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As with previous years, I met a ton of new people at the SXSW conference. I have to admit that I was very much looking to meet Dries Buytaert. Belgium-based Dries is the founder of the Drupal CMS. If you are a regular reader of CN, you know that all of our sites were in Drupal until a year ago when we shifted to WordPress. I always liked Drupal but the admin interface just isn’t as usable as the WordPress admin interface. Dries told me that the upcoming Drupal 7 release will have a redesigned admin interface.
Check out my video discussion with Dries below (make sure to watch in HD!). We talk about SXSW, the upcoming Drupal 7 release and the Drupal Gardens product. Drupal Gardens is a service provided by Acquia. Drupal Gardens is basically a hosted Drupal service similar to the WordPress.com hosted service.
Dries notes that the Drupal 7 release has a focus on usability (they hired usability experts to help make the product stronger). They are also making lots of improvements for developers – including better APIs and better database abstraction layers. The Drupal 7 release is in alpha and they are hoping to get it out in public within the next few months.
Continue reading “Interview With Drupal Founder Dries Buytaert” »
Earlier this month CenterNetworks was converted from Drupal to WordPress. Part of the conversion resulted in several of the CN sites getting hit with an exploit. It appears that one of the CN sites might have actually been hit earlier and I just never noticed it and only upon CN getting hit did I realize this other site was also hit.
This other site apparently lost most of its “Google Juice” which resulted in a major reduction in organic search site traffic. Here’s a graph of the before, during and after.
At the lowest point, nearly 70% of Google-referral traffic to the site in question was lost. As you can see from the chart above, slowly the Google Juice has been restored and we are back to normal traffic today. Phew, at least now I can get the investors off my back.
What did I learn from this experience? Google indexes sites very quickly but it seems to take about two weeks for the Google search crawlers to update an entire site. From what I can tell, there’s no real way to tell Google that a site was infected and that it is now clean of bad links. There is a re-inclusion request form but I’ve never received any feedback when I have submitted that form in the past so no idea if it actually worked. More importantly, the experience made me realize just how much Google controls how this site does monetarily each and every day.
Since CenterNetworks relaunched in late 2006, we’ve used Drupal as our content management system. I’ve been a fan of Drupal (along with a variety of other CMS systems) and selected it because I wanted a system that could expand past a simple blog. Last week, I switched CenterNetworks to utilize the WordPress CMS and I’d like to share some of my thoughts regarding the change.
I’d like to first thank several people who have helped tremendously in the conversion and post-conversion efforts. They include Terry Smith, Zach and Rob La Gesse from Mosso, Matt Cutts from Google and Mark Jaquith. Each of them went way above-and-beyond to help me and I very much appreciate their effort.
When Matt Mullenweg provided a demo of WordPress 2.7 last year in NYC, I immediately fell in love with the administration control panel. The admin panel has been one of my biggest frustrations with Drupal. The Drupal admin feels like it was developed by a developer while the WordPress admin feels like it was developed by an end-user. With thousands of posts, it was just difficult to manage. We have a variety of excellent contributors and I’d love to be able to let them post their own stories but never was able to get it working in Drupal. Actually I could have easily created an account for each contributor but the usability was at a point that I feared that their stories might never get posted correctly.
We initially reviewed spam prevention service Mollom back in April and I noted that it gave me back an hour a day because I didn’t need to spend as much time picking out the good comments in the thousands of spams we get a day. I worked with the Mollom team of Dries and Benjamin over the summer to get the plugin working correctly on CN. There were tweaks on both sides that needed to be implemented because of our cloud computing setup.
Since the kinks were resolved, Mollom has worked really well. It seems at this point that only Svetlana has issues posting comments from Russia – no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t get them to come through! Mollom has been working as well on CN with our Drupal setup as Akismet works on our WordPress-based blogs.
Mollom has made three big announcements over the past week: leaving the beta period, hit 10 million blocked spams and their pricing model.
The pricing model is listed on the Mollom site and there are free and paid options. The differences are simple. The free account is limited to 100 blocked spams a day and there’s no uptime guarantee. The paid plan is
$30/month 30 Euros/month and blocks up to 10,000 spams a day and has a more robust environment and support policy.
I don’t see many WordPress users switching from Akismet to Mollom. I do imagine that with the right marketing plan, Mollom could do very well for a variety of CMS and blog platforms that don’t already incorporate a spam protection tool. Once the base is strong, then go after the platforms that have built-in spam protection tools.
We are going to remain on as a tester for Mollom going forward to provide feedback and a testing platform as they improve the service. My hope is that they will create hooks into other Drupal features like trackbacks – I sure would love to turn those back on sometime!
Update: Andrew has a good spam prevention comparison from earlier this year.
Video messageboard and now blog commenting service Seesmic has now taken up residence inside the Drupal content management system (CMS). Unfortunately it’s not a blog plugin like those fine folks using WordPress have, it’s just an API module hook. So basically what this means is that you can tie Seesmic into other modules on Drupal but you can’t use this as a stand-alone module to add the Seesmic functionality. They note that the full video comment functionality is coming soon to Drupal. I will report back once I have a chance to test the full functionality.
I believe Viddler’s video comment system has a Drupal option but their servers are down so I can’t verify.
Check out our prior Seesmic coverage including our reasoning as to why Seesmic won’t work. Though I will admit that Loic has some amazing connections that could put the product over the top. I do notice that the Seesmic video comments plugin provides Seesmic with some really juicy SEO with the way the links are setup. This could help Seesmic gain ground in the all important video discovery arena.
Thomson Reuters and Phase2 Technology Team to Deliver Calais Modules for the Drupal Publishing Platform
New Modules Make it Easy for Drupal Users to Metatag their Content, Increasing Search Relevance and Accessibility on the Web
The SemTech 2008 Conference – San Jose, CA – May 19, 2008 – Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI; TSX: TRI; LSE: TRIL: NASDAQ: TRIN) and Phase2 Technology have debuted three Calais modules for integration with Drupal, the open source content management platform that supports a variety of Web sites ranging from blogs and online publishers to large interactive communities.
Calais is Thomson Reuters’ Semantic Web Service that enables publishers to automatically metatag the people, places, facts and events in their content to increase its search accessibility on the Web.
The Calais modules for Drupal are feature-rich, highly intuitive and designed to make it easy for Drupal users to automatically metatag their content, generating rich semantic metadata that can be shared via a simple key and integrated into the larger content universe.
"Calais is a natural fit for our experience implementing Drupal on media and publishing sites," said Jeff Walpole, Managing Partner, Phase2 Technology. "We’ll continue our work on Calais and are excited about the functionality these modules will provide to the news and information business."
"Enabling the Semantic Web is an exciting frontier for the future of the Web and a key opportunity for Drupal," said Dries Buytaert, creator of the Drupal open source project and co-founder of Acquia. "We welcome Calais to our community and encourage its future development."
The modules use the power of Calais to suggest terms for association within a piece of content, similar to how del.icio.us recommends relevant tags. They also enable Drupal users to integrate their own publisher- and user-generated metadata as they go forward, to truly customize their installation.
"We’re extremely pleased to be working with Phase2 Technology to provide Drupal users with everything they need to tap Calais’s rich metatagging capabilities," said Thomas Tague, Calais evangelist and project lead, Thomson Reuters. "The new modules make it easy for Drupal users large and small to launch automated metatagging and take advantage of the Semantic Web."
Availability: The Calais modules for Drupal are available now. To learn more, please visit the Calais section of the Phase2 Technology site. Demos can be found here: http://calais.phase2technology.com/content/calais-demo-screencast.
Drupal is open source social publishing software that empowers individuals, teams, and communities to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a Web site. Tens of thousands of people and organizations have used Drupal to power scores of different Web sites, including community Web portals, corporate Web sites, social networking sites and much more. For more information on Drupal, go to www.drupal.org.
The Calais initiative supports the interoperability of content and advances Thomson Reuters’ mission to deliver pervasive intelligent information. It leverages the company’s substantial investment in semantic technologies and Natural Language Processing to offer free metadata generation services, developer tools and an open standard for the generation of semantic content. For more information or to get started with the Calais API, go to OpenCalais.com.
About Phase2 Technology
Phase2 Technology is a leading provider of adaptable web software solutions, application development and consulting services. The company specializes in content management systems, content exchange, CRM and online publishing and community tools. We apply our unique Agile Approach methodology to every project and have particular expertise in Drupal, CiviCRM and custom Java applications. The Phase2 Technology development team has been highly active in the Drupal community for several years. For more information, go to www.phase2technology.com.
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. The company combines industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, scientific, healthcare and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people in 93 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TRI); Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: TRI); London Stock Exchange (LSE: TRIL); and Nasdaq (NASDAQ: TRIN). For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.
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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this post may not necessarily represent the views of CenterNetworks. This press release was paid for and provided in its entirety by Thomson Reuters.
Ten days ago we posted a review of the new Mollom spam protection system. What I learned over the next few days is that every comment/tech directory listing that a CN reader attempted to post was hit with a message suggesting that the comments or tech directory listing might be spam.
I posted a message on the Mollom support forum along with the Drupal support forum. Thursday I decided to attempt to email the Mollom founders, explain the situation and tell them that if we can’t get this fixed, I will need to remove Mollom as my readers are mad!
After a brief email exchange with founders Benjamin Schrauwen and Dries Buytaert, they were able to get the problem fixed. Apparently there was a bug that caused some sites (i.e. ours) to force all comments to show as "unsure". The "unsure" flag forces the CAPTCHA validation.
In summary, the issue has been resolved and you should now be able to comment quickly and easily. Big thanks to Dries and Benjamin for immediately resolving the issue and thank you for your patience!
On a related topic, you can now subscribe when you post a comment. Check the subscribe box and you will receive an email when someone replies. It’s a great way to keep the conversation going!