Intel recently partnered with Nokia to launch Meego, a Linux flavored operating system targeting the mobile and device platform space.
MeeGo is an open source, Linux project which brings together the Moblin project, headed up by Intel, and Maemo, by Nokia, into a single open source activity. MeeGo integrates the experience and skills of two significant development ecosystems, versed in communications and computing technologies. The MeeGo project believes these two pillars form the technical foundations for next generation platforms and usages in the mobile and device platforms space.
Intel is taking advantage of Drupal reqularly these days, including the Atom Developer Program, which I consulted on, and Meego.com. It only made sense to build the Meego help system with Drupal as well. Intel initially contacted me about helping with a services layer on top of the help system allowing devices to access help content via open web standards. This will still likely happen, but it was temporarily put on hold. In the mean time, we worked on the actual organization and display of the help topics. There are obviously many approaches to solving this fairly simple problem with Drupal, the most obviously probably being Taxonomy and Views. With the various minor customizations we wanted, though, and in the spirit of keeping things as lightweight as possible, I decided to forgo Views entirely and just use core Taxonomy module plus some fairly simple glue code to make it all work. The basic setup is as follows:
- Create a vocabulary to hold all the help categories.
- Define a menu item for each term in the vocabulary, with a custom page callback that varies depending on depth.
- On the page callback, show the term description and any applicable nodes, followed by a list of all nodes grouped by child terms. There's some specific variation depending on the depth of the term being viewed.
- Breadcrumbs and active menu items are also handled on the page callback.
We all know Drupal can be a great out of the box content management solution, blogging platform, or social networking site. Especially when you take into account tools like CCK and Views. But what if you need to develop a more customized and focused application? Where does it make sense to use a more generalized and lower level framework like CakePHP or Rails? I don’t know if there’s a single answer to that question, certainly lots of opinions, including my own which I discussed at Open Source Bridge. Namely, the more singular the purpose of an application, the less it makes sense to use Drupal.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with One Economy the last couple years on several projects, including http://pic.tv, http://one-economy.com, and, most recently, the Make it Easy Toolbox. This last project fell under the gray area of being a good fit for Drupal, and, together with the One Economy team, we decided to give it a go. The application is still in active development, but so far so good.
Through the kind introductions of my good friend Aaron Teresteeg, who is the Community Manager for Parallel Programming and Multi-Core, I was brought on early during the project to help the internal Intel Software Network development team see some light in the Drupal thicket. They are an amazingly talented and dedicated group, but they didn't have extensive Drupal experience, so we sat down for a couple of brainstorming sessions where they peppered me with questions about best practices, module choices, architectural issues, and the like. I also did some minimal follow up prototyping. Matt Groener, the ISN Development Team Manager, very generously claimed,
You really put us on the firm path to a successful Drupal launch.
A couple of great guys, Erik Olson and Dan Powell, recently moved to Portland from the icy confines of Madison, WI to start a new cycling accessories company, Portland Design Works. I was luckily enough to connect with them and we worked together to launch their new website, ridepdw.com. In their own words,
We both long ago found a home in the cycling industry. After years of fixing flats at the shop, gritting it out at races, braving icy commutes and eating instant noodles, we have come to a conclusion: this is all we’ve ever done and all we want to do.
So we moved to Portland and started designing products that we as urban riders would want to use. We chose Portland as a home for the company because we figured you’d start a surf company near great waves or a wind farm on a vast plain. Likewise, we started our bicycle accessory company in Portland because the bike-friendly culture allows tons of folks to get around easily by bike. It’s in that great urban cycling atmosphere that we design and test our products. Portland Design Works echoes the urban cycling culture we find inspiring. Anyway, we think the stuff we came up with is really cool. Hope you think so too.
Their first batch of products are on proud display, although they won't actually be available until February, when they can be purchased direct through the website. The site design, based on PDW's identity, was beautifully conceived by Jack Edwin, and Jeremy Caldwell of Eternalistic developed the Drupal theme. Speaking of, the site is built on top of Drupal 6 leveraging Ubercart for shopping cart features. PDW is another great addition to Portland's rapidly growing cycling industry and I'm sure they'll succeed based on the look of the product's I've seen so far.
I have had the great pleasure of working with the team at One Economy Corporation since last December on their exciting new venture, PIC.tv, the Public Internet Channel, a network with a public purpose. always on. What exactly does this mean? A snippet follows below, but you can visit the site to learn more.
The Public Internet Channel (PIC.tv) is a next-generation, public-purpose online network. It inspires, informs, and entertains, helping people live better lives.
The Public Internet Channel combines compelling programming with a launching point into relevant information that provides the opportunity for people to take action.
Everything on the Public Internet Channel is relevant, current, accessible and, whenever possible, local — and always with a clearly-defined public purpose. The Public Internet Channel shows real people in real situations tackling everyday topics, from health to money to living a sustainable lifestyle.
It also provides users with an interactive “Make It Easy” toolbox that gives people instant access to local information and the tools they need to take action based on what they learned. By providing this tool directly to all Americans, we hope to narrow the “information gap” that divides communities and provide a common space that crosses racial, gender, age, religious, geographic and political barriers.
The site features original and licensed video content, which is streamed from the Brightcove platform. The site itself is based on the excellent open source Drupal content management system and web application framework, with significant customizations, mostly at the theme level. Special thanks to Greg Spies of The Interactive Department for his work in helping to develop the Flash rotators in use througout the site.
I have been honored to be involved with this project and it is a rare opportunity indeed to get a chance to combine one's professional skills with broader goals. That, combined with the smart and passionate people I have had the opportunity to work with, has made this one of my most rewarding projects. As Dan Fellini, the project's producer put it,
Savor it, believe in it, and let it energize you forward. There’s work to be done, for sure. There always will be. But it’s important work and we’re up for the challenge.
The site is still in beta and currently requires registration, but I encourage you to spend a moment looking around and provide your feedback.