Page 1

The Open Web ! and Momentum Magazine" How a small organization employs open source" -- by Wendell Challenger and Amy Walker"

About Momentum…" •! Momentum Magazine is a bi-monthly publication" •! Urban and transportation based cycling" –! Healthy living and alternative urban living"

•! Forged out of passion" •! Heavily involved volunteer contributions" •! Community!" !!Changing the world?!!

We reflect a growing cycling culture!"

And we are free!" Readers can pick up free copies in 20 North American cities:"



We also publish online for free!" Our online version:" 1.! Compliment/Replicate printed work" •!

Free distribution"

2.! SEO (Search Engine Optimization)" 3.! Track all content to all contributors" •!

Contributor profiles becomes an automated CV"


Builds community of contributors – sense of pride"

4.! Relatively “easy” to upload content for non-technical volunteers and staff" •!

Forms that guide users through"

5.! A time capsule of urban cycling " •!

urban cycling knowledge warehouse"

Why open source?" •! Our market share is relatively small, but we still wanted a highly specific e-publishing platform…" –! Tailor our content delivery" –! Strongly interconnections (bi-directionality) within our site."

•! We’re on a budget so we need to get off the ground with volunteer help and limited resources" •! Oh yeah.. we’re in it for the long term, so we want to be future proof"

Proprietary Solutions..."

...your locked in!

The “Open Web” to us…"





Drupal CMS (Open Source)" •! Decided on the Drupal CMS" –! PHP based Content management system" –! Modular in all aspects" –! Vibrant community of developers" •! user contributed modules and themes"

•! Brilliantly modular" •! System of defaults and over-rides allows you to quickly build on top of services provided by currently available modules (projects)" •! We were able to develop a site using a volunteer with limited web and no PHP experience (hint… its me!)"

How Drupal Works" Blog"

Content ! -nodes"

User Requests a page




Template System"


-theme system"

!"!theme (css)"

Web Page

Drupal! @"#)& 4"6/5)A&

@".$#*B/$)6& 4"6/5)A&

CCK + views + custom module" •! CCK = Content Construction Kit" –! Define form fields via a web browser"

•! Views module" –! Construct MySQL queries from a browser!"

•! Custom module acts as the “glue”" •! Based on the NY Observer model, content types include" –! Edition “node”" –! Stories “node”" –! Contributors “node”"

NY Observer Publishing Model" Node (aka content type) relationships"

Editions" Cover Image Ownership" Authorship"


Image Ownership"


CCK: Complex web forms made easy"

CCK: Complex web forms made easy"

Complex Story Layout"

Complex Story Layout"

Complex edition layouts"

Bi-directionality & deep internal linking!" login register




Back Issues


Get Involved

Pick it up!





David Niddrie

Like what we're doing? Please support our

Contributions: Author, Photographer


Homepage: David Niddrie is a photographer and writer who is regularly found on the Vancouver bike paths shooting for Momentum &

Learn More

other bicycle-based ventures. You can see more of his work in Adbusters, Beyond Robson, CBCr3 & Maisonneuve, He is a yearround cyclist, concert junkie, and lover of those elusive 'out there' sights & sounds. Drinking matĂŠ, hiking the North Shore, watching surrealist westerns (and Galactica of course) and constantly tinkering with his bikes are what makes him tick. That, and dreaming of a return trip to Argentina sometime soon.

Bicycles for Africa. Help build them one part at a time. Every part counts!

Recent Contributions Cycling Helmets Pro Rudy Project Helmets Free Shipping

Print Articles Book Review: Custom

Bicycles - A Passionate Pursuit Flickr Bikes have

Biking Photo Gallery Browse our Free Galleries. Free photos, screensavers & more!

Purple Pedals Review: Helmet Hero [See All]

Covers PowerKing Bicycle Engines $109 with Free Shipping US Canada 80cc, 50cc, 49cc Parts and Services

[Enlarge | Read]

[Enlarge | Read]

[Enlarge | Read]

Bicycle Helmet Playful fun for both young and old. Find your bicycle helmet now!

Article Lead Images

Article Images


Drupal Developers & Themers"

Contact" " or"

Personal experience (Drupal)" Pros"


•! Just an amazing resource and tool"

•! A massively steep learning curve"

•! Friendly developer community"

•! Confusing and often nonexisting documentation"

•! No shortage of options" •! Use to spin up/tailor solutions I would never be able to dream otherwise" •! Vast array of troubleshooting information in the forums" •! FREE & OPEN!!"

•! Always running…" –! Constantly project updates" –! Constant project (module) deaths" –! Unclear future roadmap" –! Constant attention is required"

!! Dizzying array of options & info!

Example problem: front page rotator!


Drupal rotator / slider modules" The problem:" •!

15-20 possible Drupal projects cold be used"


Each one has a slightly different approach"


Varying levels of developed & quality"


Some will be maintained, some will go extinct"


Which one would you choose?"

Example modules include:" 1.! 2.! 3.! 4.! 5.! 6.! 7.! 8.! 9.! 10.! 11.! 12.! 13.! 14.! 15.!

Couloir Slideshow" Dynamic display block" Frontpage Slideshow " Views Accordion" Views Rotator " Views Cycle" Views Slideshow" Views Slideshow: ImageFlow " Views Showcase" Slideshow Creator" Featured Content Slider" Slider" EasySlider" Node Carousel" Views Carousel "

Being my own Drupal “editor”" •! Read about each project" –! Determine method used & current development level (i.e. alpha, beta, release candidate…)" –! Come up with a list of positives/negatives" –! Judge the current level of active development/maintenance"

•! Test out a subset on a sandbox to see how they behave" –! Conflicts with other scripts/modules?" –! Browser compatibility?"

•! Choose one and develop into a solution" •! Make live and cross my fingers fingers"

Drupal Image handling" •! Most online communities need/want some form of image handling" –! Especially images are key content we wish to share"

•! Everyone knows its important but the possible solutions are just as confusing" •! In Drupal three main approaches" –! Core upload module with hand coding" –! Image module " –! Cck and imagefield module (now filefield an"

•! Currently not unified "

Drupal Discussions"


Image Handling" •!

April 2007 - Team Lullabot provided some nice arguments about how cck + imagefield (now filefield) devalues image.module"


Personally, influential but confusing" –! I spent way too many hours considering the pros and cons of each one" –! If “wrong” momentum could be saddled with an outmoded image method?"


In 2009 Image node is still relevant" –! Method for inserting images into posts" –! Quick galleries (could argue either way)" !! A base for other modules to hook into? " !! Popularity guarantees some sort of upgrade path"


Most “future direction” articles/perspective are"

Do the “best” projects win?" •! But by “best” do we mean:" –! Best underlying theory " –! Best current implementation" –! Best in usability " –! Best future proof method" –! Best development timeline" !!Or simply highest rate of adoption?"

Strangely reminiscent of evolutionâ&#x20AC;Ś"

Components of Evolution " Via Natural Selection"

Open Source Software"

1.! Phenotypic Variability"

1.! Multiple Solutions/Projects"

2.! Genetic Heritability"

2.! Source Code Carry-over"

3.! Fitness Differences"

3.! Project adoption rates"

Open Source exhibits the main characteristics of a naturally evolving system...

About evolution" •! There is NO master plan. " –! The “best” is the one that isn’t extinct"

•! Evolution is changes in “gene” frequencies over time " –! gene = smallest divisible unit"

•! Optimal “solutions” are contextual" –! given the starting place, and the selective pressures, the current solution is the optimal solution." –! “Fitness” has to be carefully interpreted"

•! Evolution can produce unexpected results"

Example: Sexual Section & The Widow Bird!

So do the “best” projects win?" •! By “best” do we mean:" –! Best underlying theory " –! Best current implementation" –! Best usability " –! Best future proof method" –! Best development timeline" !!Or simply highest rate of adoption?"

The Red Queen Principle" The Red Queen" “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”" !--Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass”!

The Red Queen Hypothesis" “For an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.”#" !--Leigh Van Valen (1973)!

Red Queen & open source projects" •! If true, we may must expect projects to continually change rapidly because they need to" –! Differentiate from similar projects" –! Add features to entice new users" –! Add features to gain feature parity from other projects in order to keep users"

•! This can have serious implications"

Evolutionary Arms Race" This story is a metaphor for a phenomenon in evolution that is also analogized as an â&#x20AC;&#x153;arms race.â&#x20AC;? Typically, two species are engaged in some sort of competition, or one is parasitic on the other. Over time, Natural Selection shapes the relevant features of one species in the context of the countervailing features of the other species, and visa versa. Since the relevant features of both species are dynamic, the selection is dynamic, and all else being equal, the relationship of the two species (or their relevant features) stays roughly the same while the entire system shifts in its intensity.""

Impact On Open Source Deployment" •! Dynamic “ecosystem” => Constant re-education + redeployment" –! Resource intensive for any organization "

•! Uncertainty in choosing projects to deploy" –! Projects being born, others going extinct" –! Lots of research needed prior to choosing (labour intensive)" –! Then on top of that you roll the dice"

!! When developing your on-line community this can be a serious limitation if you have limited budget (time and/or money)" !! We need to ensure stability to smaller organizations"

Proprietary â&#x20AC;&#x153;argumentsâ&#x20AC;? try to sneak inâ&#x20AC;Ś" Bait and switch! In retail sales, a bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is.!

FUD " Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.!

“Open Web?”"





But how much change is required?" Craigslist circa 2000"

Craigslist May 2009"

A solution?" •! Do we try to change the process?" –! I would argue no" –! Change and options are good" –! The process needs to remain open so that all voices can weigh in"

•! What we need is a better way to understand the ever evolving landscape"

Are experts the limiting resource?"

â&#x20AC;&#x153;When information is free, the only#thing of value is point-of-viewâ&#x20AC;?" !

- Dan (Audience Member), The Future of Media, May 15, 2006!

## #


Forums, wikis, and blogs?" •! Don’t forums, wikis and blogs provide expert opinions? Yes and no." –! There is a lot of information and a lot of noise" –! Often terse and/or subtly biased answers " •! (aka my method is the best approach)"

!!May not always go after the difficult subjects" !!Constantly forced to judge the accuracy/perspective of the response"

You have to read between the lines"

Can traditional print media offer a solution?" •! The “editorial process”" –! Filter through the noise to pull out the gems" –! Build consensus from differing view points" –! Track down experts and get contributions" –! Some accountability (letters to the editor!)"

•! Structure to understand a rapidly changing landscape." •! A venue to critically assess ideas and concepts"

Peer Review In Science" 1.! Submit your manuscript to the journal's editor" –!

Only well established experts are invited to be editors !


Editor reviews your work and if deemed worthwhile it moves to Step 2, the peer review"

2.! Three 2-3 experts in your field are asked to review and comment on your work" 3.! Reviews submit a list of criticism that you are asked to address, either with rebuttal or by changing your manuscript" 4.! Answer each reviewer’s point in succession and resubmit your manuscript (review stage)" 5.! Repeat steps 3 & 4 until everyone is happy!"

Peer Review Continued" •! Peer review forces authors to fully develop ideas" •! Expert reviewers add some transparency" –! Verify concepts and facts" –! Offer new insights and perspectives" –! Keeps authors accountable to a larger audience"

•! Negatives? " –! criticized for its lack of accountability, possibility of abuse by reviewers, its possible bias and inconsistency" –! Takes FOREVER! Up to a year from submission to publishing "

Alternatives to peer review " •! Open Peer Review" –! Open peer review does essentially the same thing except the process is done via he internet" –! Reviewers' names are made public and are accountable for their review, " –! Reviewers also have their contribution acknowledged. " –! Authors have the right of reply, and other researchers have the chance to comment prior to publication"

•! Trials with open peer review since 1996" –! Failed for scientific journals, could succeed for open source"

Open Source & Open Peer Review?" â&#x20AC;˘! Discuss/expound longer term ideas and development paths for projects" â&#x20AC;˘! A Potential Workflow" 1.! Submit an article to the editor, who posts it for open review" 2.! Reviewers leave comments/critics and maybe also rate" 3.! Author responds (rebuttal and/or article revision)" 4.! Repeat 2-4 until either community (or editor?) agrees the article has been acceptably developed" 5.! Moves to more formal publication or community ratings prior to publication? "

Drop Magazine: The Drupal professional journal?! •! We propose a hybrid model, a mixture of " –! open peer review articles and " –! more traditional magazine like articles" –! Appeal to developers and newbies?"

•! Open peer review articles would" –! Development of longer term ideas and concepts" •! (e.g. discussions of future development directions)"

–! Current best practices, overviews and potentially critism" –! Critical reviews of methods and projects"

•! If popular, different magazines/journals for different audiences"

Drop Magazine/Journal" •! In-depth coverage of key case studies (e.g. New York State Senate)" •! Examples of end-user usability " •! Exposes on the human faces behind the code" -the warm and fuzzy side of the community"

“Drop Magazine” already exists ""

But the precedence is there…" •! The Knight Foundation Announces $485,380 in Funding for Six Drupal Projects, " –! Fund cutting edge electronic journalism, communities and innovators with big idea" –! “And we ask, as we evaluate opportunities and grants, ‘Is this truly transformational?’”" !!For one project was for Drupal documentation"

•! The need clearly exists" !!So, how do we get the ball rolling?!"



The Open Web and Momentum Magazine  

Slides from a talk Momentum magazine gave at the Open Web Vancouver 2009 conference. We look at how a small organizations employ open sourc...