziadeh

Boston is giving residents a peek at its redesigned Boston.gov site, pilot.boston.gov, to show the responsive design and new functionality and to encourage citizen feedback while the website continues to be developed.

The pilot site’s responsive design optimizes content to fit all screens -- especially important with today's diversity of mobile devices -- and currently features topic pages to make it easier to find tools and resources. The redesigned site will also include a more robust menu and navigation bar to help users efficiently and intuitively find what they need, the city said.

The revamp comes in response to an audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages on the current site, which made it difficult for residents to find information and navigate their way around online services. The pilot’s design addresses this by using curated content from various departments to reduce the need to visit multiple sites. It also presents content on topical pages organized on how a resident thinks about a certain issue – like owning a car or starting a business.

"We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city,” said CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge.

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Boston Mayor Launches Pilot Site to Show Progress Toward Redesigned City Website [Jan. 7, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 7, 2016
,
City of Boston

BOSTON - Thursday, January 7, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced an important step in the redesign of the City of Boston's website - the launch of the Boston.gov pilot site (pilot.boston.gov). The pilot site provides a preview of the new design and encourages feedback as the broader Boston.gov site is developed.

"This is an exciting chapter in the redesign of the City's website," said Mayor Walsh. "We want to give the people of our City a look at the work we're doing and a voice in the process as we continue to build a more welcoming and useful website."

At the start of the project, the City spoke to constituents who shared valuable feedback about how to improve the city's website. This feedback process will continue throughout the duration of the pilot, and residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the redesign through the feedback navigation on the pilot website.

"Millions of people use digital channels to engage with City government every year," said Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient, and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city."

An audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages illustrated the need to make it easier to find information. The goal of the redesigned City website is to help users navigate the many resources provided by the City in a way that is simple and intuitive.

The pilot site – which is optimized to fit all screen sizes, including smartphones – showcases the City’s digital brand and previews a new way of organizing content through “topics.” Topic pages feature curated content based on how a resident thinks about an issue, such as owning a car or winter preparedness.

"We heard from residents who mentioned how difficult it can be to search through departments and find the right information on the current website," said Chief Digital Officer Lauren Lockwood. "By pulling content from various departments into Topic pages, we're able to organize resources in a more intuitive way."

While the pilot site focuses on topic pages as a new way to discover tools and resources, the redesigned City website will eventually include additional ways for residents to easily find the content they need, including a more robust menu and navigation bar.

The pilot website is a work in progress and will continue to grow and change in the coming months with an expected full launch of the new Boston.gov site later in 2016. In the meantime, the current website (www.CityofBoston.gov) will operate as usual.

The effort is being led by the City's Digital Team in partnership with IDEO, an award-winning global design firm, and Boston-based Acquia, a leading local technology provider. To receive updates on this project, sign up at Next.Boston.gov.

About the City of Boston's Digital Team
The Digital Team is part of the City's Department of Innovation and Technology and focuses on delivering digital services that are welcoming, highly useful, and designed around the needs of the Boston community.
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One Year In: New York Website Redesign Drives Major Traffic Gains [Dec. 23, 2015]

Submitted on
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
,
StateScoop

By Alex Koma

A year after New York state unveiled its first website redesign in more than 15 years, state officials say the update was well worth the wait.

Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is touting the new NY.gov‘s record-breaking traffic numbers: The website’s page views quadrupled to 17.2 million from 3.9 million a year ago, according to the state’s Office of Information Technology Services. The office also reported seeing double the number of users overall and triple the amount of mobile traffic, and noted the rate at which users leave the site after visiting just one page has declined by more than 20 percent.

Melanie Galinski, the site’s general manager, attributed the bump to significant improvements on the site.

Before the update, “any time we wanted to make a change it required an engineer,” Galinski told StateScoop. “We had a broken search, it was impossible to use on any type of mobile device, full of dead links. It just definitely had the out of touch, out of date, out of order type feel.”

Now she said the site uses responsive design, a more powerful search function and a section that “customizes information around government to the citizen” based on where they live in the state. There were editorial changes as well: The new site lays out available government services in plain language and groups them by category rather than by the agency that runs them, making transactions easier to complete and keeping people coming back for more.

Overall, it’s easier to use, she said.

“I think people aren’t as frustrated as they used to be,” Galinski said.

For the redesign, Galinski and her team decided to work with software-as-a-service company Acquia to use open-source web content management platform Drupal. The changes the team made were crucial for ramping up the site’s mobile traffic, Galinski said. Her staff recorded more than 1.9 million mobile sessions over the last year with the new site, compared to just over 524,000 a year ago. She credits the site’s responsive design for ending the “pinching and squeezing” required to use the old site on a mobile device, and building that traffic in the process.

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The Reverse Web and What Government Must Do to Adapt [Dec. 22, 2015]

Submitted on
Thursday, December 22, 2016
,
The Mandarin

Governments and public agencies should begin thinking of themselves not as depositories of information for citizens to access at will, but instead reposition as technology platforms providing useful insights before citizens realise they are even needed.

This is the position of Drupal creator and Acquia co-founder and CTO Dries Buytaert, who says governments should take heed of the gradual rise of the “reverse web”, wherein fewer citizens actively search for the information they need and instead are provided that information, along with relevant insights and calls to action, by platforms with knowledge of their behaviour.

“I think governments need to think of themselves as platforms,” said Buytaert. “They need to offer a core set of capabilities available to government departments, and then enable agencies to innovate and transform services, or build on top of that platform.”

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How to Build Boston's Next Anchor Company [Dec. 15, 2015]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 14, 2016
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BostInno

By Kyle Alspach

Plenty of entrepreneurs start companies with the goal of building something small, and then selling. Acquia, which now has 720 employees, and Localytics, which employs 250, were clearly never those types of companies. So it’s no coincidence that they're two of Boston’s best candidates for becoming our next “anchor” companies—firms that grow to large scale, stay independent over the long term, hire people in droves and stimulate the formation of new startups. Acquia CEO Tom Erickson recalled an early conversation he had with company co-founder and CTO Dries Buytaert: “He said to me, ‘I want to build a company that is the only company I ever work in.’”

I’ve spoken with Erickson and Localytics co-founder/CEO Raj Aggarwal in recent weeks to find out how they’ve gotten gone about building for the long term even when they were still very much in startup mode. As Boston continues to ponder whether our companies aren't achieving their full potential by selling out too early—as suggested by a recent MIT study—their insights should be of use to many in the tech community here.

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Acquia Plans Expansion in Australia, Asia-Pac Region [Dec. 15, 2015]

Submitted on
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
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ITWire

By Sam Varghese

The Boston-based open source company Acquia is expanding its operations in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region as it seeks to explore more business opportunities, the company's general manager for Asia Pacific Japan, Graham Sowden, says.

Sowden was in Melbourne on Tuesday on a staff-recruitment drive; during a brief one-on-one, he said that he had hired the company's first employee in Melbourne and shortly hoped to double the number. Acquia has a presence in Sydney where there are 12 staff, while Brisbane is home to 13 employees.

Last year the company, which specialises in the Drupal content management system, gained a big foothold in the Australian market by winning a contract to develop up to 450 websites for the federal government. As with many of its other big contracts, the resulting CMS will have its own characteristics which are peculiar to the task at hand; in the case of the Australian contract, it will be known as govCMS. There are eight staff working in Canberra and dedicated to liaising with people there for the govCMS work.

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Everything Old is New Again: How Software Development Will Come Full Circle in 2016 [Dec. 14, 2015]

Submitted on
Monday, December 14, 2015
,
Information Age

By Chris Stone

The history of software technologies has shown two things: trends of the past tend to crop up again, and they always inspire greater innovation

Products of the future have consistently been created through the collaboration and evolution of former concepts. Technologies seen as commonplace today, from the internet to smartphones, all formed out of complex ideas from the past. Because of this, often the best way to predict the future is by taking a look at the past.

Many trends and technologies have emerged and disrupted their respective industries over the last few years. Now, though, these innovations are ready to really take off and make their mark on a larger scale.

Here is what three of the past’s most revolutionary trends will evolve into throughout the next year.

1. What was once activity directory will be federation identity management on the web

Novell and Microsoft built directory services and active directory in the late 1990s as databases to manage identity and keep track of users’ profiles and access to services within networks.

They were mostly used within single networks or organisations. Novell, along with Netscape, helped create LDAP and then tried to federate web-based information with internal directory information on individuals, but the idea happened before way its time.

There are similar “namespaces” or directories for the web (for example, PHP Namespaces). But now, other technical components (for example, complex matching algorithms pairing data with directory information) are finally falling into place to use identity to deliver personalised information to individuals.

The larger question for 2016 is how active of a role the consumer will want to take in managing his or her own identity. 2016 could be the year personal information brokering (PIM) reaches a fever pitch, before adoption.

2. What was once service-oriented architecture will be microservices and distributed computing (container) environments

This idea was all about how application components could provide services to other components via a network’s communication protocol. It was thought to be “killed by the cloud”, or it largely languished because cloud infrastructure wasn’t mature enough at the time – depends on who you ask.

Microservices are applications broken down into small, loosely coupled pieces. Using microservices, businesses can automate out of large-scale failure by isolating problems, and save on computing resources.

In 2016, more companies will run microservices in a containerised environment and automatically isolate components when they fail or need maintenance.

Using these environments, the cloud will become like a utility, and companies can begin to charge for their services based on usage, much like electricity or water.

3. What was once PointCast/push technology will be the ‘big reverse‘

PointCast was before its time as bandwidth and network capabilities weren’t up to the job of delivering personalised content to the user in a “push” broadcast format – in other words, it failed a lot.

Management and large-scale economic challenges plagued the company and ultimately the idea was acquired by Idealab and disappeared.

With more devices shipping without browsers and the volume of data getting infinitely larger on the web, there will be a return to delivering the right information to the right user at the right time in the right context.

With short-format messaging and notifications rising to prominence on mobile devices, the website won’t look like a website for long – it could change as soon as next year like a “big reverse of the web”. The Internet of Things is nothing more than an instantiation of this concept.

When it comes to technology, dwelling on the past is encouraged. By understanding trends of the past – what worked and what didn’t – businesses can better refine their approach moving forward.

2016 will be the year when ideas from technology’s distant and more recent past will step into the spotlight and show their true potential. But even then, the innovation won’t stop.

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