Open Source in the Enterprise

Using open source in the enterprise—the question is no longer "if," but "how?" The low cost, easy access, and expansive license terms of open source are certainly attractive—especially since IT budgets have decreased 3-5% every year, while software costs have increased, and IT staffs have been tasked to create web services and pursue Web 2.0 initiatives.

 In a new report published by O'Reilly for CIOs, IT managers, and business owners who want to make smart decisions about deploying open source, you'll find:

  • The six primary drivers that lead companies to implement open source (sneak preview: "cost" is just one of them)
  • Three action plans for implementing open source in your organization that help you move from ad hoc use to a more formal and measurable approach
  • Surprising new data on open source's penetration into enterprise IT

Through research, interviews, and innovative data mining, Open Source in the Enterprise reveals how enterprises are leveraging open source software to save money, gain control, and innovate in an era of Doing More With Less.

http://radar.oreilly.com/research/os-enterprise-report.html

Animoto : create videos from images

remerber Monoslideshow's transition with Ken Burns effect ?  Well seems that making videos from images has gone one step further with Animoto, a web application that creates MTV-style videos with the click of a button.

Users simply choose a song and images, and upload them through a web based ajax interface. Animoto then automatically generates a unique video for them. No two videos are ever the same.

Many of the post-production techniques that the founders used while working as producers for MTV, Comedy Central & ABC are used in Animoto's patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence developed to think like an actual editor and director. The resulting video is produced in a widescreen format, containing the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer.

Animoto Productions is based in New York City with an office in San Francisco. More @ animoto.com

jobberbase : Neat PHP jobbase application

did they use a code generator ? Romanian developped JobberBase is so nicely coded that we would like to put a name on the framework that intiated this nice lightweight jobboard application. It won't bother with user registration or profile maintenance:  jobberbase is one of the simplest expression of job listing application, may be even too simple to be true. Great work has been put into the design of the frond and back using MVC paradigm, Jquery helpers and smarty templates. Good job. More @ http://www.jobberbase.com/

Laying text over title image in wordpress

Used by many news portals, the technique above is a great example of how to optimize layout of breaking news. We have gone the simple way with the image above, using a combination of Photoshop layers over a background image. The way it is implemented for WordPress platform by Derek Punsalan illustrates the power of wordpress custom fields, and also the limits of this input system. We would like to have image custom input fields, such as file browser or color selector. The popular custom field GUI plugin handles select, checkboxes and radio buttons but would require extensions to handle more advanced input types. There is hack on WordPress forums for that plugin  that handles Wysiwyg fields, but I would not expect it to be maintained over future versions of WordPress. The "More Fields" Plugin is a bit more flexible and is worth having a look at too.

Time management with rescue time

Ridiculously easy  time management & analytics : unlike stated by the name it wears, rescue time does not only manage timesheets. This free signup online service can also easily host project management with serious analytics letting you know instantly where you stand in terms of personal and group time management. Working without require you to tell what you're doing on your PC, rescue time will record which application you're using on your desktop and render the time spent according to keyword you've defined : "RescueTime really begins to sing once you've tagged the apps that you use most often. The tagging interface is designed to allow you to quickly label your untagged apps with the tags that make the most sense to you. We've found that you only need to tag a few dozen most-often-used apps to get exceptional value out of RescueTime".

http://www.rescuetime.com/

More on live grids : DHTMLXGRID

We 've covered Jquery, extjs and DOJO 's grid : even though they all cover a gerat amount of features, none of them opensource celebrities can compete with chaklf GPL half commercial DHTMLXGRID, that delivers all features you can expect from a modern HTML AJAX powered Grid : buffered data (unlimited scrolling), editable fields with rich in-cell editing, fixed multiline headers/footers, resizable, sortable and draggable columns, built-in filtering, searching and grouping capabilities. Numerous event handlers let you add necessary interactivity to grid-based interfaces .The only drawback to relying on such vendors is that one day -it's probably a matter of weeks- the opensource geeks will be up to date, including many more functions and compatibility guarantees. In the meanwhile, if you can't afford to wait, go for DHTMLXGRID with GPL license. If you plan to switch technologies, make sure your server side data delivery complies to standards datasources supported by most javascript grids, such as XML or JSON.

Webtrack and analyse visitors with woopra

If you're using google Analytics to track visitors on your website, you might have found that 24 hours delay is a bit long : that's the main drawback of this very popular web site anaysis service, provided by the famous google. In spite of its popularity, google analtyics has many challengers, among which woopra is a serious one as it performs instant analytics, including registered users follow up for popular applications such as worpdress. More than that, Woopra offers an API full of functions : real time notifications, instant chat with visitors, complex search algorithms within the statistics database. A good start for webmasters who want to dig deeper into the brain of their visitors. http://www.woopra.com/

Cuil Launches Biggest Search Engine on the Web

Did you have a look at your server logs these last few days ? Ever worried about a stranger twiceler robot ? Well Cuil (Irish for knowledge) is the answer, a new search engine that aims to challenge google ! Press release : MENLO PARK, Calif.—July 28, 2008—Cuil, a technology company pioneering a new approach to search, unveils its innovative search offering, which combines the biggest Web index with content-based relevance methods, results organized by ideas, and complete user privacy. Cuil (www.Cuil.com) has indexed 120 billion Web pages, three times more than any other search engine.

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Cushy CMS administrates static pages

Cushy CMS, hosted Content Managemant platform, has invented an efficient concept : just modify the HTML code of your pages by addinc the "cushycms" class attribute to HTML elements, and these elements will be made editable via Cushy CMS' interface. Technically, CushyCMs analyses your page, grabs appropriate elements and builds an editor within its interface. It then modifies the HTML code of the pages and transfers them to your host via FTP. Simple and efficient. http://www.cushycms.com/

Iphone wordpress blogger application

This is hot : managing content with a mobile phone was only a distant dream for the masses until this application came live. the WordPress for Iphone application is the kind of add on that makes you buy a phone if you're a wordpress blogger, or that would make you swithc to wordpress if you were wondering which blogging platform is best. More than that, Iphone for wordpress lets you work with any self hosted wordpress (2.5.1 or higer) application, WordPress MU 1.5.1, or even wordpress.com blogging platform !! The App works with the new iPhone 3G, the first generation iPhone, and the iPod Touch. Its code has been released as opensource for developers to debug.

Digitalus CMS : for ZEND framework and Jquery addicts

It's always hard to choose when having to develop CMS based websites : there are litteraly thousands of solutions out there, and even when you think you've found the ultimate software (have a look at silvertripe), a new one comes in that changes the whole story. That might be the case for Digitalus CMS, whose objective is not to be the best out there, but to provide a foundation for solid web site  development. As such it is a good start to rely on popular technologies, such as Zend Framework and Jquery. We'll never be able  to decide which is best, because the final solution is the one that you're the most happy to work with : as such Digitalus is good bet if you have experience with Zend framework and wish to start with basic features such as suearch engine, page and menu builders, privileges management. And in the end, software keeps evolving, but if one can judge from other features described on  Digitalus website, this one has good reason to convince you to try it out !

ExtJS Live Grid

We have covered Jquery's flexigrid, which delivers a great range of features. The article was the occasion of a review of various grids delivered by other libraries, such as openrico, ExtJS or dojo. This article here focuses on a another version of data grid, delivered on EXTJS by Jack Slocum. The big feature of Jack's grid is its buffer that allows to read chunks of data from an underlying storage (common use case: a database) without the need of paging. OpenRico does that too, by the way, but it hasn't evolved much since 2006. The advantage of Ext JS LiveGrid Component is that it relies on popular EXTJS javascript extension.

Jquery / DHTML enhanced multiple selects

The alternative to checkboxes (nice but space consuming) and multiple select (space efficient but not very intuitive for multiple selections) is there : a combination of single select and DHTML code is the point that Michal Wojciechowski's article develops on the subject. it's worth the read if you plan to change your multiple select, explains various Javascript methods to process interactivity, you have the choice between DOM and Jquery and Michal goes further to a detailed explanation of PHP processing of form input.

JotForm, Form making for everyone

There is a lot to say about the knowledge of making forms for the internet : we have recently covered form making interfaces on applications such as WordPress and Silverstripe, and this article focuses on JOTFORM and other hosted web service that let its registered users build form, and save them as HTML to be displayed on any website, and processed by a distant platform hosted by the service. Submission can then be sent by email or kept on server databases for access from registered user account. While JOTFORM seems relatively simple compared to competitor FormAssembly's conditional multiple page infrastructure, it hosts interesting features such as payment gateway processing.

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Online Image editing : jquery’s way

My last article on Silvesrtripe CMS online image editing feature led me to investigate alternative solution for websites and software developers that wish to implement this kind of component for their backoffice.. Surfing on CAKEPHP framework homepage turned out to illustrate perfectly the kind of component that should be standard on all CMS : resizing is now pretty common, and what we want now is cropping. There is actually a plugin for jquery that does the interface job, ImgAreaSelect. ImgAreaSelect come with loads of configuration options that make it a perfect tool for cropping images : the selection area is responsive, draggable, and can be adjusted to work only within specified limits or predefined aspect ratio. What's missing in Jquery is the server side of things, and you'll find that either on webmotionUK for pure PHP or on CAKEPHP's site for Cake integration.

Ajax based universal data manager

Ever been through the nightmare of planning to unify all data sources your business is dealing with ? Ever thought of what could happen to sensitive data when you're travelling all around the world, physically or virtually, aggregating experience and datasources from all over the place  ? Seems that web based content and data managment is a must these days, and it pays to look at ajax based software from California based Informatica, which develops its application on the basis of SmartClient library. SmartClient library is part commercial, part GPL  : you can download client side libraries and develop your own modules to serve data to JSON, XML, or whatever data format you can handle to provide. PowerCenter, that's the name you want to remember when searching for data unification and centralization, accessible anywhere. Migration, synchronisation, warehousing are common tasks accomplished by PowerCenter Enterprise Platform, for which the AJAX based client side we could experience is only the visible part of the infrastructure iceberg it aims to support.

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Content Manager from Webgate anywhere

A lot of nice names for this commercial J2EE based content management system that demonstrates extensive use of best dynamic HTML practice, with the help of the very special extJS library. The problem with that demonstration is that it will take you a while before you can test it on your development servers as you will have to go through commercial business AND serious java expertise in collaboration with Innovation Gate, the german company that develops this system. But it's worth the try : this CMS goes further than basic content and workflow management : cross browser is not enough, WGA is also "cross client" : Browser (IE and Mozilla), Lotus Notes, MSWord, HTML- and XML-Editors or Email are acceptable platform to work with the system that allows publishing content to any media : Web, Cell phone, PDA, pdf. Finally, WGA allows to integrate any data source and to deal with it as "virtual repositories". Invoices from SAP, business cases from CRM, data sheets from relational databases - all "business objects" are treated as content, just as if they were Web content maintained by authors.

3 columns layout css, moderated

The famous 3 column layout is used all round the place : from default wordpress blog template to most advanced daily news paper edition such as iht.com (International Herald Tribune) or lemonde.fr, multiple columns allow difficult content hierarchy choices to be made . While it's a great idea to reproduce such a nice and extensible layout, playing with multiple columns is a dangerous game. Column heights, font size, paragraph justification, and last but not least images display are difficult parameters to harmonize when allowed width is fixed and limited.

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Flexigrid : inside the next data browser

Advanced DHTML / javascript grid layouts have been around for a while : OpenRico's livegrid  has been available for years, and last february a new version of EXTJS' grid came out (UPDATE : EXTJS is about to relaease a new version of its editable GRID) . Well it's good news that Jquery javascript library should now be able to provide its own implentation of a data grid, with many features that any good data master should expect...

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Making forms : WordPress CFORMS vs Silverstripe

you've heard about web2.0 for years, and you want to go for it ? Well you might have guessed : WEB2.0 is all about user interactivity, and interactivity is all about forms. Making forms is a boring business, requires many different skills : displaying, validating, processing . Obviously what you do with the data is the most important thing , but this article will focus on the 2 first aspects of form making. Among Content Mangament Systems, I have tried two which have a visual form building interface : WordPress with CFORMS plugin and Silverstripe's userDefinedForm page type.

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