Notes from Drupalcamp Atlanta 10/27/12

These are my notes from dcATL.
  • Josh Clark @globalmoxie
  • The mobile future
  • Mobile is a new platform. What do we do with the new platform?
  • How do we do more with mobile?
  • Sensors give us super powers.
  • Mobile provides the opportunity to interpret the environment, think of augmented reality.
    • Think of ways to use camera and audio in classroom, like prof mentions case and it pop ups on device.
  • Table Drum app usess augmented audio.
  • AnyTouch turns everyday objects into interface objects.
  • Leap Motion moves touch interface into 3d space, natural gestures.
  • Natural gestures are the next break through in interfaces.
  • We need to design for natural gestures.
  • Windows 8 is intended to work with any input interface. Hugely challenging.
  • Medical field is using all sorts of special sensors with mobile devices to drive data collection.
  • Personal sensors make sense of our environment.
  • But we don’t need more operating systems, interfaces.
  • Remote control is an answer.
  • Ambiguous control among devices is coming, think of phones in cars. Your car rings. When you park the car, the interface follows you. Migrating interface.
  •– A day made of glass from Corning.
    • One smart device somewhere that is driven by ambiguous interfaces
  • Wii U
  • Grab Magic
  • Sifteo cubesare social toys.
    • Download software as it needs it.
  • Web is just in case, everything is loaded in case we need it. Needs to move to just in time, software loaded when we need it.
  • Passive interfaces just work on their own, doing the things they need to do to perform the functions they are designed to do.
  • Devices will get both dumber and smarter.
  • Metadata is the new art direction – Ethan Resnick @studip101
  • A cloud of social devices
  • Look beyond the interface, beyond the device, the presentation to the content and the services.
  • Push sensors
  • Think social not FB
  • Your ecosystem
  • We’re all cloud developers
  • Mind your metadata
  • New input methods
  • The future is here
  • Eric Webb @erikwebb
  • See slideshare
  • Evaluating modules
    • Supported version, maintainer rep, usage, # of open issues, usage over time.
    • Record before and after install using Devel module
    • Search for tag ” performance ” to weed out general issues.
    • What to look at
      • When does it run?
      • How does it scale?
      • What if it fails?
      • Does my site care?
      • Do I need this module?
    • ID the problem
    • Where problems occur
      • Page building like views and panels
      • External web services
      • Overall complexity
        • Views in panels in panels….
      • Misconfigured components
    • Keep records, establish a metric, adopt a definition of done, don’t hide behind infrastructure
  • Types of caching
    • App level caching is not really configurable. Tings like menus, forms
    • Component level caching, user facing stuff like blocks, views, panels
      • Best to speed up for authenticated users
    • Page level caching is important mostly for anon users
  • Configuring Drupal

  • Randall Kent @randallkent
  • Web services as the tip of the iceberg.
  • REST is the key to getting at the stuff in Drupal. REST is one way to create an API on Drupal.
  • REST
    • built on http
    • Client/Server
      • Separates ui from data storage
    • Stateless
      • All info necessary to process request must be included in the request itself
    • Cacheable
    • Layered
    • Uniform interface
  • /myapi/node – gets XML
  • /myapi/node.json – get JSON
  • REST console for Chrome
    • DrupalREST.php
  • See
  • David Bassendine @dbassendine
  • Open data, social, business tools
  • Few modules for consuming services
  • Always start with looking on line for a module
  • REST vs SOAP
  • Get to know the API you are working with
    • URL and path structure
    • Testing in browser for GET, POST requires extension/plugin
  • Services client for D7 will consume Services from another Drupal instance
  • REST API and Query API handle some RESTful APIs that serve json
    • See red mine module for example
  • Core HTTP API for other services
    • drupal_http_request($url,$options(headers,methods,data))
    • Slightly diff D6 & D7
  • Last 2 require custom modules to do the work
  • Krumo –
  • Talking to Web Services – Resources

  • Matthew Connerton @connerton
  • AJAX allways for there fresh of data in the browser page with refreshing the whole page.

    Sample code for AJAX in Drupal7
  • Replaces AHAH, which is a good thing. Pulls lots in crooks stuff
  • “use-ajax” class
    • drupal_add_library(drupal.ajax) to get Ajax in.
    • Pulls jquery in
  • $form[‘#ajax’]
    • drupal_add_library(drupal.ajax) to get Ajax in.
    • Blur is the default trigger.
  • It’s may ease the pain of the auth code stuff.
  • Check Drupal API for AJAX Framework docs.
    • includes/
  • Using #states in Form API
  • Ctools modal to open modal boxes for editing and such.
    • “ctools-use-modal” class
  • Doug Vann
  • Module filter is cool
  • DraggableViews
    • Makes rows of views draggable
    • Can be rearranged by drag and drop
    • Has AJAX
    • No relationship required
    • Could use this to provide a sort on Lesson topics based on order in the topic grid
    • Use this to rearrange stuff on the topic list view itself on the home page
    • No subsets or at least not easily handled
  • Nodequeue
    • Collect nodes in an arbitrary order
    • Requires relationship in order to bring stuff into proper scope

GOV.UK Goes Beta With Open Source, Mobile Friendly, Scalable Platform

The British Government has launched a beta of its GOV.UK platform, testing a single domain for that could be used throughout government. The new single government domain will eventually replace Directgov, the UK government portal which launched back in 2004. GOV.UK is aimed squarely as delivering faster digital services to citizens through a much improved user interface at decreased cost.

Unfortunately, far too often .gov websites cost millions and don’t deliver as needed. GOV.UK is open source, mobile-friendly, platform agnostic, uses HTML5, scalable, hosted in the cloud and open for feedback. Those criteria collectively embody the default for how government should approach their online efforts in the 21st century.

via With GOV.UK, British government redefines the online government platform – O’Reilly Radar.

The site seems pretty easy to use and is very responsive. I could see this as a model for other governments. Check it out at to be Open Sourced for World-Wide Deployment

The code for the platform is based on Drupal and you can download a copy from Github at

OpenPublic Drupal – A Solution for U.S. Courts?

OpenPublic is an open source content management system based on Drupal and tailored for building websites for government

via By the people, for the people | OpenPublic.

From the same folks who brought us Open Atrium, OpenPublic is a Drupal distribution that has been tailored to meet the security, accessibility, and transparency needs of the Federal government. So, is it a solution for U.S. courts? Certainly using a platform like Drupal would provide courts with the ability to create custom websites while maintaining a standard backend that could be used to provide greater access to court decisions, rules and forms. Does anyone know if any courts are using Drupal for their main website?

Illinois Courts Drop Print, Stick With Proprietary PDF, Adopt Public Domain Citations

The changes are part of a movement by the Supreme Court under the tenure of Chief Justice Kilbride and his predecessors to integrate electronic technology with a goal of achieving  greater court  transparency and efficiency. The Illinois Supreme Court was one of the first to incorporate Twitter in publicizing announcements and was also among the early few to make available video and audio recordings of its oral arguments the same day they occur before the Court. The audio of all Appellate Court arguments is also available on the Court’s website at

The changes in citation will be overseen by the Supreme Court Reporter of Decisions, Brian Ervin. The new method of citation goes into effect July 1, 2011. The current contract for printing the advance sheets and bound volumes of Illinois court opinions expires July 31, 2011 and will not be renewed.

via Illinois Supreme Court ends era of printed volumes with new public domain citation system « Illinois Lawyer Now.

This is great, but like most courts the opinions are available only as PDFs. While PDFs do provide an easy way to access and read the opinions, the PDF format is of very limited use to anyone looking to do things like the Free Law Reporter or otherwise make programatic use of the files. It doesn’t need to be this way. From 1996 through 2005 the Illinois Supreme Court made its opinions available for download as HTML and WordPerfect documents before switching to PDF only in 2006. Surely, at the very least, the court could continue to provide additional formats for download along with the PDF?


The Report of Current Opinions: Santa Comes Early to the Open Law Movement

Public.Resource.Org will begin providing in 2011 a weekly release of the Report of Current Opinions (RECOP). The Report will initially consist of HTML of all slip and final opinions of the appellate and supreme courts of the 50 states and the federal government. The feed will be available for reuse without restriction under the Creative Commons CC-Zero License and will include full star pagination.This data is being obtained through an agreement with Fastcase, one of the leading legal information publishers. Fastcase will be providing us all opinions in a given week by the end of the following week. We will work with our partners in Law.Gov to perform initial post-processing of the raw HTML data, including such tasks as privacy audits, conversion to XHTML, and tagging for style, content, and metadata.

via The Report of Current Opinions – O\’Reilly Radar.

On Sunday Dec. 19 Carl Malamud made the startling announcement quoted above. And you did read it correctly: “The Report will initially consist of HTML of all slip and final opinions of the appellate and supreme courts of the 50 states and the federal government. ” To say that this is huge would be the understatement of the year.

From personal experience I can tell you that the “slip and final opinions of the appellate and supreme courts of the 50 states and the federal government” have never all been freely available in HTML before. Not even close. At best you could probably wrangle 75% of these opinions in PDF using a mountain of code to scrape sites and parse feeds. To have all this available as a single feed is a game changer.

As a researcher and builder of tools for legal research and education, having access to a single feed that contains all of this data is just the thing I’ve been looking for (and occasionally trying to build) for the past 15 or so years. I have no doubt that the availability of this feed will spark a flurry of development to use the data in new and interesting ways. I will certainly be incorporating it in the CALI tools I’m currently working on.

Of course there are a couple of caveats here. First, we haven’t seen the feed yet. It won’t be available for a few weeks, so right now I’m still just waiting to see what it will look like. Second, there are 2 “timeouts” built into this service, direct government involvement by July 1, 2011 and a general sunset of private sector activity in creating the feed at the end of 2012. The timeouts underscore the belief that providing free and open access to primary legal materials is a duty of the government, plain and simple. As citizens we are bound to follow the law and our government should be obligated to provide us with free and open access to that law.

I know I’m certainly looking forward to a new year that brings greater free and open access to the law. Thanks, Carl.

State of Delaware Offers Authenticated Regulations Online

The Office of the Registrar of Regulations, publishes various documents which conform to accepted standards regarding authenticated digital content. The Office certifes the authenticated documents published on this website and assures the authenticity of the author, source and origin of the authenticated documents when such document bears the following emblem:

DE certification image

via State of Delaware – Delaware Regulations – Home Page.

This is important stuff. By adding this digital signature to the electronic copy of the Delaware Regulations viewers of the the documents can rely on them as accurate and authentic. That means that there is no need to refer to any other copy of the regulations. This pronouncement of authenticity of the digital copy is something that is key to the success of the open access to law movement. Until the bodies that generate the law authenticate the digital copies that are available using them is risky.

For example, look at this disclaimer from the Delaware Code website:

DISCLAIMER: Please Note: With respect to the Delaware Code documents available from this site or server, neither the State of Delaware nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately-owned rights. This information is provided for informational purposes only. Please seek legal counsel for help on interpretation of individual statutes.

In a nutshell it disclaims authenticity in the online version of the code making it effectively useless without reference to the authenticated (presumably) print version. You cannot legally rely on the electronic copy of the Delaware Code.

It is worth noting that starting with the 2009 – 2010 session, volume 77, Laws of Delaware are also authenticated with digital signatures. These are the session laws of the Delaware General Assembly.

I’m not sure if any other states are making authenticated copies of regulations or codes available or if any courts are offering authenticated opinions but it is something that needs to be done. In order for the open access and movement to really work there needs to be open access to authenticated copies of the law. Simply having access to the raw data, or to unauthenticated copies is a fine first step, but is really only useful for research and information. After all, the law belongs to all of us, we have a right to open access to authenticated copies of the law.

HT to Law Librarian Blog for the pointer to the beSpecific link to Delaware Regulations.

Westlaw & Courtroom Connect Partner to Capture Courtroom Video

Many state court systems now permit live streaming video of court proceedings via the Internet to interested parties. The equipment used by Westlaw and its partner Courtroom Connect does not interfere with court proceedings; it typically consists of one compact, stationary video camera on a tripod, a video encoder that enables the video signal to be sent over the Internet, an audio mixer, and a device that transmits the signal. With the exception of the camera, all of the equipment can fit on a small table. It usually takes about four hours to install and test the equipment. To webcast proceedings live, a separate Internet connection can be installed in order to prevent any disturbance to the court’s Internet connection.

via Westlaw Wants Your Video Records.

Interesting development. This press release is from March 2009, but Carl Malamud just twittered about it. I’ll look into this a bit more, but it looks like this partnership is making video record of trials, which are generally public, and then selling the footage. Some portions are available for free, but full coverage is only for paying customers. Sounds like a 21st century update of the way West gained a virtual monopoly on the print opinions of courts in the late 19th and early 20th century, a monopoly that is only now being broken.

I’ve taken a quick look at the stuff on the Courtroom Connect site and this is not rocket science. They are placing a web cam in the courtroom and streaming the video back to a Microsoft server. Pretty straight forward and something that could be handled in house or by an organization that would provide the content for free.

RFP: Enhanced Code of Federal Regulations Needs Your Help

This RFP is a call for assistance from librarians and other civic-minded individuals. In 2008, Public.Resource.Org, with the assistance of a variety of parties including the Sunlight Foundation, GovTrack.US, Stanford University, and Google, purchased a bulk feed of the Code of Federal Regulations, a product sold by the Government Printing Office.[1] This RFP details the second stage of this program.

via RFP: Enhanced Code of Federal Regulations – Open Government | Google Groups.

What Carl and the folks at want to do is create version of the CFR that will pull all the various technical standards that are included by reference into the an online version of the CFR, actually including the standards in the body of the CFR. And they’re looking for help from the library community. If you can help Carl and p.r.o get these standards, let him know. Remember that by including the standards through reference, they become part of the CFR and should be available to the public.