Archive for the ‘CMS’ Category

Spot the Difference: Benefits of Upgrading to Soapbox 2

Since 2006, our robust Non-Profit Soapbox platform has served more than 350 organizations, empowering them with the quality, easy-to-use, flexible, affordable (we could go on…) web tools they need to carry out their missions. Soapbox has gone through several important milestones in its history:

2006: launch of the non-profit community’s very own hosted web platform, Soapbox 1.0, optimized for their specific needs, based on years of best practice captured by PICnetters

2008: launch of Soapbox 2.0, the next-generation of Soapbox goodness with a slew of hot new features: an upgraded CMS framework, integration with Google Analytics, human readable URLs, and more

2010: development of Soapbox integration with the world’s leading CRM tool, Non-profits are no longer left behind in the wake of technological advancements, and instead they now enjoy a full-fledged integration of a website CMS with Salesforce for donations, events, and more.

2011: beta launch of Soapbox Engage, bringing the power of Salesforce-integrated websites to the masses

Technology advances so quickly that sometimes it’s fun to stop and take a look back at how far we’ve come—for the web as a whole and for our beloved Soapbox platform in particular. Here’s a trip down memory lane for the recently upgraded Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) website. We’re super thrilled to have grown up alongside VWEA, and even more excited to upgrade them a new site! Read more »


Sharing lessons learned at Brazil’s Intercon 2009

The Brazilian technology community is bubbling with amazing energy, and I had a great opportunity to see it first-hand this past weekend.  On Saturday, I was asked to speak at Intercon 2009, an annual gathering of Web technologists in Brazil.  I’m excited to report back that the Brazilian community (especially those in the Joomla world) are heavily engaged in our open source technology ecology.

My presentation focused on open source content management systems (CMS) with two perspectives:  that of a company looking to invest in CMS software, and that of a business looking to build a solid business model based on providing services around open source CMS software.  I provided a little snapshot of PICnet’s history, moving from a pure consulting firm to one providing our flagship Non-Profit Soapbox product, while sharing some lessons learned and paths to success.

Ryan speaking at InterCon 2009

Many thanks go to our friends at iMasters, who put on this great conference, and who were gracious hosts during my stay in Sao Paulo.  I’m looking forward to next year’s event!


Worthy Wage: a worthy cause deserving a worthy website

ccw_thumbSince 1978, the Center for the Childcare Workforce (CCW) has served as the leading national organization in the call for improving childcare jobs. A program of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), CCW’s mission is to improve the quality of child care by upgrading the compensation, working conditions and training opportunities for child care teachers and family child care providers.

Every year on May 1st, CCW and AFT promote recognition of Worthy Wage Day by organizing a variety of activities to recognize and honor the dedication of early childhood educators and staff and to draw attention to their low wages and minimal benefits. This national day of awareness is just one of the many lasting effects of the Worthy Wage Campaign that CCW organized from 1991-1999.

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TechSoup asks “Why Joomla?” We answer.

It seems nearly every day, I read about a brewing debate to determine what’s “best” for non-profits:  Joomla!, Drupal, Plone, or WordPress.  To be honest, I really think this debate is about as useful as a debate about the “best” color in the rainbow.  So you can imagine my surprise when I read a quite useful introductory review of Joomla by Tess Gadwa in TechSoup on Friday.

After an introduction on CMSes, Tess dives into a key question that folks ask me nearly every day:  Why Joomla?  With a question like that, I couldn’t help but pen a blog entry.

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PICnet and penguins enjoy NTC 2009

In what was a terrific non-stop event, PICnetters from across the country descended on the 2009 Non-Profit Technology conference (NTC), April 26-28.

The events started with the Science Fair on Sunday, an opportunity to share with the community the offerings different companies and organizations have for the sector.  We at PICnet have tended to avoid the typical corporate booth, and instead opted for a little spin on the event.  Penguins, traveling more than 20,000 miles to make it to the NTC to remind folks the power of Joomla! and open source software!

PICnet NTC 2009 Science Fair Booth

PICnet NTC 2009 Science Fair Booth

It’s not an NTC with some help from our flightless friends from Antartica.  Despite the recession and the macro economic woes in their way, the penguins pushed north to San Francisco for another year of hijinks.  Nice to have Eben Moglen speaking to the NTC crowd the day of the penguin mass arrival.

PICnet penguins hold court at the NTC 2009

PICnet penguins hold court at the NTC 2009

With our focus on Joomla!, CMSes, and integrations, I wanted to make sure we had a chance to spread the word at a variety of sessions.  While at the NTC, I spoke at the following sessions (more follow-up soon!):

  • Joomla, Drupal, and Plone comparisons
  • CMS sewing circle
  • CRM sewing circle
  • CMS pain points session (great wiki information forthcoming)

We’ll be posting more of our feedback on the different sessions we attended and participated in shortly.  The NTC 2009 was yet another example of the terrific work of the NTEN team and the great leadership of Holly Ross!


PICnetters lending a hand in the SxSW CMS showdown

SxSW will play host to what can be considered a cage match of three powerhouse CMSes: Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.  Two PICnetters (myself and Kevin Devine) will be contributing our support and development skills to help complete a 100 hour project, as defined by the creators of the Ultimate Showdown of Content Management System Destiny (I’m betting the original reference is this catchy video).

Ultimate Showdown of CMS Destiny

This event will be taking place virtually during the next few weeks, but the panel presenting it will be held at SxSW 2009 on Monday, March 16th in Austin, Texas.

Amy Stephen is leading up the effort in the Joomla world, and she’ll be supported by a cast of Joomla experts, including Arno Zijstra and Stephen Fisher heading up design and usability, PICnetter Kevin and Amy focused on the application end of things, and Mitch Pirtle focusing on communications.

For those in the Twitter world, keep track of their work on the #joomlasxsw tag. Go to it, team Joomla!


Webinar provides non-profits introduction to Joomla

The Non-Profit Open Source Initiative’s (NOSI) Michelle Murrain hosted yours truly for the latest session the “Setting up a Joomla site for your organization” yesterday, providing an introductory tour of Joomla to those listening in from the non-profit community. The one hour sessions covered most of the basics, from installation, to managing content, and gave participants a better understanding of the overall Joomla community.

There’s something about having 20 Firefox tabs open without my computer crashing during a live training that makes me smile.

This is the first in a series of open source CMS sessions offered by NOSI’s Michelle Murrain, with webinars for Plone and Drupal coming soon. This series is a must watch for organizations looking for an informative introduction to the most popular open source CMSes.

This set of sessions is a terrific service of NTEN, which is specifically reaching out to the non-profit and open source worlds with their Free and Open Source Software Webinar Series.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the webinar, you can purchase the recording of the Webinar from NTEN.


Joomla PBF 2007 – Day 2

Joomla!As the sun sets on most of the bug squashing locations this afternoon, we in San Francisco are also winding down on what has been a tremendous community effort. In less than 48 hours, developers and testers around the globe have squashed more Joomla 1.5 bugs than we ever could have imagined.

What some thought would normally take 4 weeks was completed in just two days.

In San Francisco, we had a blast. Today brought us two additional community members, including Steve Reichgut (all the way from Tracy) and Ron Severdia. Their efforts brought our daily total of seven SF community members doing their best to help get 1.5 out the door. Helped by a good dosage of snacks provided graciously by Debbie, freshly brewed coffee, and a nice view of the SF bay from the PICnet SF corner window, developers went to town slaying the bugs.

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Joomla PBF 2007 – Day 1

JoomlaIt’s been a whirlwind on our first day of Joomla Pizza, Bugs, and Fun here. We’ve got three US cities connected, including San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York all bringing their best to join the Joomla fun. I had the joy of flying cross-country last night, and now am blogging for you live from the PICnet SF office where we’re hosting 6 of us Joomla bug crunchers.The day started off very smoothly, with DC and NY going online at 10am. Cold weather ain’t stopping us! We setup an IRC room for the main chat, and a secondary Skype chat room for us IRC delinquents. After realizing that we had the power to kick out the jams, we figured out that we needed to have a plan of attack for squashing these suckers effectively.

Wilco stepped up to the mic and called from the NY location to the DC location, and gave us some marching orders. In general, our goal was to make sure that we weren’t duplicating efforts on the patches. So, we created a Google doc, which allowed people to post which bug artefact they were working on, and then notify Wilco of the start of their work.

So far, things have gone much more smoothly than I had ever imagined. Big thanks to the likes of Wilco, Elin, Rob, Kenneth, and Louis for their long travels to be on the scene to give guidance to the community as we patch away. Even bigger props to the 39 community members around the world that have taken time from their Saturdays to make this a reality. And finally, to my fellow PICnetters, thank you for the donation of your time to make sure we’re rocking smoothly here.

More updates coming throughout the day! Photos after the jump.

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Joomla 1.5 RC 1 flies into the Joomlasphere

JoomlaIn what will be the beginning of a tidal shift in the Joomla community, Joomla 1.5 has reached the release candidate stage today with a simultaneous announcement at Joomla events in the US and Germany. In technology terms, a release candidate essentially means that unless fatal bugs or flaws are found, the software is fast-tracked into preparation for full stable release.

As one of the lead coordinators of the release, Wilco Jansens said, “We hope to go to RC2 (Release Candidate Two) early August and Stable should follow very quickly after. While working in the engine room over recent weeks, we knew we were on the brink of something great. Let the fireworks begin.”

At PICnet, our development team has recently hammering away at contributing patches to the Joomla 1.5 trunk, and we’re excited to see with our insight into the release project the professionalism and speed at which the Joomla Quality and Testing work group and core team have been squashing bugs. Joomla 1.5 will bring huge benefits in both efficiency and feature richness to our non-profit community, especially our Non-Profit Soapbox clients.