Acquia

Acquia Adds VPN to Drupal SaaS Service [Jan. 23, 2015]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 23 janvier 2015h
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IT Business Edge

By Mike Vizard

Acquia, a provider of a content management system (CMS) based on the open source Drupal project that is delivered as a service, has added a Cloud Shield virtual private network (VPN) designed to isolate access to applications running on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

Chris Stone, senior vice president of products and development at Acquia, says that as the CMS has evolved, IT organizations are not only building and deploying applications on top of Acquia, they are increasingly skipping the whole process of contracting individual cloud and networking services in favor of having Acquia perform those functions on their behalf.

As cloud computing becomes more complex, Stone says that many IT organizations have begun to realize that SaaS applications can essentially double as platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments where IT organizations can not only deploy applications, but eliminate many of the headaches associated with setting up cloud infrastructure on their own.

In addition, Stone notes that in the case of Acquia, many of the burdens associated with complying with any number of regulations are taken on by the SaaS application provider.

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Customers Might Hate Your Website, Here’s Why [Jan. 8, 2015]

Submitted on
jeudi, le 8 janvier 2015h
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Small Business Trends

By Annie Pilon

Your business website is not perfect. No matter how much you love it and think it represents your brand, there are people out there who hate it. It could be difficult to navigate. It could have annoying features. Or it could be something really trivial that just rubs users the wrong way. But whatever the reason, your goal should be to have your website bother as few people as possible.

While you certainly can’t please everyone, there are a few pretty common things that can annoy or anger online customers. Avoiding these pitfalls can go a long way toward getting more customers to actually like and appreciate your website. They could be simple issues that you have just overlooked.

Tom Wentworth, chief marketing officer at Acquia, recently outlined some of these common issues in a post on Mashable. One of the issues he mentions is slow load times. If a website takes more than a few seconds to load, many customers get annoyed and some even leave the site altogether.

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3 Lessons from New York's Website Redesign [Jan. 7, 2015]

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mercredi, le 7 janvier 2015h
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Government Technology

By Jason Shueh

After 10 months and hundreds of hours, New York state offers insights into what made its newest website a major success.

In 2013, the New York state website had lapsed into disrepair. For 15 years it was left relatively stagnant. Upkeep relegated to maintenance. Navigation tangled in rambling menus and redundant links, and was garbed in a coat of drab navy coloring. The website struggled to direct visitors to the state’s many agencies and battled with juggling a multiplicity of citizen-focused interactions.

As such, a key priority was to lay the old design to rest and revitalize the site with fresh functionality and a modern look. It’s one of the reasons Gov. Andrew Cuomo hired Rachel Haot, the state’s first deputy secretary for technology, in January of 2014. Cuomo sought a platform equipped to curate the site’s more than 3.7 million page views per month on NY.gov and more than 5.6 million annual page views on its popular Governor.ny.gov — a site dedicated to Cuomo’s activities and initiatives.

Already NY.gov shows significant returns: Visitor counts taken in its first month, from Nov. 12 to Dec.12, 2014, compared to 2013 show that unique visits increased from 244,597 in 2013 to 605,063 in 2014. Similarly, page views saw a bump from 313,170 in 2013 to 1.1 million in 2014. Within the governor’s site, unique visits increased from 213,963 to 347,023. Cuomo’s page views also rose by about 17.3 percent, boosting from 471,414 in 2013 to 553,085 post launch.

Taking time to flesh out details behind the near year-long project, Haot identified notable features and underscored three lessons learned.

1. IF IT’S BROKEN, KNOW SPECIFICS
Considering the site went 15 years without a major tune-up, it didn’t take a technologist to figure the site needed a fix. However, “fixing a website” is too broad a project description for meaningful change. Specifics were required. To bridge this gap, Haot said a collaborative assessment was made to review site analytics — to determine feature demand — and open doors for user testing and stakeholder input. What the team discovered was a clear need for a responsive design, one to accommodate mobile devices; shaving excessive information for quick access to services; engagement outlets through social media; and personalization.

“We really identified that the primary goals of the website were first to serve and perform all of those functions, and then secondly, to inform and explain government,” Haot said.

Other obscure yet critical improvements dealt with the American with Disabilities Act requirements and tailoring the site for the state’s diverse demographics. Pages had to be translated for non-English speaking residents — 70 languages total — and text contrast and size adjusted for the visually impaired. Last, Acquia was chosen as the tech firm to build the site with its open source content management system, Drupal, to eliminate laborious coding each time new content was added.

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No, Data Is Eating the World [Jan. 7, 2015]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 7 janvier 2015h
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Re/code

By Dries Buytaert

Marc Andreessen famously said that “software is eating the world.” While I certainly agree with Marc that software companies are redefining our economies, I believe that much of that technological shift is being driven by data. So, is the value of a business in the data, or in the software? I believe the value is increasingly more in the data, and not the software. Let’s investigate why:

Data-driven experiences
Netflix provides a great example of a data-driven, customer-centric company. By introducing streaming video, its software “ate” the traditional DVD business. But Netflix soon realized that its future wasn’t in the medium of delivery — it was in the wealth of data generated simply by people using the service. The day-to-day data generated by Netflix viewers provides a crucial ingredient to competing in the marketplace and defining the company’s mission: Improving the quality of the service.

To that end, Netflix uses passive data — the information gathered quietly in the background without disrupting users’ natural behaviors — to provide TV and movie recommendations, as well as to optimize the quality of services, such as streaming speed, playback quality, subtitles or closed captioning. Of course, Netflix subscribers can contribute active feedback to the company, such as movie reviews or feedback on the accuracy of a translation, but the true value of Netflix’s data is in the quiet, zero-effort observation that allows the company to optimize experiences with no friction or disruption to regular user behavior. In fact, the company even hosted several competitions to invent better algorithms for user ratings, with a winning prize of $1 million.

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Scaling Successful Companies and Nixing Noncompetes: Two Initiatives for 2015 [Dec. 29, 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 29 decembre 2015h
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BetaBoston

By Scott Kirsner

A group of local CEOs held a rather quiet meeting back in September. The invite-only conclave included the chief executives of public companies like iRobot, Constant Contact, and LogMeIn, as well as fast-growing startups like Fiksu, Formlabs, and Acquia. Governor Deval Patrick and Greg Bialecki, the secretary of housing and economic development, even showed up. The focus? How to help those startups grow into big successes.

The event was called the MassScale CEO Roundtable, and it took place at the offices of Communispace in Boston. (Communispace chairwoman Diane Hessan, now CEO of the Startup Institute, was among the attendees.) Scott Savitz of Data Point Capital, one of the prime movers behind the event, tells me that this was the second gathering. The first roundtable took place earlier in 2014 at LogMeIn, and the Mass Tech Hub Collaborative has been helping to organize the gatherings, along with people like Savitz; Andy Ory, former CEO of Acme Packet; Michael Greeley of the VC firm Foundation Medical; and iRobot CEO Colin Angle.

The sole purpose of MassScale is to focus on scaling startups into anchor companies — our next generation of EMCs, Akamais, and Wayfairs. According to a press release put out about Governor Patrick’s participation in the September meeting, “This industry dialogue begins to foster a culture that values and celebrates the scale-up of tech companies, and helps identify ways the state can support the conditions for their growth.” The group plans to continue meeting in 2015, though the next date hasn’t been set.

“The ultimate goal is to find ways to catalyze a culture for ‘scale-up’ in Massachusetts that is analogous to what already exists for ‘start-up,'” says Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which is supporting the initiative.

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Top Tips: Achieving Frictionless Technology [Nov. 20, 2014]

Submitted on
jeudi, le 20 novembre 2014h
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IDG Connect Marketers

We live in a world where technology is an all-encompassing constant, promising us a simpler, easier life. We now supposedly have whatever we want at our fingertips, instantly accessible, 24 hours a day. However, technology often fails to deliver on the hassle-free experience that is promised, slowing us down and forcing us to adapt how we work and live to the limitations of the technology rather than the technology adapting to us.

Marketers want to be able to create appealing, interesting content and drive customer engagement without technology dictating how this happens. If the technology used is too clunky and process driven then it makes completing any task harder and can actually prevent us from reacting quickly to new opportunities and market demands. If we can’t easily see and analyse the success, or otherwise, of a campaign then planning for future work becomes increasingly difficult.

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New York Unveils Redesigned Website [Nov. 12, 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 12 novembre 2014h
,
Wall Street Journal

New York state has revamped its long-outdated website, ny.gov, with an emphasis on color, big numbers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Last year, ny.gov and the governor’s website had 7 million page views, officials say. About 20% of traffic to the sites were through mobile devices. But the old site hadn’t been updated in 15 years and featured a drab dark navy background and overly-long menus for visitors to comb through.

The Cuomo administration appointed Rachel Haot as deputy secretary of technology in January, with the task of redesigning the neglected website and modernizing government access to state services. Ms. Haot had team of more than 100 people working on the website redesign over 10 months, she said.

The new ny.gov is an open source website that uses Drupal software and an Acquia cloud host, officials said. Code and Theory, a digital design agency that has led projects for Dr Pepper and Vogue, was a partner in the design, among others.

The guiding principle of the new ny.gov was to “put people first,” Ms. Haot said on Wednesday, shortly before the site’s launch at noon. “Customer service is our primary goal.”

The new site utilizes responsive web design; no matter the size of the screen, the page’s content adjusts to the size of the screen to make it mobile-friendly.

With the old site, Ms. Haot said, “there wasn’t really a clear direction to the user, ‘here is where you start.’ Everything kind of competed for your attention without actually giving you a clear options for where to move forward.”

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Spotting their Opening: Feds' Online Revamp Pits Drupal Against Proprietary Software Giants [Oct 27, 2014]

Submitted on
lundi, le 27 octobre 2014h
,
Ottawa Technology

As originally published in Ottawa Technology

By Adam Feibel

A massive revamp of the federal government’s online presence is expected to pit proprietary software giants against a growing number of open-source competitors.

The Government of Canada is currently under construction — or at least, its website is.

Last year, in an effort to consolidate the more than 1,500 federally owned URLs spanning some 100 departments, the Treasury Board announced it would be revamping the government’s web presence by limiting and standardizing the platforms and tools used to power its websites.

Now, we have Canada.ca – but not completely. The government debuted a prototype of the new website last December. With only a small percentage of its web pages moved over to the new address, it’s really a teaser of what’s to come. Most links still lead to existing departmental pages, but the point is to eventually eliminate the multitudinous gc.ca addresses and instead nestle them all under Canada.ca over the next four years.

First, they’ll have to pick a content management system (CMS) provider to carry out the task.

The government put out a request for information on Aug. 1 to gather information about what potential suppliers are able and unable to provide, whether there’s anything the government missed in its plan and whether companies would respond to a future request for proposals (RFP).

Multiple vendors responded to the request for information, and the department is now in the process of aggregating and analyzing it ahead of a full RFP, expected to come in the next few months.

The process is expected to draw proposals from tech giants such as Adobe and Oracle, but several smaller companies operating on an open-source content management platform called Drupal are hoping they can undercut the proprietary bidders.

FOREIGN ADOPTION
Unlike proprietary software, which is created and developed by a limited and relatively small team of programmers, open-source software is redistributed and constantly improved upon by a vast community of programmers who use the software under a free license.

Drupal is an open-source framework used as the back- end for roughly seven per cent of websites worldwide (the third most popular behind WordPress and Joomla), according to Open Source CMS.

It’s also become the CMS of choice for many of the world’s government organizations, powering the websites of the White House, the Government of Ontario, the City of Ottawa, and a smattering of outgoing gc.ca addresses.

“It’s hard today to argue that Drupal is not the de facto standard worldwide for government websites,” said Mathieu Weber, the Canadian director of Acquia, a Drupal software-as-a-service provider.

In September, the Australian government announced that it had chosen Acquia to handle a consolidation process very similar to Canada’s current project. The United Kingdom also went open source in 2012 with the consolidated gov.uk website.

Those in the local open-source sector have their fingers crossed that the Canadian federal government will officially join the Drupal ranks.

“If it’s not enough that it’s free, and ( that) it’s more leading- edge than proprietary, then at least we can say that all our neighbours are doing it,” said Chris Smith, chief executive officer of OPIN, an Ottawa-based enterprise content management systems provider that Mr. Smith said partnered with “one of the larger system integrators” and a support company to respond to the RFI this summer.

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
When the federal Treasury Board announced the government’s web consolidation plans last year, Acquia said it was prepared to lead the opensource community when the government asked for proposals.

Acquia submitted a response to the RFI, provided input on a draft RFP, and “remains actively involved with the national Drupal community in anticipation of the final RFP,” said Mr. Weber.

The Massachusetts-based company hasn’t been banging on Canada’s door every day, but the company has been steadily pushing Drupal locally and internationally.

“Acquia has invested selectively in a handful of markets where there’s a huge opportunity to leapfrog,” said Mr. Weber. “Canada is one of those countries.”

There are about a half- dozen Drupal-based companies in Ottawa alone. The community is strong, with regularly occurring events such as the annual DrupalCamp Ottawa, largely sponsored by Acquia, and the monthly DrupalYOW meetups.

Programmers cite a number of benefits, and some drawbacks, of running on Drupal and other open-source software. One of the main advantages is that problems have an easy fix, according to Steven Muegge, a professor with Carleton University’s technology innovation management program.

“All software has defects when it’s first written,” said Mr. Muegge. “When the source is available, it’s easier to detect those defects and do something about them. Others from the community can propose patches to correct those, and they get fixed faster.”

Open-source systems also mean there’s less lock-in to any particular vendor, he said. Mr. Weber added that a Drupal-based solution is “bar none the most secure and has the most eyes watching it,” to help avoid government web security crises. Perhaps above all else is the cost savings and local economy boost that come with open source.

“As a taxpayer, I very much want my government to be building systems on top of open source software,” said Mr. Muegge. “I believe it’s good for economic development, it opens the business up to smaller companies and entrepreneurs, and that’s a very important source for innovation in our economy.”

PROPRIETARY PULL
Drupal detractors tend to cite a steep learning curve, a lack of “backward compatibility” – the ability of a modern system to read files generated by its predecessors – and some potential usability headaches dependent upon one’s needs and specs, such as memory usage and coding type.

Those in favour of proprietary CMS argue that developers and managers whose jobs and revenues depend on the program are more accountable than open-source users in terms of consumer satisfaction, and that an open source CMS isn’t as worry-free as its proponents claim.

Shawn Cruise, vice-president of Adobe Systems Canada’s public sector, said in an e-mailed statement that “organizations should choose the technology that best fits their specific needs,” and that its proprietary CMS solution offers “the best choice for customers in both public and private sectors for web experience management, helping them control costs while keeping focus on their core business and mission.” Adobe did not indicate whether the company would be submitting a proposal for Canada.ca.

Asked whether Public Works and Government Services Canada, the contracting authority for the RFP, will be looking into an open source framework for the new website, a spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement that the Government of Canada will “consider all viable options.” The government won’t divulge information about vendors, but sources say both open-source and proprietary providers have responded to the request for information.
According to open-source developers, the future at Canada.ca looks good for them.

“The odds are pretty high, based on the way that other governments have realized the cost benefit,” said Mr. Smith. “I think if our government were to choose proprietary, it would be a surprise.”

La bêta de Drupal 8 est disponible sur Acquia Cloud Free [15 Octobre 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 15 octobre 2014h
,

Acquia, fournisseur de solutions et services dédiés à Drupal, annonce aujourd’hui la disponibilité d’une installation en un seul clic de la version bêta de Drupal 8 sur Acquia Cloud Free, sa plateforme gratuite de développement Drupal. Acquia Cloud Free offre une boite à outils complète conçue pour accélérer et simplifier le staging de code et de contenu via un workflow robuste.

Drupal 8 a été complètement réécrit en ajoutant un nouveau cadre orienté objet pour simplifier le développement. Fruit des efforts d’une communauté comptant quelques 2300 contributeurs, Drupal 8 apporte des améliorations majeures à l’expérience de création de contenu, des possibilités de développement depuis un terminal mobile et des fonctionnalités multilingues.
(Paru dans Programmez.com)

La bêta de Drupal 8 disponible sur Acquia Cloud Free [14 Octobre 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 14 octobre 2014h
,

La dernière version du CMS Open Source Drupal peut être testée en mode bêta dans la sandbox hébergée sur la plateforme cloud d'Acquia.

Acquia, la société fondée par le créateur de Drupal, vient d'annoncer que la version 8 du CMS Open Source était disponible sur Acquia Cloud Free, l'environnement de développement et de test gratuit qu'elle propose depuis un an sur sa plateforme Acquia Cloud. La solution Open Source de gestion de contenus web a été entièrement réécrite. Elle présente maintenant une architecture PHP orientée objet qui simplifie le développement, explique la société.
(Article paru dans LeMondeInformatique.fr)

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