By Mike Gifford on 11/06/2012
Following our work on analyzing federal sites with Ben Balter's Site Investor script, we surveyed over 111 Ontario Government domains using this tool and found some more interesting findings. The Government of Ontario isn't as large as the Federal government, but it is the most comparable level of government in Canada and also is the province where OpenConcept is based. Our collective tax dollars have paid for these sites and I believe that they need to be built to be accessible to its citizens. Because Ontario doesn't yet have an Open Data portal, where I could simply download a list of...
By Mike Gifford on 05/06/2012
Golden Gate Bridge
It is pretty much expected that most organizations will go through the process of re-launching their website every few years. The process of deciding to abandon the old site, negotiating with a vendor to build it and finally deploying the new site can easily take a year. This is often a consuming process that leaves organizations happy to resume their day to day operations, and happy that they don't have to worry about the website for a while. Most small organizations don't have the luxury of having full-time web staff working proactively on their web presence. 
Things on the Web evolve very...
By Mike Gifford on 01/06/2012
I just got back from a quick trip to New York and visited a number of impressive museums. Not surprisingly, one of the most amazing was the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in which I was fortunate enough to spend a whole day. One of the exhibits used QR Codes and walking around the museum I really got to thinking about the Virtual/Physical opportunities that modern museums can now take advantage of.  The MoMA did lots of stuff right, but it's clear that they are still trying to figure out how to integrate online content in their physical exhibits.  With the prevalence of smart phones and other...
By Mike Gifford on 07/04/2011
In December 2008, OpenConcept set up a Drupal site to demonstrate that we could meet the requirements of the Treasury Board Secretariat's Common Look & Feel (CLF) 2.0. We went further than this by releasing the code first to people within the Government of Canada & second we made it available through Intellectual Resources Canada (IRCan)'s repository. We provided a demonstration site to dispel Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt about open source & government, but also to engage with the government community to extend & improve this theme.
After two and a half years of voluntary...
By Mike Gifford on 16/02/2011
We've made a team decision to proactively advocate for people to upgrade from IE6 to a more modern web browser.  We're doing this primarily because it has given designers & developers such grief, but also because we want our users to have the best, most secure browsing experience they can.  Given the huge problems in IE6 we wanted to give our visitors as many tools as we can provide to help you upgrade to a better browser.  
Now we know that most of the remaining IE6 users are within large bureaucracies that have IT staff who believe that the cost of upgrading now is greater than the cost...
By Mike Gifford on 14/12/2010
Earlier this year we agreed to sponsor the IdealWare's 2010 report comparing popular open source content management systems, and we're glad to have done so! It is so important to have a review of different systems if only to encourage discussion & debate about software use in the non-profit sector.
Why Drupal 7 is Great
Earlier this week I boasted on the NOSI discussion list about Drupal 7's accessibility enhancements. I know how much more accessible it was than Drupal 6. I have also done some work to compare it with other popular CMS systems.  We've developed a frank accessibility...
By Jesse Payne on 30/09/2010
Announcing the uc_chasepaymentech module for Ubercart!
This is a module that adds Chase Paymentech hosted checkout as a payment method to Ubercart. There isn't currently a module that integrates Ubercart with Chase paymentech. Although Chase based their hosted checkout on's framework, their specific implementation and methods of response verification are slightly different in functionality. There is not a sensible way to go about modifying the module that ships with Ubercart to incorporate Chase Paymentech without rewriting the entire module to make...
By Jesse Payne on 16/07/2010
Hopefully this blog entry will help a few people overcome some of the hurdles in setting up a donations system. We are a drupal shop so all the following is for drupal 6.
In this case the client simply wanted to have a way to collect donations from supporters of their political campaign. The only real constraint was that it needed to integrate with the Moneris payment gateway system. I was looking at creating a custom donation system and integration to Moneris, but in the end opted to use Ubercart. Ubercart is an awesome beast of a Shopping cart system that has many great features and useful...
By Mike Gifford on 28/09/2009
The following article was prepared by OpenConcept for Summit Magazine, Canada's magazine for public service procurement. The full article is available within the PDF copy of the magazine.
After publication I was sent this PDF about open source procurement in the Netherlands that was worth sharing.
How Can Government Responsibly Procure Free Software?
Free software is “free” in two senses: it is distributed free of charge, and can be freely used and shared because it is unencumbered by onerous and restrictive licenses. This software model has been refined over the past twenty-five years, and...
By Mike Gifford on 01/05/2009
This is a reprint of the article originally published in OSBR's May Issue under the title The Feds are Ready for a Change
"OSS is indeed the start of a fundamental change in the software infrastructure marketplace, but it is not a hype bubble that will burst and [the] UK government must take cognizance of that fact." Douglas Alexander
Canada is at the tipping point for acceptance of open source. Open source software (OSS) and culture has reached a critical mass in the business world and it is also being actively deployed within the Canadian government. While open source has contributed...