Archive for the ‘Joomla’ Category

A key metric of success for the Joomla community

PICnet PenguinWith Joomla!Day Melbourne 2013 taking place this week down in Australia, and with my upcoming travel to speak at Joomla!Day India in early February 2013, I took a little time this weekend to reflect on the incredible success of the Joomla open source community.  There’s a lot that goes into an open source project that moves it from mediocrity to superstardom, not the least of which is actually the code that people enjoy writing and using.

In thinking about my presentation for Joomla!Day India, one key metric of success stood out amongst all others for the Joomla community:  empowerment.

In my relatively short 15 years in the open source world, I have yet to find another project that is able to as effectively strike the solid balance between attraction of new members that know little-to-nothing about software development, and the hardcore engineers looking to leverage a power web framework.  Based on my years within the Joomla project, and my term serving as a leader of it, I’ve come to realize that the key differentiator for me has been the community’s focus on empowering anyone to contribute.

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Easy content sharing with RSS feeds from your nonprofit website

RSS feed logo

RSS can be a little confusing.  I try to remember it like this: it’s a no-nonsense way to push content from a website, or pull content into a website. Read more »


Ushering in new era of open source evangelism

President Obama and Michelle ObamaWay back in 1999, when dinosaurs were roaming the planet, a friend of mine and I started off on a path that I’ve been lucky enough to keep walking for 14 years.  As students of public policy, we were eager to use technology to provide individuals and organizations with empowering tools to advance the cause of building a more open and just society.  From the beginning, we knew that open source software would be the necessary DNA running through our work’s blood.

Looking back at those early days, I’m incredibly humbled by the impact open source has had on my life and in our communities.  Now, older and slightly wiser, I’m excited to continue down that same path.  Our company’s flagship offerings (Non-Profit Soapbox and Soapbox Engage) heavily leverage open source software, giving us the headspace and time to focus on shaping software to best serve our community.

At the same time, I continue to find fulfillment in life by using my experience as a backdrop for evangelism of the open source communities that help us deliver services to those who need it most.  While this has recently lead to many hours on planes and trains far away from loved ones, I feel nearly compelled (in a good sense) to work alongside the incredible people building the hammers and nails the world needs to craft more effective and equitable software.

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Joomla!Day DC 2010 a huge success

After months in the making, the Joomla!Day DC 2010 was an amazing success. With 5 Joomla book authors, 2 members of Open Source Matters (OSM), 3 international speakers, and even 2 presidents (okay, one was looking a little thinner than normal), the event was destined to be a good show. With a final tally of 115 attendees, it was a terrific start to the Joomla!Day DC tradition.

PICnet brought the party back home to our office in Dupont Circle afterward, because, really, what’s a Joomla!Day without an after-party?  From what I understand, everyone still made their flights home the next day.

I thought I’d include a photo slideshow of the event, and I should be able to share my presentation and keynote video soon.  The planning for Joomla!Day DC 2011 should be getting started soon!


Ryan to keynote Joomla!Day DC

Joomla!Day DC 2010There’s few things I enjoy more in the Joomla! world than having the opportunity to meet members of the community.  Between session talks and evening drinks, the conversations are amazing.

I’ve been to Mongolia, South Africa, Brazil, and lots of places in between, and the stories I hear from the Joomla community are incredible.  People’s rich background of experience, their willingness to contribute, and excitement for the future keep fueling my tank as President of Open Source Matters (Joomla’s non-profit organization).

This weekend (Saturday, Oct 15, 2010), I get a chance to bring it back to the home crowd at Joomla!Day DC.  I’ll eloquently and diplomatically sum up my thoughts in two words:  I’m stoked.

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Video tours of J!Salesforce

We’ve been excited to see the popularity of our J!Salesforce integration tool between Joomla and (also available to all our Non-Profit Soapbox organizations!).  Some folks have been interested in seeing some videos to better understand what the tool can provide to Joomla Web sites.  Well, I made a little video tour of the administrator interface and the front-end search form builder to help provide a visual overview.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.

J!Salesforce Search Functionality Video Tour

J!Salesforce Administrator Video Tour


Salesforce user? Supercharge your CRM with J!Salesforce and foundation funding

Does your organization currently use Salesforce? Are you looking to get the most from your Salesforce application through innovative customization or integration with your website? If so, read on for important news that could supercharge your CRM!

Connect your website with Salesforce through J!Salesforce

PICnet offers J!Salesforce, an elegant and powerful tool that integrates your Soapbox/Joomla! website with your Salesforce install. This tool provides:

  • connectivity between Soapbox/Joomla! and the Contacts object in
  • Soapbox/Joomla! user registration with additional custom fields that auto-populate a corresponding new contact
  • profile updating with
  • search directory extension, providing a searchable interface of your Contacts object from through your Soapbox/Joomla! Web site (especially useful for membership directories)
  • a user-friendly, customizable and templateable search form, results page, and detailed view page for Contact records in Soapbox/Joomla!

Interested in implementing this on your site? Contact us today about tapping into the power of J!Salesforce. Foundation Grant Program: Technology Innovation 2010 Grants

Looking to expand your use of Salesforce? The Foundation is seeking to fund innovative proposals through its 2010 Grant Program. Through this program, they are soliciting applications that meet the following:

Technology Innovation grants will be awarded to visionary nonprofit organizations to enable their innovative use and development of technology. Successful applicants will demonstrate how the enhanced use of technology will support and improve their ability to effect their social change mission. Project proposals must represent responses to clearly identified needs and must outline a realistic plan for replication to the global nonprofit community.

Strength in numbers: Collaborative applications for a common solution

At PICnet, we’re huge fans of Salesforce and the power it has to transform an organization’s relationship with its clients, donors, and partners. This is why we created J!Salesforce. This is why we plan to expand its feature set in the future.

This is also why we are doing more than simply passing on the good news about the Foundation grant program. PICnet is currently reaching out to interested clients and other potential partners to facilitate a joint application that will center around expanding connectivity between Soapbox/Joomla! sites and Salesforce.  Our intention is to provide technical guidance to translate individual organizational goals into common coding tools in order to produce maximum benefit for multiple clients and an increased ability for the collaborators to submit a successful application that provides a “realistic plan for replication to the global nonprofit community.”

If you are interested in participating in this collaborative effort, please contact us today!

Not a Salesforce user but curious about becoming one?

Salesforce is the world’s most popular CRM.  What’s more, it is free to non-profit organizations through the Foundation.  Check out their program today to learn more about how this robust CRM can enhance your organization’s work.


Soapbox Site Launch: Prevention Institute

The Prevention Institute wanted to overhaul their website, which was a combination of a few different sites, but all had different site architectures. Working with our design partner and neighbor, FreeRange Graphics, PICnet streamlined the site’s navigation, making it more SEO and user friendly.

Prevention Institute was founded in 1997 to serve as a focal point for primary prevention practice—promoting policies, organizational practices, and collaborative efforts that improve health and quality of life. As a national non-profit organization, the Institute is committed to preventing illness and injury, to fostering health and social equity, and to building momentum for community prevention as an integral component of a quality health system. Prevention Institute synthesizes research and practice; develops prevention tools and frameworks; helps design and guide interdisciplinary partnerships; and conducts training and strategic consultation with government, foundations, and community-based organizations nationwide and internationally.

The entire staff at Prevention was super during the development process. I especially worked well with Annie Lyles, my main point of contact on the project. Annie is much more of a visual person than I am, so in order to communicate effectively, we even set up our own language to refer to the tools on the website. Because the timeline of the project was quite long, I definitely was able to establish a fun relationship with the team at Prevention.

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Another PICnet Soapbox Salon!

These days you can’t roam far in our non-profit world without hearing the buzz about “social networking” or “social media”.  Wherever you go, you can’t help but overhear people talking about Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools.

These services provide organizations a great way to connect with supporters and provide new channels for fund raising, but how can you best integrate these tools into your Web site for the maximum impact?  What are the best practices in tying your social networking strategy with your Web site communications strategy?

We’ll answer these question and more at the next Soapbox Salon!

PICnet’s Soapbox Salon Social Networking 101: Successful Strategies Connecting Soapbox with Twitter and Facebook

When: Thursday, March 18, 2010 Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm ET Where: PICnet’s DC Office – 1605 Connecticut Ave. 3rd Floor, Washington, DC (across the street from the Dupont Circle Metro station’s north exit) What:  You bring your questions, ideas, and lunch, and we’ll bring answers and refreshments.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 17 by clicking the link below and registering for the event.

Questions?  Contact Julie Dennis at or by calling (202) 585-0273.

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Thanks to all who attended the Soapbox Salon today to learn about successful strategies for connecting Soapbox with Twitter and Facebook. We’re happy to share the slides for the presentation here:

Our next Soapbox Salon is scheduled for May 13th. We’ll share more information here as the time approaches!


Julie Does Joomla!

Last week, I attended a beginner Joomla! training. As someone who doesn’t deal with Joomla! or Soapbox or much of the other projects that my colleagues do on a daily basis, this was a new experience for me.

I learned how to add articles online, connect websites (such as Google and YouTube) to the training website using Joomla’s wrapper feature, and was even able to start the design of my own site online!

I may not be a Joomla! wizard just yet, but I thought it was a great introduction to some of the cool stuff our PICnet team works on, and the information is invaluable to me better understanding Joomla and Soapbox.

Thanks to PICnet and the NOVA JUG for making this happen!