Archive for the ‘London Drupal Hub’ Category.

DrupalCon 2010 and the future of Drupal

Last week a few members of the FreshNetworks development team went over to Copenhagen to find out about the latest developments in the Drupal world at DrupalCon 2010.

Drupal is the open source content management system that we use here at FreshNetworks to develop our online community sites.

Drupal has various advantages over other content management systems (as described in our post on why Drupal is a great social media platform (in layman’s terms)) and has grown rapidly in use over the last seven years or so.

Paul Oram and James Andres, both experienced “Drupalistas” and  members of our tech team,  attended the conference this year to speak  find out more about the latest Drupal developments.

In the video below Paul explains these developments and what we can expect from Drupal in the next release and what developments it is taking over the next few years.

Why Drupal is a great social media platform (in layman’s terms)

shutterstock_41177428Drupal, Drupal, Drupal. Ever since I organised the “Drupal for Doughnuts” gathering during social media week back in January, all I seem to hear about is Drupal.

At our nfp and membership breakfast seminar a few weeks ago, Bertie Bosredon from Breast Cancer Care was talking about the benefits of Drupal as a content management system. And while some of the US government’s various administrative bodies have been using Drupal as their CMS system for some time now, the big news for Drupal in the UK was when Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt unveiled Data.gov.uk, a new government website allowing access to public sector data for mere mortals like myself. The Data.gov.uk website uses Drupal web technologies to encourage people to create and manipulate data in clear, imaginative ways - a great validation for Drupal’s adoption of the semantic web.

Here at FreshNetworks we have always believed in the power of Drupal, which is why we’ve chosen to use it as our social media software platform.

Now I’ve heard, time and again, from our Tech team about why Drupal is the best choice for developing online communities, but being a layman and not a Drupaler (I work in Marketing), I thought it might be beneficial to explain, in simple terms, my top 5 reasons for using Drupal as a social media platform:

1. Drupal supports the tools and modules needed to develop a successful online community

In order to engage your community and get them talking to each other you need to provide them with an online arena to interact. With a bit of techie know-how, Drupal can be used to build the various tools that are proven to encourage online conversation, including:

  • Blogs: a person or multiple people can publish posts and comment on posts on a regular basis.
  • Forums: an area for a structured group discussion about an idea, theme or topic.
  • Profiles: people can publish information about themselves to help engage users and make the experience more “real”.
  • Wikis: several people can jointly edit a document or group of documents to encourage collaboration and teamwork.

In fact, we’ve used Drupal to develop a variety of different tools and modules so that we can alter the function of the community depending on the needs of our clients.

2. Drupal is open source

Drupal is an open source platform. This is a fancy way of saying that the source code for the software is published and made available to the general public so that everyone can access it.

To me, the benefit of an open source platform is that it is supported by a large developer community. This means that if you use Drupal as a social media platform it’ll be improving all the time - vital in the fast-moving era of social media marketing. And as Drupal is quite a mature platform, it has been through several different version releases so it’s an extremely secure system.

3. Drupal is highly scalable when coupled with a good hosting platform

In a nutshell, Drupal has history of running big websites with lots of content. So you are free to add videos, articles, newsletters and downloads to your online community platform without fear of it crashing.  It also means you can keep on increasing the size of your community and its members.

4. Drupal has great SEO

You don’t have to do much to Drupal for it to be SEO friendly - it has good SEO straight out of the box. You can easily add in page titles, metatags and URLS to give your online community more SEO juice.  Drupal can also be integrated with google analytics so that you can track and monitor the success of your online community.

5. It’s easy to add, edit and change content in Drupal

Once your online community has been built you will want to add, edit and change content on the site. Speaking as someone who barely knows their cascading style sheets from their linen bed sheets, Drupal allows you to pretty much create and update content without any programming knowledge. This means that whoever manages your online community should have no problems changing, adding and altering things, making life easier and freeing up more time for other stuff like growing the community and managing online reputation.

Take a look for yourself at some notable brands running Drupal sites:

  • Warner Bros. Records
  • Sony BMG Myplay
  • FedEx Newsroom

Social Media Week: Drupal as a social media platform

smw-london-largeFor those of you who don’t already know, this week is Social Media Week. A week of social media conferences, meetups and events taking place in multiple cities around the world, including New York City, Berlin, London, San Francisco, Toronto and Sao Paulo.

The aim of social media week is to advance the use and understanding of social media in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors. So to do our bit for the cause we’re holding “Doughnuts for Drupal” - a free, informal breakfast discussion about using Drupal as a social media platform.

If you’re a Drupal programmer, developer or blogger (or a “Drupalite” as we like to say) then pop along and join in the Drupal fun. Free coffee and doughnuts will be served from 8.30am on Friday 5th February at our offices in High Holborn, London.

Charlie Osmond, our MD, will give a quick introduction to the session at 9.00am followed by an open discussion about  Drupal.  James Andre and Marcus Deglos, our very own “Drupalites”, will also be on hand to answer questions.

The gathering is also the unofficial launch of the London Drupal Hub. With several Drupalites on board already, we have the basis for a hub of Drupal activity, knowledge sharing and best practice right here in our central London offices.

To register your interest, or for more information about the meetup please email jo.stratmann@freshnetworks.com or call us on 0207 692 4376.

Address: Kingsbourne House, 229 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7DA