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Archive for September 16th, 2007

Best Open Source CMS Out There… Getting Better…

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Drupal… Man! We love it at our web technology company. It is so powerful, flexible (strong technical customization is needed) and so usable for both us or our clients.

The current stable deployment is version 5.2 and now we are hearing version 6.0 beta 1 released for testing… Wow! The best is just going to get even better soon… (Best CMS is subjective of course but if are in the open source industry, you will definitely agree that Drupal is very powerful and very forward moving as the development are very active and it just keep getting better. Even IBM, after evaluating many open source CMS, decided to use Drupal for one of their deployment. Dell did the same thing on their IdeaStorm site. Nothing can suite all needs, but Drupal do come pretty close to that. Others open source CMS are like WordPress, eGroupWare, Joomla, Moodle, osCommerce, TYPO3… and more)

Here is the excerpt from the Drupal community:

After eight months of development, we are proud to announce the release of the first beta version of the Drupal 6.x family. This beta includes a tremendous number of new features and new programming APIs for both users and developers. We improved Drupal’s human language related features, interoperability with databases, logging solutions, sign on systems and also included an update notification module for improved security, so it becomes easier than ever to get up to date with the latest security and bug fixes.

It is important to note that this beta version should not be used on production sites. We’ve resolved most errors reported so far, but there are outstanding known issues and most likely some problems that have not been reported as of yet. It is expected that there will be at least one more beta version followed by at least one release candidate before Drupal 6.0 is ready to be packaged. You can help us reach the final release date sooner by testing this beta and providing feedback.

What’s new, what’s changed?

Installer

The new Drupal 6 experience starts with the installer, which has been highly improved. Now it guides you through the initial setup steps, so starting a new Drupal site get significantly easier. Configuration parameters that used to be all around the place are now prompted for during the install so there are far fewer steps to get the site configured.

 

Languages

You will notice the improved language features as well, in both the installer and throughout using Drupal. Right to left (RTL) languages are supported, interface translations are automatically imported, and you can translate your posts right from the built-in interface, without installing more modules.

 

OpenID

The OpenID client module has been added to core. This allows your users to sign on your site with their OpenID accounts.

 

Actions and triggers

A new Trigger module has been added to core. The Trigger module lets you assign flexible configurable actions to several events happening on your site (eg. send an email when a post gets published).

 

Update status

The highly popular Update status module is now in core. This informs you about the latest bug fix and security updates for modules and themes enabled on your site, so you can always keep your site secure and clean.

 

Menu system

The menu system was rewritten from scratch, making it much more efficient. The menu interface is nearly identical so aside from the performance improvements, you will only notice the other changes if you are a programmer.

 

Themeing

Themeing has been made more flexible and easier by moving most of PHPTemplate engine deeper into core. Default template files (.tpl.php) can now be implemented by modules and a handful have already been converted. If you don’t like the way something looks, just find the .tpl file, copy it to your theme, and change the HTML.

 

Book and Forum changes

The book module and forum module have been reworked from the ground up: it is now possible to have any type of content in forums (polls for example) and the book administration is simplified.

Lots of smaller touches are included in this release. Just to name a few improvements, Drupal 6 has password strength checking, post teasers are much easier to define and table headers are sticky for easy vertical scrolling. We also took a lot of care to improve the performance of this release: more data is cached, JavaScript files are aggregated, less PHP code is loaded for each page request, and so on.

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Written by gooddealz

September 16, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

Cool Search Engines…

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Microsoft Silverlight Demo Site, Tafiti. People should really look at this and see the potential of Silverlight Technology…

For finding song lyrics… using any words you remembered. ChizMax.

Written by gooddealz

September 16, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

The Secrets to Apple Success…

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Following up with a great article from Mike Elgan on Apple’s Growing Success which I blogged about in a couple of articles focusing on different great stuff that Apple is doing and what Microsoft can learn from… The Dawn of Touch Interface, Apple is the new bully, Make Windows Simpler, What a Respond, Loyalty vs Hostage

Another follow up article came from him on The 8 secrets that make Apple No. 1. Another great article and it is worth a great read. I will comment it shortly. Here are some excerpts:

Last week I wrote about how Apple’s growing success will trigger accusations that it is a monopolistic, copycat bully and why the company should be defended against such complaints. This week, I’ll discuss the secrets of Apple’s growing success and call on PC makers and consumer electronics companies to steal those secrets so they can start making better products.

Apple isn’t the biggest consumer electronics company, nor the most profitable. So what do I mean when I say it’s the No. 1 consumer electronics company?

Basically, you can divide consumer electronics companies into two groups: Apple, and everyone else. Apple really is that different. Its influence on global design is many orders of magnitude higher than its nearest competitors. It engenders customer loyalty significantly greater than that earned by any other company in the consumer electronics space. The Apple brand and awareness of its products in the general culture far exceed what you might expect, given the company’s actual sales.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is famous for a crazy video in which he yells, “I…love…this…company.” With Apple, it’s the customers who shout that.

It’s no accident, and it’s not a passing phenomenon. Apple knows something that other companies don’t. Here are the eight secrets that make Apple the best company in the industry.

Secret 1: Engineering supports design — no exceptions

Most companies bring designers in late in the product development process to create an experience “wrapper” around all the features and technologies the engineers and marketing people created.

At Apple, designers rule. Apple’s brilliant designers figure out in detail how the product will look, feel and work, and then the engineers are tasked to make it happen.

Years ago, Jeff Hawkins changed the world by creating the Palm Pilot. He designed it by walking around with a Palm Pilot-size block of wood, pretending to use the device. He took notes about what he wanted to do with the device and how he wanted to use it. He refused to be influenced by existing organizers.

By the time he gave the engineers their marching orders, the Palm Pilot was conceptually complete. He got massive push-back on it from his engineering team — “If we add six more buttons, we can make it faster…” — but the original conception prevailed, and an awesome product was born.

Palm seems to have lost this visionary approach to product design and is paying the price in the marketplace. Apple still has it.

Secret 2: Fewer is better

Far too many companies give too much power to market analysts as a substitute for product vision. One result is product oversegmentation that reflects the finely tailored targeting of a product to a specific market segment.

Sony, for example, just unveiled four new Blu-ray HDD recorders — four! — each with minor, largely irrelevant differences. The company obviously thinks consumers will dedicate an hour of their time just to consider Sony’s various Blu-ray options. In reality, eyes will glaze, and people will wander away, confused. Imagine if Sony poured all its energy into just one Blue-ray HDD recorder. You’d probably want it.

That’s what Apple does. It tries to develop the fewest possible number of products, each with the broadest possible appeal. Yes, there are multiple iPods, but feature overlap is close to zero, and it’s super easy to learn which product does what.

Look at the iPhone. Or OS X. Or any other product area. The experience of going into an Apple store provides a relief from product variation overload. You can pretty much try every product in the store in 30 minutes, not including content and accessories.

Microsoft should have learned this secret in January. Vista came in so many versions that online experts had to publish tables to explain what was for sale. Consumers still have no clue about the differences between the various versions. Buying Vista isn’t a thrill. It’s a homework assignment.

Let me make this extremely clear for all you companies out there that still don’t get it: All these subtle product variations create anxiety. And anxiety makes people not want your product. Fewer is better.

Secret 3: The experience is the product

Everyone knows this secret, but few actually employ it. But Apple is dead serious about this secret, even to the point of offering $35,000 to the city of Montreal to remove three parking meters in front of the Apple store there. The city refused, but this is how seriously Apple takes the Apple “experience.”

Another example is Apple’s packaging. The company’s products come in beautifully designed packaging with obviously expensive packaging materials and manuals. Compare that with Apple’s competitors, which see packaging as a place to save money or as an afterthought that doesn’t matter.

Why raise the price a few dollars and sell something in a better box? Because the box is part of the experience, and the experience is the product.

… Good stuff. Please read the original article for the remaining secrets.

Written by gooddealz

September 16, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Posted in News Only