dmMonocle Conquers the World!
Ok, not really. But I know of at least five other institutions who have gone live with dmMonocle, and Google has tracked 33 downloads thus far! Perhaps not the wildest success, but itâ€™s been a lot of fun seeing my first real contribution to the open source community be implemented so quickly by a number of libraries!
Sometime in the near future, Alex is planning on releasing dmBridge to the library community as well, which as a much more complex piece of code. From my limited experience, I think a few things will make a big difference with dmBridgeâ€™s success:
- Templates. dmMonocle is highly customizable in terms of looks, but I have yet to see anyone make even the slightest modifications to the design/icons/even colors. Therefore, I think we have to offer a number of compelling templates for dmBridge. We canâ€™t just expect libraries to build there own, we have to go out of our way to provide a better experience built-in with dmBridge.
- Screencasts. Iâ€™ve gotten more than one email telling me the screencasts I made for dmMonocle were either the tipping point for convincing IT staff to take a few minutes and make the upgrade, or saying that the customizations wouldnâ€™t have been possible without such clear instructions. When we release dmBridge, we need to release some screencasts.
- Community. We plan on putting up some forums and documentation in a better place than Google code. This will make a BIG difference. Iâ€™ve gotten a number of repeating questions, and it would have been easier to have a common page to refer them to, or even a forum where they could ask their question and my response would be more public. In the future, others who get comfortable with our products may also be able to lend a hand.
- KISS. We arenâ€™t working with other developers, weâ€™re working with librarians, or librarians with only a bit of IT help (and frankly, sometimes that help isnâ€™t experienced). Our products have to be simple and straight-forward to install and get working.
I was reading over the roadmap for the new Views and got a bit verklempt. Views is a Drupal Module which lets us do all sorts of cool stuff with the data we enter into Drupal, such as link it together in interesting ways, create relationships between data, and allows us to alter the presentation of that data quite flexibly. Well, Views 3 will not only support working with Drupal data, but will also be able to query external APIs as well! What does that mean? Flickr outputs photos in an API format. So we could grab the most recent photos from Flickr and easily present it to our users with a bunch of nifty options. Want to get more advanced? Summon, the product from Serial Solutions that the Discovery committee is reviewing, also has an API (as should any service we choose), and the possibilities for that are literally endless. Overall, this should give us interesting new ways to display dynamic information from other sites in a way that was certainly possible before, but nowhere near as easily.
Iâ€™ve taken a short hiatus from the mobile site while I provide some time for feedback, but I am very excited to begin converting the wireframes I made previously into a live site! Iâ€™ve been reading around quite a bit about how to make the mobile experience not only user-friendly, but also quite engaging, and Iâ€™ve found a couple of neat tricks I think youâ€™ll enjoy. I plan on showing those off in a couple of weeks, so I would begin salivating now =P