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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Life is to Communicate.

Communication and collaboration from the home office. By Seth Land.

Working from home, I spend most of my day on phone calls and Web meetings. As I sat down preparing for my next web meeting the other day I noticed these words attached to my green tea bag: Life is to Communicate. 

Morning words of wisdom to ponder as you enjoy your morning tea.


As a web consulting company, Fig Leaf Software deals in the communications business in a number of ways: custom web development, design, digital marketing, Google Search, web analytics and my particular favorite, Adobe Connect.  Every technical solution we deploy is simply just another form of communication.

Successful leaders in all aspects of our society from business, education, entertainment, sports, politics, media, religion all have one thing in common: They are good communicators.  People understand them.  The message is well received.   Successful leaders also listen.  Listening is the yin to the yang of communicating.

At Fig Leaf Software, successful projects and smooth deployments can be attributed to effective communication.  We listen to our clients, make sure we understand what they want, explain what we can do and continue to listen and communicate through completion of the project. (See my recent blog post: 5 Ways Project Managers use Adobe Connect)

Think about it though.  Every mistake, misunderstanding or blunder also comes from some sort of communication breakdown.  Either you misheard, misunderstood, didn’t read the email, didn’t GET the text and/or didn’t understand the significance.   Either way, someone didn’t know something.  Just about every way you look at it, mistakes happen because of some lack of communication, which leads to a lack of understanding or knowledge.

Look at it this way: Lack of Communication = Lack of Knowledge = Mistake/Blunder/Failure

The Yin to that Yang: Effective Communication = More Knowledge = Success

This also translates into our personal lives as well.  The obvious example is marriage.  Without getting off the track too much: Talk and Listen to your spouse!  Your marriage will thrive.  But marriage, even though I am very good at it, is not the purpose of this Blog Post.

The purpose is perhaps to play Captain Obvious here and reinforce what savvy blog-readers probably already know: Life is to Communicate.  Communication is integral to success.

In my world of technology, I talk to people every day about virtual classrooms, webinars, content marketing campaigns, eLearning and online training.  In the end, people and organizations of all stripes are looking for ways to communicate better.

Sometimes our morning tea can help us remember simple things.

So, join me online in a Connect Webinar and see first-hand how Adobe Connect can help you communicate: http://www.figleaf.com/events

Yours in online communication,
Seth Land

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

US Navy Memorial Navy Log Launched on Acquia Drupal Platform

The Navy Log was rebuilt on the Acquia Drupal Platform to create a lasting legacy of honor that reaches across generations and tells the story of our Sea Service veterans. 

US Navy Memorial Website Home Page
The United States Navy Memorial, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the service of U.S. Navy veterans, selected Fig Leaf Software to redesign and redevelop the the Navy Log Website, an online application that tells the story of our nation's Sea Service veterans and connects warriors who have served in the United States Navy. In addition to improving the design, Fig Leaf was tasked with improving performance, security, and the overall user experience. Other goals of the website include the following: 
  • Create a lasting legacy that tells personal stories of U.S. Navy veterans
  • Provide educational value to families, friends of veterans, researchers and the general public
  • Connect active duty servicemen, former warriors, and their families to the Navy Memorial
  • Promote and expand the visibility of the Navy Memorial through the Navy Log
  • Provide a kiosk capability to allow visitors to the U.S. Navy Memorial to search the Navy Log and add content while visiting the physical location in Washington, DC
In order to help improve the performance of the Navy Log site, Fig Leaf Software migrated the application to the Drupal Content Management System on the Acquia platform.  Fig Leaf updated the database, built and implemented a Drupal Custom Module to support the Navy Log to better support public record searches.

Get a FREE Drupal Cloud Assessment to see if the Acquia Drupal Cloud Platform is right for you. 

In order to simplify and improve the overall user experience, Fig Leaf designed a new menu structure and improved the log creation process by adding selective questions to help citizens quickly and easily add new records. The new improved log creation process streamlines production which will result in improved quality and quantity of log data than on the previous version of the site. 
To secure user privacy, the Fig Leaf creative team implemented a membership option, which permits visitors of the site to create Logs while keeping their personal information private. The team also created an option to submit edits to a Log for review; this feature keeps the Log site updated while maintaining security of the site.

With the help of Fig Leaf Software, the Navy Memorial was able to launch a fast, user friendly site, that enables its members and visitors to author, manage, and view content on the site efficiently. Some of the most notable features of the new site are:

  • Search for shipmates
  • Enter own or other’s service log
  • Review pending updates
  • Add photos and memories
  • Manage user profile
  • Send profiles to marketing database
  • Maintain auxiliary information 
The new accessibility allows the Navy Log to promote a lasting legacy by telling personal stories of sea service veterans, promoting and expanding visibility of the Navy Memorial, and providing educational value to its users. The updated features provided by Fig Leaf have enabled site viewers to locate information easily as well as virtually visit the Navy Memorial. Visitors and members of the website can quickly search for historical details and locate information on the plaque wall. Fig Leaf’s solution included a kiosk capability to allow visitors to the U.S. Navy Memorial to search the Navy Log and add content while visiting the physical location in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fig Leaf Software has its seventh GSA Qualified Deployment Specialist!

We do a lot of work with the Google Search Appliance here at Fig Leaf Software, with both new deployments and supporting existing customers. We're very pleased to announce, during Google's TeamWork 2015 partner conference, that we now have our seventh Google Search Appliance Qualified Deployment Specialist, +Michael Tangorre. Michael has been working with the National Park Service for many years. National Park Service uses the GSA with their (very large and complex) public site, http://www.nps.gov/.

Michael's qualification comes on the heels of +Benjamin Bentley, who received his qualification two weeks ago. Benjamin supports many of our CMS customers in a wide variety of environments, and many of those customers use GSA to provide the best possible search experience for their users.

The GSA Deployment Specialist qualification is difficult to achieve. It requires knowledge that goes far beyond the basics of using the GSA, covering complex deployment scenarios with multiple content repositories, multiple authentication mechanisms, geographic distribution, redundancy, using GSA developer APIs and much more. I'm a Google instructor, and I developed and I teach the introductory and intermediate courses for Google partners. So I can safely say, it's a lot of stuff to learn! If you're not a Google Partner, but are interested in introductory or intermediate GSA training, Fig Leaf Software offers instructor-led public GSA training courses available in-person and online.

Fig Leaf Software is a Google Search Premier Partner, and we develop, deploy, support and provide training for customers of all sizes, at any level of complexity. Ben and Mike will help us deliver and support powerful search solutions for our customers, and their qualification demonstrates our continued commitment to the Google Search Appliance.

So, thanks and congratulations to Ben and Mike!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Using Brackets for Ext JS Development

Recently Steve Drucker evaluated using Brackets, a free, open-source, multiplatform-editor as a potential replacement for Sublime Text in our Javascript training courses. Steve was kind enough to share his comments here: 
Brackets has a lot going for it:
  • It’s free
  • Installation is simple
  • It’s open source
  • Projects are directory-based, just like Sublime
  • It has a js linter built in
  • It has some intellisense
  • It does *not* auto-complete array and object syntax (brackets and curly braces)
  • It supports scss (Sassy CSS)
  • Performance doesn’t completely suck
  • It’s supports 3rd Party Plugins
  • It’s available for multiple OS.
And while it doesn’t fully support Sencha’s massive Ext JS library, it should help students quickly identify syntax problems with their json configs. I was able to configure Bracket’s built-in JS Linter to ignore nearly all of its “false-positive” errors and warnings.
The trick is to modify Bracket’s preferences file (Debug > Open Preferences File) as follows:
    "linting.collapsed": false,
    "themes.theme": "light-theme",
    "jslint.options": {
        "plusplus": true,
        "devel": true,
        "predef": [
        "sloppy": true,
        "browser": true,
        "white": true
    "useTabChar": false
You’ll need to restart Brackets for these changes to take effect.
So if you’re looking for a change of pace from using Sublime, or money is tight and you can’t afford JetBrains WebStorm or Sencha Architect, it’s worth giving Brackets a try.
Download Brackets at http://brackets.io/
Get Steve Drucker's 16 hour Teach Yourself Sencha Touch & EXT JS course: http://go.figleaf.com/learn-sencha

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