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by Benjamin Bradley | February 11, 2016
Real Magic Isn’t Perfect

As someone who had been hand-coding web applications for years, I thought I’d found a magic wand when I discovered the world of open-source software. I no longer needed to laboriously recreate each website from scratch. With the flick of a wrist, I could now whip up a website in minutes — a task that used to take hours. But only movie magic is perfect. In the real world, every magic has its tradeoffs.

Modern content management systems like Drupal provide a lot...

Illustration of a house, old and dilapidated on one side, and clean and new on the other.
by Benjamin Bradley | December 29, 2015
You Can Go Your Own Way
But You Might Not Want to Pay the Toll

When explaining my website hosting/development work to non-techies, one of my favorite analogies is real estate. A web developer will help you build a website, like a contractor helps you build a house. And a web host provides a place to put it, like finding land for your house to sit on. The analogy will stretch pretty far. Websites have addresses (domain names), and can receive mail. They have ongoing costs like utilities (...

This shop is controlled by its workers
by Doug Addison | September 18, 2015

Until seven or eight years ago, the extent of my support of the cooperative economy was occasional grocery shopping at the nearby food co-op and replenishing my sock supply at the local REI store. Or so I thought. Turns out that cooperatives command large parts of our economy — from dairies and credit unions to home healthcare, hardware and electric utilities. And this segment of the economy is growing: cooperatives of all types and sizes are popping up from Jackson, Miss., to Oakland — even...

by Dawnielle Castledine | April 14, 2015

I came to work for Polycot after having been in online community management and customer service with two companies that had previously hired this team for their websites. I naturally fell into a main point of contact role with each company. From these experiences, the Polycot team thought they saw something I could offer their projects: great communication skills. That was nearly a year ago, and I couldn't be happier with my decision to say yes to this learning experience. Robert Matney,...

by Benjamin Bradley | April 9, 2015

Over the 10+ years that I've been writing source code and working with source control management (SCM) systems like git, subversion, and cvs, I've developed a set of best practices which boost the benefits of source control's history/tracking features and help to keep my code bases clean.

Source control management, or SCM, is used to track changes in files over time. Software source code evolves as new features are added and tracking the history makes it easy to go back (revert) to an...

by Benjamin Bradley | March 18, 2015

We frequently get inquiries from outsourcing companies boasting of hundreds of developers ready to work on our projects at a moment’s notice. This collaboration, they claim, would enable us to focus on our “core business vectors and streamline [our] development process.” When one such company continued with repeated contacts, even after my polite rejections, I felt forced to lay it all out for them. Here was my response:

Hello [name redacted],

by Jon Lebkowsky | June 21, 2012

CMS stands for content management system which is just a fancy way for saying a web site that normal people can change without the need for web experts.  A content management system will look like any other website however once a manager or editor logs in, they will be able to change menu links with a few clicks, add calendar items, update inventory, change prices for products etc. etc.

All of this has changed radically in the last ten to fifteen years as CMS's have grown in maturity...

by Jon Lebkowsky | June 21, 2012

Drupal is the premiere open source Content Management System (CMS) available today. Drupal features an amazing collection of features allowing any type of site. Whether your site is a blog, brochure company site, full blown social community, ecommerce shopping site, or an informational site for an organization Drupal is the right tool for the job. 

Check out some cool huge sites:

The New York Observer –
The White House -
The Onion...
by Jon Lebkowsky | February 22, 2012

I just posted this at Google+, and it's worth echoing here:

Fixed bid web development makes no sense. It makes adversaries of the developer and client. The client always want more than they realize at the point of RFP development and/or discovery, and they always want to work it into the fixed price, so there's a struggle where the client wants more and the developer has to adhere to the estimate of hours or lose money on the project. And even a thorough discovery often won't reveal...

by Jon Lebkowsky | December 10, 2007

Dion Hinchcliffe writes that "Enterprise 2.0" – social software or "Web 2.0" technology in the Enterprise – is maturing, and points to a Radicati Group analysis, via a post at SocialText, suggesting that the business social software market will reach over $3.3 billion by 2011. Hinchcliffe says The big question for many of those on the fence now is: 1) Do we now have the right capabilities in terms of ready Enterprise 2.0 products? And 2) Do we generally understand how to apply them properly...