Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Tuesday CMS Expo Panel: Getting Ahead in the Cloud

At the 2013 CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference I have the privilege of moderating a panel focused on the Cloud. That's actually a broad topic, but I think it's a topic that is increasingly becoming well understood by the CMS community. Last year, I moderated a similar panel and, in my opinion, we spent way too much time trying to define the Cloud. This year, I'm hoping we're past the "what is it" phase and spend much more time talking about real problems, real benefits, and the challenges the content management industry may be facing by moving toward a Cloud solution.

Over the past few years we've seen the Cloud, like any new technology, move from hype to business reality. We're no longer asking how the cloud is defined. Instead we're asking, is the cloud for my business? We're also asking, how do I get there? This panel will look at how best to transition a business, organization, and development team to the cloud. Better yet, this panel is geared toward helping the audience better prepare for the challenges they will be facing once you are there.

I say this with confidence that these type of questions and discussion will be provided in the panel session because of the industry leaders that will be on this panel. I'm very fortunate as a moderator to have the following people joining the panel:

CMS-Connected Video: MODX, Mobile and Social eCommerce

The recording video of the March 26th CMS-Connected show is now available online. CMS-Connected is a monthly webcast featuring news, trends and commentary related to the content management industry. In this particular show the focus was on mobile and social eCommerce with much of that discussion including Gabe Sumner from Sitefinity. I also participated as a guest on the show discussing my impressions of MODX  during the "In the Spotlight" segment. Hosts Tyler Pyburn and Scott Liewehr of course are present throughout the show reporting and commenting about the latest happenings in content management and content management systems.

My segment begins about 43 and a half minutes into the show and you'll find the video embedded below. If you want to do a lot more "segment hopping" in the video, check out the show's page at CMS-Connected where you'll find all the segments in this March show nicely indexed and parsed.

On a personal note, I had a lot of fun participating in the March show. Between a new computer and a few tweaks on my router, I just had a much better Skype connection than I did for the January show. Good streaming during a live show makes a world of difference. I also didn't get into as much detail about the CMS features as has been done in the past. There was a lot more I could have talked in terms of features about MODX but avoiding getting into the weeds seemed to help convey better what I really think and feel about MODX. My impression is that the "less is more" approach seemed to do a lot better than reading down the same feature list that everyone else can read online.

The Best Drupal and Joomla Comparison of 2013

Sitting on my desktop the past few weeks has been an eBook from the Aluent Group, Drupal and Joomla!: A Comparison of Project Processes and Costs. I probably would have not read this eBook if it wasn't for an acquaintance of mine, Justin Kerr, letting me know that he was a co-author of the book. I'm lucky to have read the book because I think Justin Kerr as well as co-authors Robert Nowak and Jet Pixel have hit a home run in their review and comparison of Drupal and Joomla.

Writing a comparison of any two content management systems can be challenging. This is especially true when the CMSs in the comparison are open source and each CMS has a legion of followers ready to pounce on anything you write that they perceive as false. For the reviewer, there is probably no better two open source CMSs to compare that can provide so much reward or risk than Drupal and Joomla. If you're lucky, have your facts in order, and the mood is just right then you too can take the Internet by storm just like I did in 2006. Don't do your homework and you will fail a miserable writers death. 

Drupal and Joomla!: A Comparison of Project Processes and Costs is probably one of the most well-written comparisons between the two CMS platforms that I've read in a very long time. The authors' intended audience for this comparison include system implementers, IT department heads, creative agency owners, multimedia department leads and Web site stakeholders who are faced with a choice between Drupal and Joomla. In this free eBook the comparison made is between Drupal 7 and Joomla 2.5 with the most significant metric used in this book being cost not in terms of money but in hours to accomplish the various tasks.

The Photographer's CMS: WordPress 3.5 plus Photocrati 4.5

Photocrati 4.6 Admin Screenshot

A few days ago, WordPress 3.5 was released and I originally planned to write the typical "what is new in WordPress" article similar to what I've done in the past for CMS Report. However, I thought this time around I would also discuss how I'm using WordPress to support the website of one of my favorite photographers, Karen Ruby of Dakota Imagery. Certainly, in this article there is no cause for you to suspect my opinions are biased with regard to her photography skills despite the fact we've been married for 11 years and she is the mother of my child. In this article, my goal is to not only provide WordPress and CMS users something interesting to read but also to point photographers to a WordPress package that my wife and I have found works quite nicely to support her photography business.

Screenshot of WordPress 3.5 site: DakotaImagery.comAs I'm writing this article, I'm currently in the process of updating my wife's WordPress website from WordPress 3.4 to WordPress 3.5. My wife is a photographer that over the years has evolved from amateur status to professional. When it was time to build her a new website (she had been using a SaaS site heavily weighed in Flash) we decided to keep it simple and use WordPress. Updating WordPress to the latest version only takes a click of the "Update Now" button and you're good to go. The process is generally painless and she usually doesn't require my assistance, but this time around we needed to wait on the availability of a newer version of Photocrati compatible with WP 3.5 before updating.

The Soft Sell of Open Source over Proprietary

I do not know when it exactly happened, but a number of years ago I decided to become a pacifist. I am a pacifist that is in the war of open source versus proprietary. In my opinion, the debate over licensing and software development processes is only mildly interesting as it is the quality of the end product that matters to me most. I walk the fine line of being an advocate for open source and a defender of proprietary software. Admittedly I've confused a lot of people that have chosen to take sides in this war. However, there is always room for reasonable civil discussions of any topic when new data and new perspective is given. This is perhaps why within the past week I enjoyed reading a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Acquia that shows the value of open source without necessarily attacking the value of proprietary software.

The independent study conducted by Forrester is titled “Is It Time To Consider Open Source WCM For Digital Experience?”. Given that the study is being promoted by Acquia, an open source Drupal company, it shouldn't be surprising to you that this paper highlights the benefits of open source web content management systems (WCM). However, the author of the paper does this in way that that doesn't also dismiss the value of proprietary systems. This paper is an invitation with business reasons given for IT shops that for one reason or another remain proprietary to start considering using open source solutions. That soft sell in my opinion will win over more customers than the doomsday ideologies we often hear from both open source and proprietary proponents.