My first Drupal Meetup

Last night, I took the opportunity to spend some time with the Drupal community at a Twin-Cities Drupal Meetup. My trip to Minneapolis for the meetup was on the tail-end of a 1300 mile drive. Those miles covered a drive that looped me south to the state of Missouri and then eventually back north. My activities during the past week ranged from sleeping in the Missouri woods at an old scout cabin with outhouse included...to having conversations in Minnesota with some of Drupal's brightest and most active members.

Windows Vista equals Windows ME

I have a long history of using Windows and Linux systems at my place of work. I'm not into Windows bashing as the operating system and other Microsoft software historically has been a much needed standard for the business world. When my workplace had a choice of either installing a Windows 2003 server or a Linux server to support administrative functions, I chose Windows over Linux. However, as much as I wanted to see Windows Vista succeed in the office, I just don't see a future with Vista. Vista reminds me too much of Windows ME.

Plone Professional Development Book

Last October, Packt Publishing sent me one of their latest books on the Plone CMS, Professional Plone Development. This is a book I had been saving for review until I had a chance to install and use Plone myself. Plone is one of those CMS that I've really wanted to learn more about by installing it on the server myself. Unfortunately, too many things on my "I want" list have had to compete with my "I need" list and I never got around to installing Plone. With no Plone on the server, I unfortunately never got around to reviewing the Plone book written by Martin Aspeli either.

This book is aimed at "developers who want to build content-centric web applications leveraging Plone’s proven user interface and flexible infrastructure". Given the fact that I haven't installed Plone myself, I can't honestly give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the book. However, what I can do is talk a little about the book and let you decide for yourself if this book is worthy of your hard earned money.

Revealing numbers from Alfresco regarding the enterprise stack

Alfresco Software released a press release on the results of a survey by them intended to help determine "how companies evaluate and deploy open source and proprietary software stacks in the enterprise". There is some very interesting numbers summarized in the press release that should be of interest to not only using those Alfresco products, but to almost anyone using enterprise software. Some of the more interesting numbers and statistics pulled from the study:

  • Operating system: “Users evaluate on a Windows laptop and deploy on Linux” – 41% of evaluations were on Windows, dropping to 26% for deployments, whereas 51% of deployments were on Linux.

  • Linux: “Ubuntu and Red Hat pull away, SUSE remains flat by comparison in the US” – Ubuntu 24%, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 21%.

  • Windows: “Users stick with XP and 2003, Vista lags at 2%” – XP 63%, Windows 2003 28%.

  • Databases: “Sun still shines on MySQL” – MySQL 60%, Oracle 14%, MS SQL Server 13%.

I especially find it interesting that while open source MySQL is the dominate database used on the enterprise, two propriety database systems (Oracle and MS SQL) follow. I wonder where PostGresSQL falls on the list? But wait, there are two points I want to make about this study.

First, the business world no longer survives solely on propriety software. Secondly, these numbers reflect something I've just concluded recently...those arguing for propriety-only or open source-only systems don't have a clue what is really going on in the world of IT today.

Another weekend with Drupal 6

Yesterday evening, I spent about two hours updating my site from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 RC 4 for another weekend test at my site. About 30 minutes was spent backing up the site and installing Drupal 6. The rest of my time was spent with tweaking things via Drupal's admin menus as well as looking at the contributed modules and themes available for D6. I'm currently using the Salamander theme and only two contributed modules, Image and CAPTCHA. I also spent some time placing snippets of PHP code in my blocks to replace many of the functions I was doing with Views. The end result is that with only two hours of work, I am just fine running CMSReport.com on Drupal 6

As I said last week, it's amazing how many people overlook the power of Drupal...even without its contributed modules. Yes, I'll be glad when the Views, Panels, and even the TinyMCE contributed modules are ready to use with Drupal 6. But I've always looked at contributed modules as modules of convenience and not necessity. I'm convinced that most people do not have to wait for Views to move onto Drupal 6. Views only automated a number of SQL tasks that can easily be done with PHP. Some Drupal users are going to object when I say it is "easy" because they are not PHP developers, but you know what, I'm not a PHP developer either. In fact, I'm kind of slow, but I seem to manage along just fine with D6.

As usual during this period of the development process, people are wondering if the new version of Drupal is ready to be released or if there will be another release candidate. Whether this is the last release candidate or not for Drupal 6 I'm not sure anyone can really say. All I will say is Drupal 6 feels ready to me.

LCMS ATutor 1.6 released

Recieved an e-mail a couple days ago from ATutor.ca that that there is a new version of ATutor available, version 1.6. ATutor is an open source learning content management system (LCMS or sometimes just LMS). As the project describest, with Atutor "educators can quickly assemble, package, and redistribute Web-based instructional content, easily import prepackaged content, and conduct their courses online. Students learn in an adaptive learning environment."

The two most significant changes with Atutor 1.6 include:

Is the term CMS holding you back?

Jeff WhatCott, Acquia, asked some important and thought provoking questions on his blog, "A Dormant Drupal Opportunity". While the post focuses on Drupal, I think the contents of his post can apply to almost any content management system (CMS) out there.

In the article, Jeff asks whether defining Drupal as a CMS does more harm than good in describing the scope of features Drupal has to offer. In his words, the term CMS is a "20th century term that completely undersells what Drupal is capable of" as social software and a means for collaboration. Considering I really didn't understand what a CMS was until the 21st century, I beg to differ that the term CMS is as ancient as he makes it sound. However, he is entirely correct...many of today's Web applications that we call a CMS, really are not just a CMS.

Jeff asks three questions in his post:

  1. Do you think we should put the CMS term to bed?
  2. Would it be possible to grab some of that team collaboration social software market opportunity for the Drupal community?
  3. Why isn’t there already a billion dollar Drupal services ecosystem for team collaboration? What’s missing?

While I appreciate comments here, please be sure to go over to Jeff's post and respond there too. In fact, if you only want to comment at one site...go there so we don't steal any of Jeff's "thunder". I've already made my comments at his site and I've attached my response to the above questions below.