The Real Truth About Open Source CMS

The debate rages and it couldn’t come at a better time for us. Here’s a sampling from Matt Sullivan at Bridgeline Digital.

open source cmsSo many years in my formative youth were spent looking at the blinking cursor of a command-line prompt as I learned computer programming. The languages varied: Pascal, C++, Lisp, PHP, etc. I quickly started carrying the flag of Open Source Software. I installed Linux on my computer; I thought Red Hat would overthrow Microsoft and that all software should be “free.” Fast-forward ten years, and I’m writing about the benefits and advantages of proprietary software applications, especially for Content Management Solutions. Who would of thought?

A Drupal-support company recently published a blog post written by a member of their sales team, where he denounced his past life as a proprietary CMS salesman, and apologized for the “lies” he told when selling against Open Source. The funny part about the post is that his new found honesty doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. Since this post has been gaining traction, I wanted to respond.

(The Bold Text is from the original article, my response is in plain text.)

Lie: Open Source CMS solutions aren’t secure because their modules and contributions come from different organizations.

Truth: The fear of attacking the security of Open Source CMS is very popular in the commercial world because it can create a great deal of fear amongst organizations. The TRUTH is that most Open Source solutions have more stringent security guidelines than their commercial counterparts. Drupal,for example, has their own Security Team comprised of 40 individuals across three continents. Oh, and the LIE about anyone being able to contribute to Open Source? Not True – there is quite a process to go through to even just submit a project before it goes through peer review. For a thorough review of the security protocols with Drupal.

The Whole Story: Open Source CMS, like Drupal, go through a stringent process of code submission, peer review, and approval before even the smallest component is added or changed to the core functionality. While that is a true statement, the add-on modules that many sites require don’t go through that process. Anyone with basic PHP knowledge can write and share a Drupal module. In fact,a module was the root cause of Drupal.com being hacked in 2013.

 

 

 

Lie: Open Source CMS solutions don’t integrate well with other commercial products that round out the digital ecosystem.

Truth: This lie couldn’t be any more wrong. The strength of the large community based open source solution is that the community and modules evolve and grow to provide that community of users exactly what they need to succeed. In doing so, modules and tested integrations to the leading third party solutions are readily available when they are needed instead of being prioritized by a commercial product’s release road map. Take the story of Pinterest for example. In February of 2012, Pinterest hit 10 million unique visitors. In March of 2012 a Drupal module was created for website users to“pin” site images to Pinterest. Within one month, 15 sites went live with the integration and today that module has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.

The Whole Story: At the end of the day, integration between software systems depends on the level of access each provides through an API or web-service. Any two software platforms can be made to talk to each other with enough time and effort. Commercial CMS providers will often build connectors for out-of-the-box integration to streamline the process, as well as preserve the integration through the upgrade path.

For instance — self promotion alert!!! — iAPPS 5.0 was released with native integration with Brightcove video hosting and Clay Tablet for translation services, and this is on-top of already existing integrations with Salesforce.com, Perceptive Search, UPS Global Logistics, and Cybersource.

Lie: Open Source CMS solutions are great for small projects or maybe non-mission critical sites, but don’t meet the standard for large enterprise organizations.

Truth: Some of the largest and most mission critical websites in the world are now being managed with Drupal. Just a query on a tool like builtwith.com will reveal sites like http://www.ge.com,http://www.grammy.com, http://www.examiner.com, and http://www.turner.com. We’ve known for a while that the White House has also been a strong proponent of Open Source CMS solutions as well. Oh, and just recently we learned that one of the largest websites in the world, Weather.com, is moving to Drupal.

The Whole Story: Big or small, organizations need to evaluate the best fit for their project. There are large organizations powered by WordPress, and smaller companies that use Commercial CMS. It’s all about what solution is going to deliver a site that meets the company’s goals.

In the end, however, there is no one solution that is a perfect fit for every project, so your CMS short-list should consider many aspects all aspects: scalability,ease-of-use, support, functionality, and more. Also, it’s also about selecting the right team to implement the CMS and complete the project. Whether your project is executed in-house or by a development partner, everything should be about delivering your new site on-time, under budget, and to specification.

For the latest news and tips on Digital Marketing strategies, make sure to follow Bridgeline Digital on Twitter.

2 Responses to “The Real “Truth” About Open Source CMS”

    • Dave Scalera
    • August 10, 2013

    Matt, Thanks so much for continuing this conversation. In doing so, however, you seem to have further validated my claim. Your statement, “Anyone with basic PHP knowledge can write and share a Drupal module.”, is simply not true. Start here and take a look at the process and see what it takes to be a first time Drupal contributor – https://drupal.org/node/7765. For more information on Drupal Security, go here – https://www.acquia.com/blog/keeping-drupal-secure. The Drupal Security team is 40 people strong – larger than the R&D teams of most proprietary software companies. Ben J. above already pointed out your discrepancy to the Security update in May. As impressive as your list of those six 3rd party integrations you mention your product has, the truth that I was trying to convey is the pure velocity and time to market that is experienced within the Open Source community. Commercial solutions are bound by their internal product development roadmaps (which have their place), but Open Source development moves at the speed of the web and the hundreds, if not thousands, of integrations that Drupal has is indicative of that. And finally, as much as I appreciate your CMS short-list checklist and link to your qualified partners, I don’t think we disagree at all on organizations doing appropriate due diligence to find the best solution available for them – which sometimes might be Commercial, sometimes might be Open-Source. My point was only that Open-Source is completely viable option for Enterprise engagements. Best of luck to you with your product and solutions. -Dave

    • Ben J
    • August 09, 2013

    Your statement “In fact,a module was the root cause of Drupal.com being hacked in 2013.” is not accurate. The drupal.org page on the incident (https://drupal.org/news/130529SecurityUpdate) says “Unauthorized access was made via third-party software installed on the Drupal.org server infrastructure, and was not the result of a vulnerability within Drupal itself.” The key point being it wasn’t Drupal, core or modules. drupal.org doesn’t just run the Drupal software.

Why Every Tech Commercial Includes These Key Elements

Ever notice how tech ads follow the same script and shots. Happy people, meaningless jargon and an international vibe to ensure that it includes everyone. College Humor certainly did and its spoof of these tech ads is scarily accurate. So much so that you will never be able to watch another tech ad in the same way again. – See more at: http://www.simplyzesty.com/Blog/Article/August-2013/College-Humor-s-Spoof-Tech-Ad-Is-Scarily-Accurate?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Simplyviral+%28Simply+Viral+%29#sthash.9kAkS1q9.dpuf

How Smart Phones Have Changed The Way We Interact With Each Other

The invention of smartphones has given us a lot of things and has made communication easier than ever. However, it’s also changed the entire dynamic of how we interact in person and how we approach our day-to-day lives. This short film from CharstarleneTV shows just how obsessed we’ve become over capturing each moment in our lives.

Well, maybe not all of us are this obsessed. At least we can hope not.

Novel Material With World Record Breaking Surface Area And Water Adsorption Synthesized

A novel material with world record breaking surface area and water adsorption abilities has been synthesized by researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden. The results are published in PLOS ONE.

The magnesium carbonate material that has been given the name Upsalite is foreseen to reduce the amount of energy needed to control environmental moisture in the electronics and drug formulation industry as well as in hockey rinks and ware houses. It can also be used for collection of toxic waste, chemicals or oil spill and in drug delivery systems, for odor control and sanitation after fire.

In contrast to what has been claimed for more than 100 years in the scientific literature, we have found that amorphous magnesium carbonate can be made in a very simple, low-temperature process, says Johan Goméz de la Torre, researcher at the Nanotechnology and Functional Materials Division.

While ordered forms of magnesium carbonate, both with and without water in the structure, are abundant in nature, water-free disordered forms have been proven extremely difficult to make. In 1908, German researchers claimed that the material could indeed not be made in the same way as other disordered carbonates, by bubbling CO2 through an alcoholic suspension. Subsequent studies in 1926 and 1961 came to the same conclusion.

–    A Thursday afternoon in 2011, we slightly changed the synthesis parameters of the earlier employed unsuccessful attempts, and by mistake left the material in the reaction chamber over the weekend. Back at work on Monday morning we discovered that a rigid gel had formed and after drying this gel we started to get excited, says Johan Goméz de la Torre.

A year of detailed materials analysis and fine tuning of the experiment followed. One of the researchers got to take advantage of his Russian skill since some of the chemistry details necessary for understanding the reaction mechanism was only available in an old Russian PhD thesis.

–    After having gone through a number of state of the art materials characterization techniques it became clear that we had indeed synthesized the material that previously had been claimed impossible to make, says Maria Strømme, professor of nanotechnology and head of the nanotechnology and functional materials division.

The most striking discovery was, however, not that they had produced a new material but it was instead the striking properties they found that this novel material possessed. It turned out that Upsalite had the highest surface area measured for an alkali earth metal carbonate; 800 square meters per gram.

–    This places the new material in the exclusive class of porous, high surface area materials including mesoporous silica, zeolites, metal organic frameworks, and carbon nanotubes, says Strømme.

In addition we found that the material was filled with empty pores all having a diameter smaller than 10 nano meters. This pore structure gives the material a totally unique way of interacting with the environment leading to a number of properties important for application of the material. Upsalite is for example found to absorb more water at low relative humidities than the best materials presently available; the hydroscopic zeolites, a property that can be regenerated with less energy consumption than is used in similar processes today.

–    This, together with other unique properties of the discovered impossible material is expected to pave the way for new sustainable products in a number of industrial applications, says Maria Strømme.

The discovery will be commercialized though the University spin-out company Disruptive Materials (www.Disruptivematerials.com) that has been formed by the researchers together with the holding company of Uppsala University

http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068486

Smart Phone Sensor Preception

If the idea is that certain properties of a system do not change when it undergoes a transformation, don’t we still need an observer to confirm the symmetry?

What if there is a consciousness that creates, catalogs, defines and operates the properties and symmetries of all systems. Sounds a lot like how end users inter act with the app store.

There are apps for almost everything and the list grows by the moment.  A desired experience is rendered from the combination of the properties of the application and the perception of the observer or the end user. Can you say, ‘tea, earl grey, hot’?

Well, your smart phone is about to get a lot smarter. UC Riverside researchers are developing technology to run apps that will measure the air quality, detect bio hazards, the freshness of your produce or even the state of your health. Read the story of Star Trek technology coming to your fingertips courtesy of Nosang Myung, professor of chemical and environmental engineering. .

 

That YouTube Elephant With A Very Long Tail

I missed the occasion entirely, but on April 23, 2005, the very first YouTube video was posted by, Jawed Karim, one of the three founders.

From the start, you might say, YouTube thought big. No playful kitties. Karim chronicled…an elephant.

It was housed at the San Diego Zoo, and this is what Karim had to say:  “The cool thing about this these guys is that they have these really, really, really long trunks. And that’s, that’s cool.” He added, so, so incorrectly: And that’s pretty much all there is to say.”

“At the Zoo,”  this first video, was 20 seconds long, and has now been seen 10,638,024 times, possibly 10,638,023 times for the sake of history (or bloggers).

YouTube, on the other hand has one billion unique visits a month. It now claims 72 hours of video are posted to the site every minute. More amazing facts, in a nice graphic are here. To quote just one, YouTube says that nowadays, four billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube every month.

So here’s to massive social upheaval!

At the same time a certain segment of the universe marked the anniversary of the first official YouTube video–an elephant never forgets, for one–The New York Times Co. on Tuesday was announcing that all video features on its Website will now be able to be accessed without going through the paper’s paywall.

According to the Website Journalism.co.uk, “the number of video views on NYTimes.com had more than doubled over the year from the first quarter of 2012 which had prompted an investment strategy to promote video on the site. At present The New York Times produces more than 250 videos per month for the site but this is set to increase.”  The very Gray Lady also won a Pulitzer this year for its multimedia story, “Snow Fall” about an avalanche that imperiled 16 skiiers in Washington last February.

You could hardly have predicted that video of a zoo with a “very, very, very long trunk” would be a marker in the creation of an industry with such a very, very, very long tail. It’s not that YouTube was the first video site (it wasn’t) but obviously, the one that hit the longest home run.

Today, as the Financial Times reports, “There is a new kid on the block in the advertising world, with online video evolving rapidly and audiences on the rise. Forget about skateboarding cats and the amateur, user-generated videos that used to dominate YouTube: these days the internet is full of slick, professionally produced programming that would not look out of place on prime time television…. Total advertising on digital video is forecast to almost double from about $4 billion in 2013 to $8 billion by 2016, according to eMarketer, the research company.”

All of which may be,  but is in a way very unstartling, like looking at your kid and not remembering that once, that growing child was just a baby. In his 2006 book, The Beatles: A Biography, author Bob Spitz pointed out that not only did The Beatles create a “British Invasion,” they virtually created the British international music business. YouTube and lots of other online video pioneers are doing that now. They’re the new elephant in the room.

pj@mediapost.com

Google Glass And The Future of Marketing

Thanks to Jason Demers at Search Engine Watch for these thoughts on Google Glass and possible future applications.

For all the hype about Google Glass, not much has been said about how it’s going to change Internet marketing.

Could it be that for all our gadget drool, we’re overlooking what could be the biggest Google Glass at the Nerd StageInternet marketing explosion of the decade? Or will Google Glass even make a ripple in online marketing?

Let’s look at some possible outcomes, lay out the facts, and propose some ways you can be ready for the rollout of Google Glass, and the impact it will have on the Internet marketing world.

Possible Outcomes

For the best perspective on this question, it’s best to take a step back and consider Google’s marketing strategy. Obviously, Google isn’t going to divulge whatever marketing secrets they have for their tricked-out glasses. The nearly-$1,500 price tag is a sign that they’re not giving them away for free.

But isn’t there more to it than just selling glasses? How might Google capitalize on Google Glass beyond the first wave of sales?

It’s a tricky question for several reasons.

Google Glass is unlike anything that Google has done before. Come to think of it, it’s unlike anything that anyone has ever done. Humankind is treading into an area of vague outcomes.

There is so much potential for Google Glass that it’s hard to get our head around all the possibilities.

There are a few options.

  • Google has no bigger marketing plans. It’s just a cool gadget. It’s just technology. Let’s take Google at their word and believe the Google rep who said, “We’re more interested in making the hardware available, [than advertising on it].” That would be nice. Google may not be completely altruistic, but they may indeed have a pure desire to advance technology in the world today.
  • Google Glass will fizzle and die. Some people seem to think we’ve reached the utopia of technology: “Sooner or later [Google Glass] will become a staple in our daily lives,” writes one zealous technophile. Then again, maybe not. Forbes contributor Rob Asghar pessimistically prognosticates, “Google Glass seems a longshot to endure past the early fascination of the early adopters.” Maybe the Glass will join the Google graveyard alongside Google Reader, Buzz, and iGoogle.
  • Google will use it for advertising. “At the moment, there are no plans for advertising on this device,” said Babak Parviz, lead engineer on the Google Glass project. Operative word: now. Babak said so in a December 2012 interview. Thus, there might be some future chance at advertising revenue. Todd Wasserman at Mashable has suggested that Google Glass will provide coupon offers, personalized ads, and gamification¬ – in other words, advertising on spectacle steroids.
  • Google is going into gaming, or something else entirely. During the interview cited above, Babak spoke opaquely of “augmented reality.” Augmented reality is the realm of gaming. Though Google isn’t exactly known for their games, maybe they’re trying to edge into the market with augmented reality hardware. This, however, is unlikely. Perhaps when the API comes out and Google releases developer kits, then the gamers will jump in and have their heyday. But augmented reality glasses aren’t just the domain of gamers. Those who are itching to get a pair of glasses are excited about using them as politicians, adventurers, farmers, performers, service personnel, military, medical professionals, and nearly every other field of labor known to humankind. Just like we can all think of some way to make a smartphone useful to anyone, so we can imagine that Google Glass will have a similar impact.

Maybe Google is just innovating the future again. As Babak plainly stated, “We constantly try out new ideas of how this platform can be used. There’s a lot of experimentation going on at all times in Google.”

And maybe that’s the whole point. It’s not like Google has exactly cashed in on unmanned cars (yet). It’s probably safest to predict nothing, while still expecting the technology to shift and shape our world.

Such shifting and shaping is unpredictable. Consider this. You’re wearing your Google Glasses, riding the subway downtown with friends. You say the words “hungry” and “dinner,” and your Google Glasses inform you that Molinari Delicatessen is a few minutes away at the Broadway & Grant Avenue station. Plus you get a free drink for just checking in on Foursquare. Is that advertising? Is that an invasion of privacy? Weren’t you just talking with friends?

Things can get a little blurry.

3 Back-to-Reality Facts

Prophesying aside, what do we actually know about Google Glass? Is there anything that we are confident will happen? There are at least three.

At-a-Glance Search Results

Forget having information at your fingertips. With Google Glass, you’ve got it at a glance, quite literally. Google Glass responds to voice commands and queries, meaning that users can easily gain results for questions about nearby restaurants or other local establishments. This would provide very little new in terms of search results, but would instead provide a different interface for results, and perhaps more instantaneous searching while on the go.

Location-Specific Searches

The technology of Google Glass will make it possible to look at a restaurant, check out their rankings, view their menu, find out if there is seating, and maybe even snag a coupon code, all the while dawdling on the sidewalk out front. Google Glass is primed for on-the-spot activity. There’s no hidden agenda here. Google proudly announces that their spectacles will provide “directions right in front of you” for driving, walking, or just knocking about town.

More Social Interactivity

Google Glass will play directly into social networking. One of the main features of the device is taking pictures and videos, and sharing them. Such sharing will provide instant marketing, negative or positive, for whatever establishment or event the user is at. Social reviews will also register on search results, giving users a better perspective on whether they want to patronize a certain business establishment.

Get Ready for Google Glass: A Strategy

If you read this article expecting to get to the Google Glass gold rush early, you might be disappointed. There’s not exactly a gold rush going on. Nevertheless, there is some rock-solid advice for how to posture yourself and your business for the unleashing of Google Glass.

  • Stick close to Google. It pays to keep your ear to the ground about Google trends and developments. What happens in the Googleplex is crucial to your marketing future. As much as we may dislike it, we rely on Google for a lot. When they flinch, we scramble. That’s all there is to it.
  • Keep your Google+ profile robust and active. One obvious trend that will impact all things search related is Google+, along with authorship and Author Rank. Stay plugged in to it. Google+/Local results will be immediately accessible to Google Glass, meaning that you want to get in on those searches.
  • If you’re a local company, focus in on local search results and social media. Google Glass is a geospecific marketing tool. Don’t get left behind. Furthermore, there is talk of other social sites like Twitter amping up their efforts to get in on the Google Glass action.

Google Glass is going to be here in just a few months. Don’t expect a tsunami of change all at once. Instead, wait, watch, and listen. Google Glass will probably stick around for a while. Somehow, some way, Google Glass and Internet marketing are going to meet up for a magical connection. You want to be ready.

A Third Of Cell Phone Owners Search For Health Information

According to The Pew Internet & American Life Project, in conjunction with Princeton Survey Research, 85% of U.S. adults (264,853,129 million) own a cell phone, and 31% (82,104,470) of them have used their phone to look for health information. Two years ago, only 17% of cell phone owners had used their phones to look for health advice.

Smartphone owners lead this activity: 52% gather health information on their phones, compared with 6% of non-smartphone owners. Cell phone owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree are also more likely to gather health information this way.

80% of cell phone owners say they send and receive text messages, but just 9% of cell phone owners say they receive any text updates or alerts about health or medical issues. Women, those between the ages of 30 and 64, and smartphone owners are more likely than other cell phone owners to have signed up for health text alerts.

Smartphones enable the use of mobile software applications to help people track or manage their health. Some 19% of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types. Mobile health continues to climb in popularity, especially among smartphone owners.

Among all cell phone owners, some demographic groups are more likely than others to look for health information on their phones: Latinos, African Americans, those between the ages of 18 and 49, and college graduates.

Mobile Health Information Seekers’ Demographics (% of cell phone owners within each group who use their phones to look for health or medical information online)
Segment

% of Respondents

All cell phone owners

31%

   Men

29

   Women

33

Age
   1829

42

   3049

39

   5064

19

   65+

9

Race/ethnicity
   White, NonHispanic

27

   Black, NonHispanic

35

   Hispanic

38

Annual household income
   Less than $30,000/yr

28

   $30,000$49,999

30

   $50,000$74,999

37

   $75,000+

37

Education level
   No high school diploma

17

   High school grad

26

   Some College

33

   College +

38

Source: Pew Internet/CHCF Health Survey, November 2012

Mobile health information also seems to appeal to certain groups of health consumers: caregivers, people who went through a recent medical crisis, and those who experienced a recent, significant change in their physical health such as gaining or losing a lot of weight, becoming pregnant, or quitting smoking.

Mobile Health Information by Phone: Health Status (% of cell phone owners within each group who use their phone to look for health or medical information online)
Group & Health Status

% of Respondents

All cell phone owners

31%

Caregiver
   Yes

37

   No

27

Those with chronic conditions
   No conditions

34

   One or more conditions

26

Faced medical crisis in last 12 months
   Yes

40

   No

30

Significant health change in last 12 months
   Yes

41

   No

28

Source: Pew Internet/CHCF Health Survey, November 2012

In 2010, when the same percentage of U.S. adults owned cell phones, 17% of cell phone owners reported using their phones to access health information. Today, that number stands at 31%, almost double the previous figure.

Nearly all demographic groups report significant increases in this activity, with the exception of those over 65 and those who did not complete high school. A few groups stand out: cell phone owners who are African American, college graduates, women, those with an annual household income between $50,000 and $74,999, and those between the ages of 3049. Smartphone ownership has greatly increased over the last two years and no doubt had an effect on this trend.

Health Information Accessed by Phone,Then and Now (% of cell phone owners within each group who use their phone to look up health or medical information)
Category 2010 2012
All cell phone owners

17%

31%

   Men

17

29

   Women

16

33

Age
   1829

29

42

   3049

18

39

   5064

7

19

   65+ 8

9

Race/Ethnicity
   White, nonHispanic

15

27

   Black, nonHispanic

19

35

   Hispanic

25

38

Annual household income
   Less than $30,000/yr

15

28

   $30,000$49,999

17

30

   $50,000$74,999

17

37

   $75,000+

22

37

Education level
   No high school diploma

16

17

   High School grad 1

2

26

   Some college

21

33

   College+

20

38

Source: Pew Internet/CHCF Health Survey, November 2012    

Text messaging is a nearly universal activity, especially among younger cell phone owners, but it has not yet had a significant impact on the health market. 80% of cell phone owners say they send and receive text messages, but just 9% of cell phone owners say they receive any text updates or alerts about health or medical issues.

Health Apps Users (% of smartphone owners within each group who have software applications on their phone to track or manage health
Category

% of Respondents

All smartphone owners

19%

   Men

16

   Women

23

Age
   1829

24

   3049

19

   5064

16

   65+

10

Race/ethnicity
   White, NonHispanic

19

   Black, NonHispanic

21

   Hispanic

15

Annual household income
   Less than $30,000/yr

14

   $30,000$49,999

21

   $50,000$74,999

21

   $75,000+

23

Education level
   High school grad

11

   Some College

24

   College +

22

Source: Pew Internet/CHCF Health Survey, November 2012

Source, all data: Pew Internet/CHCF Health Survey, August 7September 6, 2012. N=3,014 adults ages 18+. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, on landline and cell phones. Margin of error is +/3 percentage points for results based on cell phone owners.

For additional information and the PDF file, please visit PewInternet here.

Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/187831/a-third-of-cell-phone-owners-search-for-health-inf.html#ixzz2DZYHG2Ze