Islands and bridges, the building has begun

Not too long ago, I wrote a piece called Islands and bridges: why Soapbox will lead the way to CRM and CMS integration for non-profits, where I detailed our vision on breaking down the walls between important technology silos in the non-profit community.

At that time, we spoke only about content management systems (CMSes) and constituent relationship management (CRMs), and while feedback on the blog was quiet, offline we got an earful.

A full three months have passed since then, and I think it’s about time to open the lid on how our bridge engineers are laying down the first strong links between these islands. Especially with postings like that of Allan Benamer from the Non-Profit Tech Blog, where he writes about his favorite stack of stacks, it made me think a response to his post might be in order.

My dream application stack of stacks: salesforce.com -> Joomla!/Apache/Linux/mySQL -> RoR frontend to salesforce.com via ActiveSFDC/svn -> Chipin.com

He goes on to write:

Price: Despite the mix of for-profit and open-source vendors, it’s still free. However, this stack requires a lot of programmer know-how and is only recommended if you have in-house programmers. The cost in this solution is the labor cost.

Why the Ruby on Rails front-end? Well, RoR will get you to a clean finished state much faster than you would otherwise if you did a PHP to salesforce.com front-end. This is my dream application stack after all. Notice how I mix both open source and for-profit solutions right into one another. That’s right, this is an ultimately pragmatic stack. Get ‘er done is my motto. I only choose open-source solutions that have strong developer and consultancy support.

(Deep breath)

Everything here sounds great, doable, and gosh darn should have been done already. However, I do quarrel over the idea of using RoR to be a front-end to Salesforce.com. With our OSS delivery of J!Salesforce, I think that it would actually be easier to have a front-end to Salesforce.com through Joomla, especially since the hardest work has been done already.

So, what’s that leave us with? It seems that the Joomla CMS, or more specifically the Joomla framework, becomes the pivot point. It’s the flexible front-end that ties the systems together.

It’s the network of bridges. And that’s what I think Joomla’s untapped power lies.

The power of open source, combined with best of breed proprietary systems with open APIs give organizations the power they need combined with a price point they’re more likely to afford.

Which leads us back to the islands and bridges. The winning solutions at the end of this year won’t be those that try to pack as much under the hood as possible, but rather those that are most flexible and connect most effectively with other systems.

In short, the non-profit sector’s needs demand more choice, and that’s just what open source and open APIs can do.

Now if only there were some bridge builders out there…

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This entry was posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 at 11:30 pm and is filed under API, CMS, Joomla, nptech, open source, PHP, Salesforce.com. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Islands and bridges, the building has begun”

  1. [...] Ryan Ozimek’s piece “Islands and Bridges, the building has begun” is a great hallelujah to the power and importance of integration via open APIs.  It’s clear that PICnet and ONE/Northwest are drinking form the same cup, when Ryan writes: The power of open source, combined with best of breed proprietary systems with open APIs give organizations the power they need combined with a price point they’re more likely to afford.Which leads us back to the islands and bridges. The winning solutions at the end of this year won’t be those that try to pack as much under the hood as possible, but rather those that are most flexible and connect most effectively with other systems.In short, the non-profit sector’s needs demand more choice, and that’s just what open source and open APIs can do. [...]

  2. [...] Jon Stahl: Building Bridges By Yoda Ryan Ozimek’s piece “Islands and Bridges, the building has begun” is a great hallelujah to the power and importance of integration via open APIs.  It’s clear that PICnet and ONE/Northwest are drinking form the same cup, when Ryan writes: The power of open source, combined with best of breed proprietary systems with open APIs give organizations the power they need combined with a price point they’re more likely to afford. [...]

  3. Piet Nutbey says:

    Try and not to make it sound like you are building a SalesForce NORMAL Joomla integration, because you are not. A client of mine contacted you and what was made clear, normal Joomla websites with a normal SalesForce package will not be able to use your integration you claim you are working on. Stop the hoax and make clear what you are building will only fit a few dozen companies on the entire globe.

    And then wonder if those companies will ever run Joomla, or that their inhouse webdevelopers will have built their own CMS.

  4. Ryan Ozimek
    says:

    Hi Piet,

    Thanks again for your response. I think you’ll find that at least US non-profit organizations are able to receive the Enterprise version of Salesforce (the one that allows connections to their API) for free! You can learn more at http://www.salesforcefoundation.org, and should contact them to see if UK organizations might be able to have this functionality.

    With more than 1200 non-profit organizations using Salesforce in the first year of this offering, we believe that J!Salesforce will be a great option for those non-profit organizations taking advantage of this offering by Salesforce.com. We’re not too interested in working with large corporations, but we’re glad that organizations will be able to use our tool with their free version of Salesforce.com.

    Best, Ryan

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