Starting 2008

The new year is here, and the holidays are nearly over again. I managed to find some time to finally do some real upgrade work on my website, so it all feels like my own website again. Mainly completing the move from Typo3 to Drupal, and looking at some more content to add in the coming weeks: plugging in a few more external sources of content, and making some materials available as "books".

Over the holidays, I looked at some old notes, flipping through my notebook. It was surprising to read some thoughts of "last century" (around 1999), on online discussions and online collaboration, and realise that several ideas and hopes of then are still waiting to be implemented. Somehow it feels 2008 could be the year in which a lot of that might happen: a year of convergence. Some technology notes to look back on at the end of 2008 perhaps.

  • My move from Typo3 to Drupal was partly motivated by a desire to reduce the number of technologies to deal with. Although Typo3 really is a solid product, setting things up with TypoScript remained cumbersome. I’m more comfortable fiddling with PHP to make my site work, and it fits in with version control and having separate development and production environments.
  • With Nabuur wanting to redevelop their site in Drupal, with Acquia having $7 million to build a commercial foundation under Drupal, and most of my North-American friends as strong believers in Drupal, all "forces" seem to be going in the same direction.
  • The Zend Framework is out, and the new Zend Studio is based on Eclipse, so developing PHP code has become a lot more powerful, with for instance proper debugging and profiling. Very useful in developing our WebEnq software further: we’re running into the first performance bottlenecks.
  • Eclipse also has Mylyn and Tasktop as powerful task-managment tools. They nicely connect to our Mantis bug tracker, and to Google calendar as shared calendar tool, forming a good foundation to improve our project management practice at Nivocer.
  • After a year of mainly setting up our business, it looks like we’re able to accellerate now, and hopefully hire our first programmer in the first half of the year, to speed up development work on our survey software, as well as it work on making it more available again as open source tool.

It feels as if a lot of experiences from the last few years come together now, and all help to focus and advance our work in "online collaboration" for a few projects all aimed at international development.


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