How to Build Your Community Using Open Atrium


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Gregory Heller was an attendee at Gnomedex this past summer. During our open mic session, he talked to us about the Open Atrium service, which is a free (and apparently better!) alternative to Drupal. It comes with six features – a blog, a wiki, a calendar, a to do list, a shoutbox, and a dashboard to manage it all. Open Atrium is completely customizable. If you want a feature that’s not on that list, you can add it yourself.

The fun really starts when people start sharing the features they build for their own Open Atrium with everyone else. Then everyone doesn’t just have access to six features, but also a bunch of others that are easy to plugin to the basic package. Open Atrium is built on Drupal. This makes it easy to add other Drupal modules to the package and to build new features for it.

If you’ve ever tried to build something with Drupal, I’m willing to bet you got frustrated in a hurry. Open Atrium is so simple to use out of the box that you won’t have to worry about whether you’re getting it right anymore. It just… works.

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What are Widgets?

http://live.pirillo.com/ – A widget (also known as a gadget) is a small program that runs on your desktop all the time, which replaces the need to constantly visit a website in order to get common information.

Konfabulator started the widget craze, which was then bought by Yahoo.

Dashboard is OS X’s implementation of widgets.

Windows Vista has the Vista Sidebar, but the user interface is junk in comparison to OS X.

The Google Desktop offers an alternative experience, but its user experience is even worse than Vista’s sidebar.

We have our own widget which lets you watch Chris’s camers right on your desktop without having to visit live.

What widgets do you use? Have you made any widgets?

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Formats available: MPEG4 Video (.mp4), MP3 Audio (.mp3), Microsoft Video (.avi), Flash Video (.flv)

How to Create Widgets and Gadgets

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Chris was invited to be a special alpha tester for Microsoft’s PopFly, an interactive widget development environment. the short story is: it’s really freaking cool! Watch as Chris goes through the PopFly environment and shows off some of the more interesting features.

Microsoft Popfly is a web site and tool to help people create and share web sites, mashups, and other kinds of experiences. It has two parts: the social network, which we call “Popfly Space” and the online tool for creating different kinds of experiences, which we call “Popfly Creator.” It is currently in alpha, which means that we’re still working on lots of aspects of it and would love your feedback in our forums…

What can you do with Popfly? Programming is not something that takes years to learn. With Popfly Creator, in just a few minutes, you can create something that will have people saying “wow”. With Popfly you can create a mashup using functionality from Virtual Earth, Flickr, Yahoo!, Twitter, and more.

PopFly requires Microsoft’s Sliverlight plugin:

Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of Microsoft .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.

We’re excited about Popfly, what about you?

Popfly: Microsoft Gets an A++

Oh. My. God.

I can’t believe Microsoft did this. No, seriously – I knew they were doing this for a while, since they’re taking advantage of the bLaugh API. This is unreal. I’m so beyond impressed with Popfly, it’s not even funny – and I haven’t yet begun to explore everything it’s going to be able to do, and where I’ll be able to take it.

Don’t you DARE draw comparisons to Yahoo! Pipes – because the two of them simply aren’t in the same universe. Whereas Pipes was developed for developers, Popfly was clearly designed for developers AND USERS! Someone at Microsoft is listening! They’re putting the USERS in control, and making development ungodly simple.

In seconds, I can create a mashup with the included services – and I’m sure more will start streaming in. My first mashup was crossing a random number from the calculator into the bLaugh widget. Then, I made a spinning widget of random bLaugh comics – all without having to read an instruction manual.

Genius. Pure genius. Popfly is going to take the blogosphere by storm. If you wanna add me as a buddy, I’ve got my own Popfly page already. I can’t believe this tool is real – and no, they’re not paying me to say or write this.

Is it perfect? No, it’s alpha. Is it telling the world that Microsoft is getting back into “the game?” Hell yeah. This isn’t a Microsoft project, I swear – it can’t be. It simply can’t be. If this is the kind of experience that Silverlight enables, color me sold.

I stop short of giving Microsoft three pluses because they used a domain name that is likely going to get blocked by a lot of people who run any kind of popup blocker (or are wary of any site with “fly” in its title).