Archive for October, 2006

Zaadz: MySpace for the do-gooder set

ZaadzAt this week’s Not-for-Profit Webmaster Round Table, hosted by the illustrious David Milner from the Rainforest Alliance, I learned that MySpace is not just for teenagers anymore. In fact, some nonprofits have set up profiles on the site and staked out some territory among the frat boys and prom queens. There are problems, of course; you should choose your “friends” carefully; and it doesn’t make much sense that the site requires profiles to have an age and a gender. For instance, why is the Worthy Causes Foundation a 29-year-old female?

But the benefits so far seem likely to outweigh the risks. The Rainforest Alliance itself has a MySpace profile, and has collected more than 100 friends (although the World Wildlife Foundation seems the current belle of the MySpace ball — it’s MySpace profile features more friends than there are wild Pandas still roaming the earth).

But the feel of the MySpace — it’s still mostly about teens and music — is liable to turn some nonprofits off.

Enter to fill the niche. Zaadz is a social networking site for the do-gooder set. It has a distinct new-age feel, as a quick look at its most popular quote topics will indicate. But the site only allows individuals or organizations to join if they can explain “how [they're] committed to being the change.”

It’s got to be a better fit for most nonprofits. Check it out. And let us know how it works out.


Joomla wins best open source project at UK LinuxWorld, again!

Joomla leadership accepts award for best open source project.Barely one year after its start, Joomla once again has won the UK LinuxWorld’s award for best open source project. The achievement is a major victory for Johan and Louis, development leaders for the project, and a victory for the community which has grown dramatically after its start in August 2006.

When they’re not coding, these guys clean up well in their tuxes.

Obviously, we at PICnet have been big supporters not just of the lead developers, but also of the community, which is second to none in the open source world. We’re proud of this achievement, and look forward to continuing to contribute to this wonderful project.

Congratulations to the core team and the community, job well done. We’d highly recommend you take a second to Digg this: Digg It!


Joomla! is the trendy thing to do

I was recently checking out the cool Google Trends. I did a simple search to see the difference in the usage of the 4 major players in the CMS world (Joomla!, Mambo, Plone, and Drupal). If you look at the trend graph here you can see the split between Mambo and Joomla!. Drupal and Plone are nowhere close.

Google Trends for Joomla

Now this doesn’t say that Joomla! is better than any of the others, its just showing that more people search Google for Joomla!. It’s the popular one. But the trend with open source projects is that the more people like the project, the better it is.


Build Your Own Search Engine through Google.

Google Co Op LogoGoogle has now added the ability for its users to create their own search engine. Your ready made search engine will only pull search results from sites that you choose. Possible use could be for multisite search from your network of sites or searching of your favorite sites.

“This isn’t new – Rollyo, Eurekster and Yahoo already have similar products. But Google is also offering, as an option, to bundle the service with Google Adsense ads and share revenue with websites that embed the custom search engine into their site. Only Eurekster currently shares revenue with users. Yahoo’s product, which got a lot of press at launch, has barely been mentioned in the nearly three months since then.” ~


Leadership Loudoun launches new Soapbox site

Leadership LoudounWe are happy to announce the launch of a new web site for Leadership Loudoun, a nonprofit dedicated to training new generations of civic leaders in Loudoun County, VA. Most exciting for us, the site is built on our new Nonprofit Soapbox system. Most exciting for LL, on the other hand, is that they have a new, slick site that is easy to administer and a great deal, to boot.

And for those of you too lazy to click over to their About Us page, the organization is dedicated to providing training to civil leaders to create “developing a pool of leadership talent from which organizations may draw upon to meet it community service needs.”

We thank Leadership Loudoun selecting Nonprofit Soapbox, and congratulate them on the new site.


Open APIs – all talk and no walk?

Tomorrow at 10am is the great Open API event, hosted by N-TEN. You can follow along Friday, October 20, at 10:00 am Pacific time. You can listen in by calling 866-740-1260 and entering the passcode 3979000.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, I want to get down to business. I’m wondering if all this talk about open API’s is just a bunch of Web 2.0 mumbo-jumbo coming out of vendor’s mouths just to keep their clients feeling like they’re part of the hip Web crowd…and helping keep clients calm once they realize how potentially difficult it is (pre-open APIs) to share data outside the vendor’s silos.

In fact, I wonder if any of the vendors participating in this discussion tomorrow can explain how it’s in their best interest to make it easier for organizations to share data between different applications. All the talk and quotes I’ve seen on the N-TEN blog seem to be talking about the great benefits that non-profits would get from open API’s, but without there being a fiscal or competitive benefit for a company to invest time and energy into building these APIs, I’d say I’m skeptical as to exactly who, and how quickly , entrenched vendors will be opening up their databases for others to access remotely.

Yeah, Flickr, Google Maps, and others have shown the value of open APIs. But they win using open APIs for a different reason: they become “stickier”. In the pay-for-service model that all of these vendors follow, open APIs would seem to make accounting departments’ heads spin.

I’m very interested to see who talks the talk, and who walks the walk tomorrow.


J!DIA – Joomla and Democracy in Action together in harmony

J!DIAOne of our most interesting projects in the PICnet Labs is J!DIA, which brings together Joomla with the Democracy in Action database in ways in which we’ve never been able to achieve before.

Imagine the following situations that could make your members and supporters lives easier when interacting with your organization through your Joomla-based Web site:

  • allowing users to login and edit their DIA profile directly within Joomla
  • enabling members to be able to search a member’s only directory stored in the DIA database, all within Joomla and without any wrappers
  • adding new supporters in DIA database using Joomla, without needing to do so through the DIA headquarters
  • allowing users to login to Joomla and view all their past donations and events attended that are stored in DIA

One of our fearless Joomla developers, Chris Garvis, is very close to putting together what we call J!DIA. This component will provide never before seen access to the Democracy in Action system directly through an organization’s Web site. Before J!DIA was developed, most of the display of data in DIA, for most organizations, would need to be presented in the DIA headquarters via wrappers.

We’ve changed this paradigm for Joomla users, enabling the Joomla CMS and your Web site’s stylesheets control the output, look, and feel of the DIA data in a format you completely control.

We’re eager to get this out to the community as soon as possible, and once we have a proof of concept, we’ll let you know. But right now, know this: we’re about to make life much easier for Joomla administrators that are also using DIA.

And Non-Profit Soapbox users, you’ll be happy to know this will be included in all our Non-Profit Soapbox sites in the near future.

More details coming soon.


How Joomla 1.5 beta changes civil society

Joomla 1.5 BetaAlright, maybe alone Joomla 1.5 beta doesn’t really change civil society, but it does give us hope. I’ve seen this Joomla team go through a rollercoaster of a year. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was trying to go to my weekly softball game (go Cozimeks!), when I got news from Brian Teeman that the Mambo – Joomla split was happening. Nice to see my “renegade developers” Slashdot story is still up. That produces some good old cowboy imagery, doesn’t it? Well, in what’s barely been a year, the new team of trailblazers, lead by Johan Janssens, has produced a beta delivery that I believe will really turn up the creative juice in our community. And when I say community, I mean both our non-profit community, as well as the Joomla community.

I hope that through the beta review process, the entire Joomla community is able to contribute their comments as passionately as I and about 100 dedicated Joomla community members have done up to this point. Our work and comments have been hidden in corners of the community that average users don’t normally tread, but now I hope that the similar discussions (without the flames) brew in the coming weeks.

Thanks to Johan and Louis for your leadership in this 1.5 beta. Here’s to an enlightening feedback process!

P.S.: Johan, did you get Joomlasphere from my incessant blogosphere comments at LinuxWorld SF? =)


Joomla 1.5 Beta is finally here!!!!!!!

Joomla 1.5 Beta is finally out. Its been 1 year and some since they began coding. Johan said at German Joomla! Day that:

“this represents 127,000 lines of code and had this been a commercial venture, about 32 man years of effort equivalent to $1.7 million in wages.”

It’s a great system. I love to code in. Would make sense since this release is made for us developers. 1.6 will be more for the end user. Some of the cool features include Internationalization (UTF-8), FTP Filesystem Layer (will allow access to folders that are locked down from the webuser), WCAG Compliance (508 etc.), and a better separation of logic and presentation layer. More explained in the Roadmap. Can’t wait for this to become stable so PICnet will start using it.


Joomla is Secure!!

RobS over at Joomla just posted about the Joomla winning an award for security:

“During what is called the “Deface Realtime Compo” Competition up to 150 Security Specialists, hackers, and crackers bomarded the CMS with attacks for 2 days straight without success. Both Joomla! and PHP-Nuke were evaluated during the competition and both systems received positive evaluations. Along with the positive evaluation, we received a certification from the WebSecure Group, declaring that Joomla! was reliable and recommended for use.”

Read it here.