While we're busy developing website applications and learning tools, we get a lot of satisfaction out of sharing pet applications and discoveries with our clients. As we're so immersed in new technologies, it's sometimes easy to forget how many great (often free) services there are out there that make life easier but that not everyone is aware of. So here are a couple of applications I have recently recommended to clients who had never heard of them. http://ifttt.com/ aka 'If this then that'.
When creating a website or application, it is common practice to complete the information architecture with a menu system. However, approaches to menus differ wildly and menus should be handled with extreme care, especially on larger content managed sites. We have recently been working on a site with many content items that have been housed in an enterprise level content management system (CMS). This CMS was built to enable easy insertion of content items into menus.
One of the strengths of Drupal is the energy and commitment of its community. I was reminded of this at the Drupal Science Camp in Cambridge last weekend.
Well organised with great facilities, the Camp offered sessions for newbies to seasoned developers/systems administrators. Oh, and a good night out in Cambridge, where we could get to know each other a bit better.
In this post I'm aiming to summarise the state of play of Drupal and Learning Management. At Sereno, we've either developed our own LMS funcionality from scratch, like advanced quizzing or content sharing tools, or relied on packages like Moodle to do the heavy lifting for us. So I'm interested in both 'just-enough' LMS functionality - especially where this can be seamlessly integrated to an existing Drupal sites, and also the potential of finding a more fully-fledged LMS toolset that's entirely built on Drupal so we no longer face the challenge of Moodle integration.
Setting up Drupal as an Apache Virtual Host is not much more complex than configuring any other website. But my goal today was to get rid of a few niggles. I wanted to force all traffic to a single URL - for example, always load 'www.example.co.uk' rather than 'example.co.uk' or anotherexample.co.uk.
Open Scholar has been developed by Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University. This impressive piece of Drupal-based software provides a rich feature set for institutions wishing to drive collaboration among educators. While this is primarily intended for academics, the ability to maintain multiple scholar profiles and sites means that you can quickly build interconnections between autonomous users - you don't need to think of them as 'academics' only.
I think a lot of development companies adhere to similar broad phases during project development. The number of phases and steps may differ but generally speaking they provide a structured approach to ensuring you and your client really understand and appreciate what your project is trying to achieve, and that you can follow the development process through in a controlled way to completion. By and large, within each phase of development, there are parameters for change - I've blogged about this previously.
A common theme you'll encounter with the Drupal community is openness. Sure, a lot of companies just use the great free software and don't put much if anything back. But active community members are passionate evangelists. The community takes the ideas of sharing, contribution and co-operation very seriously indeed. Community members tend to stick together and in some ways this reminds me of the mediaeval guilds, where a shared skill set and common interest bound groups of tradespeople tightly together.