I love open source. I love the idea. I love the practice.
The concept of open source software is pretty simple. The community freely, openly develops software, each individual collaborating and contributing to others in the community. The result… It’s the future on the Internet.
My former swing dance partner (Denise Gibson) wanted to create a website for her students. She teach swing dance, ballroom, swing dance, and other styles of dance at local colleges and studios. She wanted to provide them with a web experience where they could bond as a community, communicate with each other, meet new people, and enjoy a multimedia arrangement of dance information.
I wasn’t sure where to start. It’s been a while since I was out of the IT game. Of course, it never occurred to me to develop a website for her based on ASP.net or any Windoze platform for that matter. So, I played around with the applications available through my godaddy.com hosting service.
WOW! What a selection!
I stumbled across an application called Joomla. Mind you, by this time, I had evaluated Xoops, Geeklog, Serendipity, and a slew of others. Something about Joomla just really kept me interested. Sure, it has one ridiculous flaw in the fact that an article can only be placed into a single section+category. Hell, they should have talked to me about my infamous name/value pair class I developed back in the days of the psychic chat network. Those were the good ol‘ days, but I digress.
Joomla is as extensible as you can get. Build a community, host discussion boards, member managed blogging, private messaging, newsletters, AJAX shout boxes, eCards, contact management… The list goes on forever, literally. People in the Open Source community are developing tons of projects for Joomla every week.
In a matter of weeks, I developed a community website that had many of the same features as Myspace (minus the abundance of bugs). Granted, denisegibson.com does not have 11 million members, but that’s besides the point. I encourage anyone to test out Denise’s website. Even if you don’t know anything about dance, take a look and see what is possible in just a matter of days with open source software. Who knows… You might just find yourself picking up a pair of dance shoes after all!
Folks, this is where the web is going: community building websites with multimedia entertainment, newsletters, cool features. And it’s all going to be free!!!
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