Joomlagov.info Gives Worldwide View of Joomla for Government

Drupal may be the official content management system (CMS) of the White House, but Joomlagov.info is a tool that could help us investigate whether or not Joomla may be the government CMS of the entire world. This innovative project not only provides a global view of how widespread Joomla happens to be in the public sphere, it also serves as an example of the CMS as a world-scale information portal and also how Joomla allows an ambitious project such as this to be brought live very rapidly.

Using regional usage data from the Joomla Wiki, the developers of Joomlagov.info were able to extract enough information for nearly 1800 Joomla government websites. With sophisticated scripting the team ingested the data and was able to create a screen capture for each site. In order to facilitate site updates and ensure better management of such a large volume of mined data, the team trusted in the third-party content engine K2.

The results are fairly impressive. The website currently contains information for over 3200 Joomla-driven government portals, each of which can be browsed on a world map driven by the Google Maps API. From the top level view, the map displays numbered circles that represent the total Joomla instances in a given region. From these circles the user can drill down to smaller and smaller levels until reaching an individual website.

Despite the fairly large amount of data, the website manages to run with little perceptible lag. The development team achieved optimal performance with the site with minification and compression of the css/html and also by caching the site data to a size of roughly 60MB.

This website is effective for educational purposes, Joomla evangelism, demonstrating how to create global-scale subject matter maps with small-scale resources, and also just satisfying the pure curiosity of finding out where the Joomla hot-spots around the world happen to lie.

Understanding The Role Of Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise content management is a term people in small to medium size businesses rarely encounter, but one that is just as critical to them as it is in large corporations. Enterprise content management, also known as ECM, is an overall strategy for managing your documents, video, photographs, graphics, engineering drawings, and any other types of content your company uses. It encompasses categories of data management like document imagining, database management, photo sharing, and any other types of record or data management.

Your ECM strategy will determine many critical factors for your company’s data systems. It covers areas of concern like:

– Data Security
– Storage Systems
– Archival Methods
– Data Conversion
– Data Access Systems

Those are just a few of the elements covered in a good ECM strategy. The best place to start to determine your company’s content management plan is to inventory all types of data used in your company. Do not rely on what your Information Technology department believes. Take time to visit with department heads in every department in your company. Visit with advertising, marketing, sales, manufacturing, customer support, finance, human resources, engineering, and any other departments your company has.

You should expect a few surprises as your inventory your company’s data and content usage. It is common to discover departments have setup their own small internal content management systems, even if it is informally. You need to document how the data is stored, used, and secured. This information is crucial to creating a strategy that is embraced and will succeed in your company. These steps are essential for small companies as much as large companies. Small companies frequently have fewer controls on their data and content management allowing departments to dictate their own systems. It is time to bring them all under a single management umbrella.

Why is it so important to take all of these diverse sources of content and bring them into a single system? It saves time, money, and work. How often have you watched as departments point fingers at each other about information that was not shared on a project? Most of the time the individuals involved in these disputes did not intentionally fail to share information. They had no idea they other department did not have access or that they even needed the data. When you have a well-designed content management system for your enterprise, finding the content you need becomes easy.

Instead of spending hours tracking down people in other departments and trying the find the pictures, drawings, or documents, you do a quick search of the system and locate what you need. You many discover you do not have security clearance for the documents, but at least you know where they are and have a process you can use to request access.

Sharing content between departments becomes easier, too. You do not need to email documents and other content. You setup shared folders and projects in your management system. Everyone involved in the project can check out the materials, add annotations, request further information, and create new content all within the project area of the system. Instead of battles between departments about data ownership and project management, you have a unified platform that encourages cross department engagement and makes sharing the data necessary for a project simple.

Your employees can restrict the data they share to individual people, entire departments, or groups of people. Utilizing groups, you can setup security structures that cross department and location boundaries allowing greater collaboration and faster workflow on important projects.

What kind of software is required to build your enterprise content management system? A couple popular choices are Microsoft’s Sharepoint and Oracle’s Content Management. There is a variety of other companies offering top quality solutions, including several open source solutions. You choice of content management system should be based on evaluating the types of data and what other types of systems your enterprise uses.

As an example, if your company exclusively uses Microsoft products likes Microsoft Office, Exchange Server, Outlook, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Project, and Windows Servers, then it would make perfect sense to look at Microsoft Sharepoint for your content management purposes. The integration of products makes implementation easier. Additionally, your IT staff is already trained to work with Microsoft products and support reducing their learning curve on the system.

We want to express a small word of warning. Just because your company uses Microsoft does not always mean it is the best solution. Take extra time to evaluate your types of content carefully. Some systems excel working with images, drawings, and videos, while other systems excel working with documents, web content, and other data. Determine what your company needs to accomplish and then evaluate features.

You should wait to evaluate prices until the end of your evaluation of enterprise content management systems. The purchase price of the software is just a small portion of your overall cost. Ease of implementation, ease of use, and annual fees can make a more expensive software platform the most cost effective solution. Look carefully at the costs for ongoing maintenance of the system. Ask your IT department for an estimate on installation costs and management costs of maintaining the software.

The toughest job is to determine which system your company employees will accept and use. Your real return on investment comes when your employees start using your content management system to improve their efficiency and reduce the cost of storing and managing content. Take a close look at how the software functions from a standard user’s perspective. Is the interface something they are familiar with, or that they can learn quickly. Does the software offer good help screens or tutorials?

Enterprise content management software can help your company take control of your documents, images, and other content that is currently scattered throughout the company. Choosing the right software is a careful balance of evaluating costs, functionality, and ease of use. If you follow our few suggestions to inventory your types of data, evaluate your current software platforms, and test with real employees, you will choose a system that gives you a fast return on investment.

Three Benefits Of Content Management Systems

Almost all blogs these days make use of one of the popular content management systems (CMS). Beyond that, many very high profile websites also use CMS. For online journalists, it’s basically a requirement to understand how to use one or more of the many CMS solutions.

People who are newcomers to online content production might wonder why CMS is so popular. Here are a few reasons.

1. CMS separates content from design. Sometimes, webmasters want to change the look and feel of their websites without changing the actual content. In other words, all of the words in the articles that have been posted will remain the same, but the actual design of the website (including color scheme, organization, and framework imagery) will change. One of the biggest advantages to CMS is that webmasters can change the design without altering any of the content. The two items are kept totally separate, so one can be altered without affecting the other. This is an excellent time saver.

2. CMS facilitates ease of editing. The popular CMS solutions (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) offer editing that doesn’t require the article author to understand the complexities associated with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The author uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to author articles. This means that the author can use bold, italics, etc. without being forced to use markup. The author literally sees the article in the editor as it would appear to a reader on the screen.

3. CMS is often offered freely. A lot of web host providers offer one or more CMS applications for free as part of the subscription price. This means that when someone opts to start a website, and utilizes the services of a web host provider, that person already has a CMS available to use. In other words, price is rarely a reason to notuse a CMS.

Upcoming Web Content Management Trends

Content management is a huge market that companies are investing in now more than ever. The reason is that by investing in a solid web content management system they are able to get more customers for less money and ultimately drive up their return on investment.

Because the production of information is flowing at a rate never before seen in the history of mankind, managing tat information and keeping it organized has become a priority that is at the forefront of many companies’ minds.

Therefore, the web content management industry will continue to see massive growth in sales because more and more companies will be needing new, more effective systems to replace the older, obsolete ones.

Workers will also greatly benefit from a better management of the content that is used at the company where they work. By gaining easier access to the information as well as more efficient ways of sorting through it they will be able to be more productive and generate more revenue for their employers.

The fact is that out of all the content that is produced today, well over half of it is only in digital form. What’s more is that ratio of digital to printed content is only going to keep growing as time goes by.

But even though digital content takes up much less physical space than the more traditional printed content, it is easier to get lost in the sheer amount of it. Therefore keeping it organized will become a more important priority than printed content ever needed. It’s really easy to make a mess when there is more information available to shuffle around.

One of the expected trends is that the prices of content management systems will grow massively in the coming years. Some studies estimate that growth at as high as fifteen percent. The reason for that expected growth is simple; more and more companies are being ushered into the digital world and are in dire need of a way to manage all of their content and files.

What’s more is that the growth won’t just come from companies that are new to using content management systems. Once again the expectation is that almost a third of the companies that are using older systems will be looking to upgrade the way they manage their content. Their hope is to make their processes more efficient and of course increase their overall revenue.

But integrating any new technology requires massive amounts of planning and preparation on the part of the companies. Most businesses have thousands upon thousands of files that will have to get transferred from their old system into their new one. The difficulty in this task is to do it without interrupting the everyday operations of the company.

Another potential problem that companies who are looking to purchase a new CMS will have to face is the fact that not all are created equal. The third party enterprises that create and setup these management systems aren’t all of equal quality and competency.

Some horror stories of businesses purchasing content management systems for millions of dollars only to find out that their purchase was poorly optimized and limited the scope of the activities that they could use it for. What’s worse is that in some cases, the actual provider of the CMS went out of business which left the company who bought it from them alone and without support.

The result is that countless companies who have bought bad systems ended up having to start over again and purchase brand new solutions. That not only means more costs in the form of buying the system, but also in planning its integration as well as the transfer from the old to the new.

But beyond simply going for better systems in general, these new systems will be required to adapt to the ever changing landscape of delivery platforms. There is a constant stream of new devices coming out from tablets, to phones to net books.

Therefore the trend in content management will be that the systems used will need to be highly adaptable and fluid in their design. This will be essential for all the companies who want to reach their target audience regardless if they use a more traditional computer or the newest tablet device.

In addition to the physical devices used to deliver the content, the focus on the ever expanding social media world will be equally important. This means that companies will absolutely have to get a firm grasp and establish clear strategies on how to best use the various social networks to drive customers and repeat business.

But a problem that companies will face on the social media level is that the users of those networks are easily distracted by the barrage of advertisements and distractions that are presented to them. Therefore to keep the attention of the prospective customer, the content delivered will absolutely have to be of higher quality.

Also, the content delivered will have to come at a faster pace. People are consuming information at a faster rate than ever before. That means that maintaining engagement will require more than just quality but also frequency.

The real challenge will be in how all of these new channels of information will be integrated together to create a seamless experience for the user. In addition to that, the said experience will have to be tailored in a way that doesn’t detract the user from the main purpose of the businesses’ web presence, which is to make more sales.

Finally, all of this information will have to be presented in a way that is accessible and looks good on the variety of devices available. This will be a constantly evolving challenge as new types of phones and devices are constantly coming out.

There might even be massive changes on the horizon in terms of the devices used by customers, as hinted by products like the google glasses. Companies will have to be constantly on their toes to make sure that they are tailoring their web content management systems to take advantage of each and every marketing avenue that they can.

Creating a Better Workplace through Effective Activity Streams for Intranet Software

One of the most promising new trends for workplace collaboration is the adoption and eventual maturity of activity streams. At a basic level we can think of activity streams as the differentiators that turned Facebook and Twitter into two of the most widely used online services in the world. However, in the context of business intranet software activity streams have the potential to be much more than social news feeds transposed to the workplace.

Consultant Bertrand Duperrin laments that 2013 will likely not see enough integration of effective activity streams into digital intranets. Duperrin considers activity streams to have tremendous future value in workplace systems as they centralize information access and create greater potential to improve situational awareness. However, activity streams as they are currently implemented tend to be coupled too tightly with social networks and draw too much from email, which is already a primary alert.

Similarly, CMS Wire has observed that traditional workplace structure is breaking down: the distribution and proliferation of projects are not as well defined by process or by business awareness as they once were. Unless there is an accompanying shift in intranet system technology, this situation will contribute to increased chaos and inefficiency in enterprise.

Many social software vendors integrate personal newsfeed-inspired features into their products. This step is part of the necessary phase of acclimating employees with the new tools, though it is certainly not the only step needed. The continued evolution of the activity stream in the social intranet environment must see innovations such as “APIs allowing any system to publish activities into the activity stream,” going as far as integrateing mobile sensors and enterprise social graphs in order to allow employees to make sense of the emergent patterns that appear in the chaotic digital workplace.

DotNetNuke for Web Content Management

The most popular web content management systems (CMS) run upon a web stack that reflects their origins as having evolved out of predominant open source web-technologies. Apache, MySQL, and PHP (which generally run on Linux but are not constrained to it) are the foundation of the most widely-known CMS platforms because they were the most effective way for web enthusiasts to get working websites online as the internet was gaining mainstream popularity.

DotNetNuke is an odd player in the CMS world – it is runs on top of ASP.NET and uses SQL Server for its database backend. Using Microsoft proprietary technologies for a website is an option that many developers may have the tendency to shun, but DotNetNuke is fully-featured, available through a free community edition (with enterprise licensing options for official support and higher-grade features), and has been regarded as easy to use despite its many powerful features. As far as advantages that DotNetNuke offers in the world of CMS, we can examine its scalability, hosting options, and administration features.

Scalability

By running on top of Microsoft’s server stack, DotNetNuke inherently gives itself a wide range. It is more than suitable for the type of private, small-scale website that a developer would launch with Worpress, Drupal, or Joomla, but it is also more than suitable for integrating with a corporate intranet and interacting with an array of internal enterprise systems. For instance, DotNetNuke intertwines very nicely with Active Directory memberships and roles due to its foundation of ASP.NET.

Hosting Options

Though DotNetNuke runs on a foundation that is not as familiar to many hardcore web developers as the WAMP/LAMP stack, the proliferation of hosting providers that offer push-button installs and management of CMS instances tend to make the underlying web architecture a moot point. Similar to the major open source CMS offerings, there are a number of providers dedicated to hosting a DotNetNuke implementation.

Administration

Ultimately, an administrator is the true end-user of a CMS and the ability to manage it can be a make-or-break. Fortunately, DotNetNuke tends to get high marks in this regard. One reason for this is that it allows granular security settings, such as password protection for individual modules in a page. Another is because it allows an administrator to support multiple websites from one account.