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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Those of you who follow the current explosion of new web applications are probably well aware of Emily Chang's eHub site, which profiles new applications as she becomes aware of them. She also features interviews with the developers of projects that catch her interest. While many of these new apps are the inevitable "me too" calendar and wiki pages, a few of them, like GroupSharp, which hit her list just the other day, are beginning to demonstrate usable and flexible business functionality, the kind of thing a small non-profit might really gain from.

This app wouldn't be a bit exciting if it were sitting on your desktop. But for a small organization that is currently storing most of its data in excel sheets, and thinks that having 12,000 database records is a lot, Groupsharp could be as great leap forward into the world of collaborative, use-anywhere web apps, for a mere $220 bucks a year.

You should regularly monitor eHub if you want to see what the developers are up to out there.

But while I've known about eHub for a long time, somehow I was oblivious to Max Kiesler's mHub site. Max is Emily's partner in Ideacodes, their web consultancy and design firm. mHub is eHub for developers - instead of serving up applications, Max leads us to sites that offer usable scripts, snippets, widgets, or techniques for our development efforts. In other words, its a candy store for programmers. A recent offering, for example, describes a method for building a tabbed notebook with CSS, and then using a simple Ajax-y technique to load each page of the notebook as it is opened with content laid out in another html file. He also points us to books, languages, and application frameworks - like this survey of five new "rails"-like application frameworks for php.

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