Many Pies

Many Pies

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Clouds everywhere

Clouds are the new big thing, and like most rising technology concepts that you can give a single word or acronym to, its not something you can some up in a single sentence. This post is really to help me get my head around latest developments as you'll find better expert commentary elsewhere.

VMware have vCloud which sounds like you can take a virtual image and chuck it up into their cloud.

When I came across this the other day I noticed that Rackspace were on their list of Hosting Services. However when I went to the Rackspace website I found no mention of it.

Then last week the Rackspace Cloud Event happened. This seems to be plugging their existing Mosso cloud service, and their purchase of Jungledisk and Slicehost. I am familiar with Slicehost when I was investigating virtual server providers. They seem to have a good reputation and it looks like this is a good purchase for both parties.

Jungledisk runs on Amazon's S3 currently, and Amazon can now offer Windows machines under EC2, so Microsoft are getting into this.

And now we have Azure which I find it hard to understand, but includes lots of cloud stuff for Microsoft technologies like .NET and SQLServer. It encompasses the previous Mesh stuff, so it looks like a pretty big pile of technologies. "Stack" sounds too organised. It would be nice to try it out, but the SDK is Vista/Server 2008 only. It's ironic that although they support lots of open stuff like SOAP and REST they insist on the latest version of their own platform.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Web 2.0 in Wycliffe UK

There's a bit in the Jungle Book film which I saw recently where the vultures are standing around (or perching around maybe) and one of them keeps saying "What are we going to do then?"

It feels a bit like that in the world of charities/non-profits with Web 2.0. There are plenty of people like Amy Sample Ward and Beth Kanter giving lots of advice.

We've just had a meeting where we asked, "what are we going to do then?". Most of what we currently do you can see at Wycliffe Live. This isn't the place to reproduce the full action list but I thought you may be interested that we decided:
  • Facebook groups don't give us much
  • Facebook ads are worth trying out
  • Web 2.0/social networking may be a good way that we can help the people who work for us "engage" (horrible but useful word) with their supporters.

Friday, October 17, 2008

All my own work

I have wrestled with Blackbaud NetCommunity and produced my first organisational website. Previously I have just tweaked other people's work. So here it is:

The donations facility needs some intensive testing with real credit card data :-)

Update: Well not really all my own work. I didn't do the graphics, or the design, or write the words, I just implemented it. And one of my colleagues tweaked it a bit. But apart from that...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NetCommunity gift aid label

Little tip: if the Gift Aid label on your donation form is too low, then define the custom style vaTop in your stylesheet:

vertical-align: top;

Then it will go up to where you want it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Web page construction done properly

I've been creating some web pages from scratch, which is something I haven't done in a while. They are for our new on-line donations server, which isn't live yet. I created pages for approval in Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express edition, and then doing them for real in Blackbaud's NetCommunity.

Usually with stuff like this I just do the minimum to get it done... and this time is no exception. However when I do further work I'm determined to do it properly. Properly means making sure that my (X)HTML is valid, that I plan before jumping in, that I understand why what I did works the way it does, rather than tweaking until it looks good, and other worthwhile things. On the subject of valid HTML, I ran the home page of some, er, websites that belong to a friend of mine, through the W3C validator and I'm embarrassed by the results. Fortunately I'm not responsible for our, er, my friend's web pages.