When I started Level Online Strategy back in 2004, I never intended to remain on my own as long as I have. I assumed that I'd soon find a partner who shared my vision about how to run a consulting company and my passion for helping progressive organizations through our work. In large part because I was too busy running the business, I never found that person, until I met Sean Larkin back in the summer of 2009. He was just starting out on his own, dba ThinkShout. We realized early on that we had complimentary skills, similar approaches to business, and wanted to serve the same base of clients, in our case nonprofits and social ventures having a positive impact in their communities. Neither one of us was quite willing to give up our independence and personal brands, at least yet, but we did start collaborating and had some huge wins, including SaveOurGulf, The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership, GeoMeridian, and our work together on Watershed Now.
For some time, Sean Larkin of ThinkShout and I have been collaborating on projects, none bigger than Watershed Now, a Drupal distribution targeted at conservation groups. I am not being modest when I say that I have played a bit role and Sean has been the main force behind the concept and implementation. As with any project that is not directly billable, though, it needs some dedicated funding to help move it forward and that's why we are applying for a Knight News Challenge grant.
Watershed Now is a Drupal distribution developed to support the common content management, social media, online advocacy, fundraising, and mapping needs of conservation organizations.
Among other features, Watershed Now provides easy-to-use content management tools, email-to-blog features, online event registration, donation pages and reports, online mapping tools, e-petition tools with legislative lookups, and advanced multimedia and social network integration. The distribution also ships with three stock Drupal themes in a variety of color options. Watershed Now websites are highly-customizable. For example, there are more than 60 available variations on the homepage layout.
Portland is basically as close to an urban bike utopia as one can get, and one of the many reasons I love living here. But it didn't start out that way, it happened because of the tireless efforts of groups like the Northwest Trail Alliance,
... an alliance of mountain bikers and off-road cyclists dedicated to creating, enhancing and protecting riding opportunities in NW Oregon and SW Washington.
- We advocate for trail access.
- We promote responsible mountain biking.
- We build and maintain sustainable trails.
- We love riding them.
I am honored to suport them in their efforts. Their new site, which launched this past summer, was an upgrade from Drupal 5 and features:
- Active forums
- Ride and events calendar, with paid signups supported by Ubercart and Signup.
- Ride reports
- Online donations
But this is really the foundation for the exciting features to come, including trail guides and a volunteer system.
A very common request I get lately is for a banner containing a series of image transitions, often on the home page. Certainly a fairly simple feature, one I've already solved in different ways, E.g., here, here, and here. So when I had a similar need, I decided to finally build a stable and flexible module I could easily reuse. But as any good Drupal citizen knows, better to see what's already out in the contrib space before recreating the wheel. I also like to scour the landscape for any lateset and greatest libraries before a new project, in this case for JQuery image transitions. I came across Nivo Slider, which quickly led me to the corresponding Drupal module. Combine this with CCK (imagefield), Imagecache, and Views, bundle it into a Feature, and voila, a 1 hour flexible and reusable banner transition tool.
Final recipe is as follows.
I've recently become more involved with map scripting in my work on LCREP, Save Our Gulf, Geomeridian, and a few others in the works. One commonality amongst all the projects was the need to display geocoded data on a map, a problem solved many times over. When I began work on the first of these projects this past spring, the state of mapping in Drupal boiled down to these tools.
Mapedelic is the name given to the powerful and well established duo of Location and Gmap. The former stores address and coordinates as either CCK fields or in its own schema and can geocode addresses when called upon. The latter then renders those locations on a Google map. Gmap also plays well with Views. Both these modules have large install bases and have been in use for some time.
- Large, well established user base
- Geocoding of addresses
- Location paradigm of collecting addresses is not applicable for more diverse use cases.
- Geocoding has some problems when updating addresses.
- You can't change between a fields and node based approach. Since fields is by far more flexible, and the future, there's lots of code debt to the pure nodes approach that most people don't need.
- Gmap uses the legacy v2 Google Maps API.
- Configuration and customization of the Gmaps output can be difficult.
- You're locked into using Google Maps.