Recent Blog Posts

By Mike Mallett on 10/02/2016
GlusterFS Logo
What is GlusterFS?

GlusterFS is a distributed network filesystem. It acts as a file system which can be attached to a server for storage like any other, but using network sockets it can be configured in a variety of ways to distribute the files across a number of disparate servers simultaneously and in a fashion which is transparent to users.

It can be deployed to replicate the same data across multiple servers (sort of like RAID mirroring), or bring together the free space of...

By Mike Gifford on 05/02/2016
Push button for accessibility.

Drupal 8 was released in December and it provides - by default - accessibility that is better than any other enterprise content framework. For the last 8 years we have been working on implementing defaults that are good for everyone, but this is only possible if you think about your website’s ecosystem.

Adapting To The Ever Changing Web

Web accessibility is a difficult challenge. When WCAG 2.0 came out in 2008, people hadn’t really starting thinking about how mobile devices would...

By Mike Gifford on 05/02/2016

Open standards, open source, open data, open government and open dialog. These are just some of the great benefits of the open web and why you should consider getting involved in the Open Source Initiative. It represents a real shift toward transparency that allows citizens to become engaged and can empower civil servants in their everyday work.

The Open Source Community

In Canada, the biggest success for open thinking was the Web Experience Toolkit. This project engaged existing open...

By Mike Gifford on 03/02/2016

This article originally written for OpenSource.com

Optimized websites are better for the environment. Why? They are significantly faster, more usable, with content that’s optimized for SEO and user experience. This means that both computers and users spend less time waiting for the page to load.

Back when I first was creating websites, back in 1995, the Internet was considerably simpler. People were using the web at that point, but it wasn't embedded in our lives...

By Mike Gifford on 07/01/2016

This article was initially posted in on Dec 22nd, 2015 in the Hill Times.

If you have been on a federal government website in the past year, you may have noticed that it looks a bit different. Or you might not. The differences to the look and feel of the sites are a bit subtle for your average user. Almost all Canadians are unaware of the imminent  plans to shift these sites to a proprietary content management system hosted in the US.  

The move from having...

By Mike Gifford on 07/01/2016

This article was initially posted in on Dec 29nd, 2015 in the Ottawa Business Journal.

Most of us are more connected to the Internet than ever before.

Not only do we have phones, tablets, game consoles, and televisions that are connected , but we also use the net for shopping, civic engagement, social and archival purposes. New appliances, cars and devices use the Internet without many of us even knowing it. So much of our lives are tangled up in the Web, and all...

By Mike Gifford on 04/01/2016
Green roof at Algonquin College

This article was written for the 2016 Masdar Blog Contest.

I’ve been passionate about sustainability my entire adult life, all of which we have surpassed the earth's carrying capacity.

When started my business, OpenConcept Consulting Inc., my initial inspiration was to build collaboration within the not-for-profit sector. It was clear to me that many of the organizations world could be more effective if they were able to better collaborate. I saw open-...

By Mike Gifford on 26/10/2015
Drupal 8 accessibility logo.

The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative has recently (24 September 2015) released it's recommendations for Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0. The process for releasing W3C guidelines is a long and arduous process. A Canadian institution, the Inclusive Design Institute, has taken a leadership role in creating these guidelines. If people were still hand crafting pages in raw HTML like I did when I started OpenConcept, this wouldn't be needed. Fortunately, almost everyone uses...

By Mike Gifford on 23/10/2015
Wind and solar farm in California.

Stephanie Daniels sums it up well, "Optimized sites are better for the environment. That’s because they’re significantly faster, more usable, with content that’s optimized for SEO and user experience. It’s my belief that Drupal has all of the tools in place to create sustainable websites…if you just know where to look.".

If only I had Drupal back in 1995. That was the year I built my first website for a Fair Trade Retailer called Bridgehead. Back at this time, the Internet was...

By Mike Gifford on 23/10/2015
Drupal 8 accessibility logo.

You may be familiar with the alternative text (alt) attribute that appears in <img> tags. The purpose of alt attributes is to provide a description of the contents of an image file. This description will appear when a user cannot see the image in their browser, when the image is searched on search engines, and in screen readers. But it is very easy to forget to include this text in your images and that is bad news for accessibility and SEO.
 
In Drupal 8, alt...

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