Netuxo Community Newsletter - July 2016
It has been an incredibly busy six months for us here at Netuxo, with a nice crop of new websites being developed and launched, new clients to welcome and substantial improvements to our hosting infrastructure being rolled out.
Read on for news about these and also some important service announcements.
For the first half of 2016 we were working fairly intensively on the migration and redevelopment of sipri.org – the website of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. June saw the culmination of that work with the public launch of the site.
Established in 1966, SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament and provides “data, analysis and recommendations - based on open sources -to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.” It is widely considered to be the global authority on such issues and the Institute's data is quoted extensively, from the Pentagon to Peace News.
Whilst not our first Drupal 8 build it was certainly the most challenging by some considerable margin. It also required the migration of thousands of different pieces of content from an elderly Plone installation, testing our collective scripting skills and – for some entirely unstructured content – requiring the hiring of additional hands to perform manual migration.
A total of nine people worked on this development at different times, including one designer, two front end specialists, three migration workers, two Drupal developers and one project manager, extending our core team quite dramatically.
Netuxo is pleased to be able to release to the Drupal community two modules that were developed during the course of the build – an obscure (but still used) mailing list integration module for OpenEmm (to be released in the near future) and an extension to Drupal's core search functionality to allow taxonomy terms to be indexed and included as discrete results (again, to be released in the near future).
WALES ENVIRONMENT LINK
This Drupal 7 site was completed more than one year ago but, due to WEL's organisational needs, has been on hold ever since. We are happy to announce that it was launched in mid June.
Established in 1990, the Link was “principally set up to help different environmental organisations, sometimes with competing objectives, to meet regularly and share news and views on matters affecting the Welsh environment”. It is now a network of almost 30 members.
This multilingual site provides content and interface in English and Welsh and a space for WEL's many conservation, campaign and sustainability members along with the organisation's publications and details of the work areas covered.
Long term clients the British American Security Information Council launched their new Drupal site at the start of the year. After some discussion we agreed that, due to the relative newness of Drupal 8, combined with BASIC's need for a swift turnaround, we would migrate their existing Drupal 6 site to Drupal 7 first. This enabled us to provide the organisation with a new, responsive, theme – along with fairly significant changes to the organisation and display of content – relatively quickly and painlessly.
Earlier this year, we added map based data visualisation to the website of Barcelona based Centre Delas, an independent Center of Research on issues related to disarmament and peace. Netuxo was tasked with extending their existing Spanish arms exports database with some visualisation, especially a map based navigation. The map additionally includes a categorisation of countries according to whether a respective country is the location of a war or engaged in war elsewhere, or location of a minor armed conflict, making use of data provided by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program.
Netuxo wrote a custom Joomla component which makes use of JQVMap for the map presentation, and imported the Uppsala Conflict Data into an external database. As Centre Delas was already using AlterReports, the custom component makes use of the database configured in AlterReports to access the arms exports and conflict data, and display the results in the form of a map and a table.
See the portfolio entry or visit their site at http://www.centredelas.org/en/database/arms-trade/data-visualization-arms-exports-and-conflicts
Netuxo extends a warm welcome to leftist publishers Lawrence and Wishart (http://lwbooks.co.uk) and the - most delicious - e5 Bakehouse in Hackney (http://e5bakehouse.com). Netuxo is providing Drupal user support, development and maintenance services.
Forthcoming builds: no rest for the wicked...
We are currently working on redeveloping the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases website and the One World Trust site - both due for relaunch over summer 2016.
Looking a little further ahead, we expect to facilitate new offerings from War Resisters' International and an update to http://civilresistance.info with the second volume of the bibliography A Guide to Civil Resistance. Watch this space...
Extending the collective skills base
We are also lucky enough to welcome new people and new skills into our development pool, with support from developer Joris and front-end specialist Jan bringing Joomla! and Wordpresss development into our mix, along with additional jQuery, node.js and leaflet.js experience. If you or your organisation are looking for work using these platforms/libraries/environments get in touch and let us know what you need.
When Drupal 8 RC1 was released last winter we began tentatively developing new sites, with increasing levels of complexity as more tools and resources become available for the new version of this CMS became available.
Drupal 6 has reached its "end of life" and some folk have already migrated to newer versions, some to other platforms and some are actively choosing to stay put and/or archive their Drupal 6 sites.
This withdrawal of support took place on 24 February 2016.
If you are an individual or organisation with a Drupal 6 website and would like to continue to use the Drupal platform we would recommend starting the process of planning a migration to Drupal 8 sooner rather than later. Get in touch to discuss this - and other possible options.
Additionally: https://www.drupal.org/project/d6lts - there are now 3 vendors providing long term support for Drupal 6 and, as a matter of good business ethics, we include this link to them.
Website hosting: Goodbye Cucumber, hello Nispola!
We have had a disappointing experience with the one of the data centres we have been using and so, over the past fortnight have been rehosting clients who were located on the “Cucumber” server onto a new server called Nispola, with much improved performance.
Over the autumn and into winter we will be migrating the rest of our server infrastructure and will be in contact with affected clients nearer the time.
After consulting with our very small Mailman customer base we have decided that we cannot support the provision of this service any longer and as such we will withdraw this mailing list service over the next few weeks. If you are looking for a Mailman service we can recommend our colleagues at GreenNet who provide lists for £60 a year.
Netuxo and cloud storage
From time to time we get asked whether we provide cloud storage for our clients. While we do run our own cloud for Netuxo internal use, we decided at a recent planning meeting that we do not want to offer cloud services for our clients. The reason is simple: we cannot compete with other offerings out there.
For our own cloud, we use Seafile (https://www.seafile.com), an open source cloud server which allows for client side encryption, meaning your data will be encrypted on your computer before it is sent to the cloud server. Clients are available for all major OS and there is also a web interface.
If you are looking for a cloud option, we can recommend:
- up to 512GB for 5€/month - https://shop.seafile.de/en/product/seafile-cloud-account-subscription/
An open source alternative to Seafile is OwnCloud (see https://owncloud.org/), which does not offer client side encryption, but does have other advantages such as federation or integrated addressbooks and calendars (accessible via CardDav and CalDav). There are several providers that offer up to 1GB of Owncloud space free of charge. Owncloud too has clients of all major OS.
Let’s Encrypt: encrypt the web!
Let’s Encrypt was launched in public beta in December 2015, and is out of beta for a while now. It is a free certificate authority (CA) providing trusted certificates for websites at no cost. In fact, all of Netuxo’s website (so far with the exception of mx.netuxo.co.uk) use a Let’s Encrypt certificate.
The goal of Let’s Encrypt “is to get the Web to 100% HTTPS”. Since the public launch on 3 December 2015, Let’s Encrypt has issued more than 5 million certificates covering more than 7 million unique domains (see https://letsencrypt.org).
If you are interested in getting your website to run under https, we will be happy to set this up for you for a small setup fee. Just get in touch .
During July and August we will be operating at a relatively low capacity whilst we take turns at having a holiday. This should not affect work that is already booked in, but will impact on response times and general availability for ad-hoc support. Normal service will be resumed from early September.
We hope you too manage to take a break from this work at some point during the summer months.
With all good wishes from Andreas and Ippy
for Netuxo Ltd