Architecting an Updated CyberSym Blogs Site

By Bruce R. Copeland on June 20, 2019

Tags: aws, cms, cybersym blogs, gatsby, nodejs, react, s3, wordpress

Some of you will have noticed that the CyberSym Blogs have a new look/feel. The changes are actually far more than skin deep. For a long while I’ve been dissatisfied with Joomla as a blog and content management system. The extensive php codebase used for Joomla has proved increasingly clunky. There have been frequent security problems. The mechanism for updating versions on a site is cumbersome. And maddeningly, Joomla has often made choices designed to attract new users, but problematic for existing users.

Wordpress and Drupal (Joomla’s main competitors) suffer from many of the same problems (cumbersome upgrade, bloated php codebases, and frequent security problems). Over the years I’ve tested a number of other content management systems based on java, python, or javascript, but all have proved to be seriously lacking.

Recently there has been a lot of interest in headless CMS. These headless systems emphasize backend content management and leave the frontend presentation of content to other developers. As part of this trend both Wordpress and Drupal have developed APIs which allow those platforms to function like a headless CMS.

Also recently there is a lot of renewed interest in static websites, which load and respond much more rapidly than most dynamic sites. Gatsby is a static site generator based on React. React is a highly popular site design framework using NodeJS javascript. In React, just about everything on a site is a component (a header, a top menu, a side widget, a page template, etc). Component files are JSX – a blend of HTML, javascript, and sometimes inline CSS. Gatsby looked like a promising way to migrate existing blogs in Joomla, Wordpress, or Drupal to something much leaner. Gatsby has plugins that support the migration of Wordpress or Drupal content into a Gatsby static site, but nothing for Joomla. Fortunately Wordpress has a plugin that will import a Joomla site into Wordpress (primarily a database migration). So the strategy was to import the Joomla blog content into Wordpress and then use headless Wordpress as the content source for a Gatsby static site…

Can your Enterprise Afford to Ignore Agile Development?

By Bruce R. Copeland on May 12, 2015

Tags: agile, engineering, information, software development, technology, waterfall

I encounter plenty of companies (large and small) that are still trying to decide about agile software development: Does it really work? We already have software that works; why change? Agile software seems to require so much engagement between business product people and development teams. Is this really necessary? Can it work for us?

I get it—Change is Hard. So […]

A New Raspberry Pi 2 Running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

By Bruce R. Copeland on May 04, 2015

Tags: automation, backup, firewall, headless, information, internet of things, linux, raspberry pi, security, technology, ubuntu, update, usb, wireless

A few weeks ago I received a new Raspberry Pi 2, complete with case, 32 GB (class 10) SDHC card, 5V/2A power supply, and Edimax EW-7811UN USB wireless dongle. The Pi 2 is an ARMv7 quad processor system with 1 GB of RAM. This is comparable to most better smartphones and tablets, but about 20-fold slower than the 8GB Intel i7 system I routinely use for high-end software development.

Most Raspberry Pi users find it easiest to begin with the basic Raspbian linux distributions available from the Raspberry Pi Federation. However I’ve been using diverse unix/linux systems heavily for more than 16 years. Currently all the computers in my company run either Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It is significantly easier to administer systems that mostly utilize the same packages and tools. Also the Ubuntu long term support (LTS) feature has been invaluable on several past occasions when we were involved in complex projects and wouldn’t have had time to upgrade other shorter-lived distributions nearing their end of life for security support. Ryan Finnie has recently provided a nice build of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for Rasberry Pi. So it made sense to start with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on my new Raspberry Pi […]

Health Care Reform: A Data Management Problem

By Bruce R. Copeland on September 09, 2009

Tags: actuarial, competition, costs, data management, health care, insurance, market, oversight, privacy, statistics, universal standards

Tonight President Obama will address Congress (and the nation) about health care reform.

I support health care reform. However I have reservations about the current health care reform package slated for vote in the Senate (as well as other health care reform proposals on Capital Hill from both parties). It’s not that I believe the bald-faced lies which reactionary conservative are leveling. Rather my lack of enthusiasm stems from the fact that none of these packages really address the critical underlying problems in our health care system—overly high costs and comparatively poor outcomes. I think many other Americans have the same reservations. So, what is missing?

Our health care problems are fundamentally data management problems. The first problem is that we do not have sufficiently comprehensive data on health conditions and costs. The second problem is that we have not had any MEANINGFUL actuarial oversight of health insurance companies for 25 years. These are data collection and analysis failures, and we MUST fix them if we are to fix our health care system.

We will not understand why our health care is so expensive and our outcomes so relatively poor until we begin collecting and analyzing comprehensive health data. Likewise we cannot expect meaningful competition in health insurance markets until consumers know the cost risks […]

Doing More with Modules in Joomla 1.5

By Bruce R. Copeland on February 16, 2009

Tags: blog, cms, editor, information, joomla, modules, openid, template

Modules can help solve a wide range of problems in a web site that uses Joomla, but many Joomla site designers do not really know how to fully utilize modules. Eight months ago when I began designing the CyberSym Blogs site, I had some definite ideas about what I wanted. At that time I was fairly new to Joomla, and Joomla has a rather long and steep learning curve. Nevertheless after one somewhat false start, I managed to come up with a reasonably straightforward Joomla 1.5 design for the site.

A few things have however been headaches. The default Joomla 1.5 Syndication module doesn’t allow customization […]