Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Moving Forward

Slowly but surely, things are moving forward. We should be in full launch mode very soon. There's been lots going on behind the scenes to pull everything together. Shortly (i really wish I could define that a bit better), both http://owdt.org and http://owds.org will be up and running in full swing.

What is OWDT and OWDS ? Open Web Development and Design Systems & Technologies. These are two community sites that we're sponsoring/developing in order to promote and aid the growth and support of a number of what I/we believe are very important and valuable technologies and methodologies in the coming years.

We're not focusing on promoting any particular products, languages or technologies, rather the communities will be somewhat fluid, in that we'll adapt and adjust over time to the needs of the community. Each of the two sites will have a slightly different focus. Each site will feature a main site "blog" or discussion where we'll try to address hot or pressing current topics. Both will be highly interactive and user driven. Each site will also offer users the ability to set up a personal blog like - userORtopic.owds.org !

The two sites have grown out of a small project I started on my personal web site, offering a "sandbox" area for users(generally who didn't have access to their own server resources) to experiment with and have complete access to "demo" installs of a couple of CMS platforms and of course Wordpress. Many users have been using this "sandbox" to aid in developing and testing various themes and plugins or modules for each system. This has become a pretty popular attraction, and discussions started about building a separate site or community dedicated to the idea.

After giving it some thought, I decided to set up two sites (again, they'll have slightly different focus), while there are obviously many open source projects and design sites out there, the "sandbox" idea has become so popular it seemed logical to expand on the concept.

The main focus of both sites will be to support users and development of web based applications and standards compliant xhtml/css site design. In addition to the "blog" capabilities mentioned above, we'll also establish a community area for support and development of a number of open source CMS and publishing platforms, a code sharing and discussion area, and a design area for folks to share discuss, develop and publish open source css/xhtml based site designs, as well as development of "themes" for various platforms.

These communities are not intended to be a replacement for the existing support or development forums like those found at places like wordpress.org, oswd.org, xoops.org typo3.org, etc, but rather supplement their capabilities by offering users the ability to establish their own "site" or blog, and more importantly provide a repository for the wealth of information and help available through the global open source design and development communities.

We are decidedly not "anti" any platform or language. Our mission or goal is to provide a one (ok, two) stop centralized location and set of resources to enable the adoption of standards based and open source solutions to everyone from small individual users to enterprise level users. In an upcoming post I'm going to address some of the issues which relate to the difficulties in large enterprises adopting these types of solutions. When we talk about "open source" many of us relate that to only UNIX based, apache, perl, php, python, MySQL type technologies. Part of the goal is to also enable those using things like the Microsoft .NET platform to adopt many of the same principals, as well as promote responsible development of web based applications by demonstrating the ability of things like the MS .NET environment to produce standards compliant code to the browser as easily as with the LAMP platform.

On a personal note, I spent a number of years (1996-2002) as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider, and held both MCSD and MCP/I certifications, in addition to my work with FreeBSD/Linux, perl, Apache, beginning in around 1994. I mention this because I have a bit of a unique perspective on many of the challenges faced by those wishing to migrate from or supplement the capabilities of the MS platforms. Personally, since around 2001, just about 100% of my personal development and design efforts have been exclusively using unix/apache/php/perl. Prior to that time, my choice of platform was more dictated by the actual circumstance and specific project. In a number of situations, I chose the MS platforms, partly due to my existing relationship with them, and partly due to the uncertainty of using an alternative platform for high profile projects. There were also many instances of enterprise type clients/environments having doubts about using "open source" environments for mission critical applications. One of the eventual goals of these two sites will be to establish a global registry or database of experienced and qualified consultants and developers who can assist such organizations with the support and development of both the MS and open source based platforms.

In order to really get things moving and to get as many folks involved in these efforts as possible, we've established a pretty comprehensive presence, outlined as follows:
  • owdt.org - main site, which will function as discussed above.
  • owds.org - ditto, above.
It's going to take a little bit of extra effort to keep everything updated and synchronized, but I'm sure the effort will be worth it. In case I didn't mention it earlier, these are all FREE communities. We may selectively add a small bit of advertising (like some Google Adsense, etc) in order to offset some of the operational costs, but the goal is to keep both sites completely FREE for users, and as light as possible on the ads. We may also implement a donation type system at some point.

Currently, we're seeking expert contributors in terms of both writing articles, assisting in moderating and helping out folks using the forums and development areas, etc. If you're interested in being a part of this project please forward a note with your area of interest and resume to chradil@gmail.com and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I have a number of personal projects going on (inlcuding launching a couple of "for profit" startups), so if I don't respond immediately, it's only becuase I'm off doing other things, but I will get back to all who respond, even if we can't use your help at the moment.).

I'd like to just thank all of you who've encouraged me to "formalize" my site "sandbox", as well as thank in advance those of you who join in and lend a hand in getting this all off of the ground.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Open Web Design

Keep an eye on this if you're interested in open source communities, web development and design, and technologies like xhtml/css, cms frameworks like xoops, publishing platforms like wordpress, php development and such.

This will serve as a journal of sorts for the activities at owdt.org and owds.org in the coming months.