Rebooting GLAMkit in a ridiculously short period of time

Greg Turner, Australia

As a technical information architect, witnessing the amazing innovations coming from museum web teams worldwide, I see a huge need – and opportunity – for a community technology platform for sharing those innovations without the huge cost of re-inventing the wheel and rebuilding the basics every time.

To help solve that problem, in 2010, my company, the Interaction Consortium (IC), started releasing some of the code it was writing for its museum clients as open source software. We called the collection GLAMkit ( GLAMkit has code to handle the complexities of museum events, sponsorship, collections, images and media, blogging and content publishing, APIs and 3rd-party integration, and so on, leaving developers to concentrate on innovation.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far, we want GLAMkit to do much better. Our goal is for GLAMkit to become the best extensible museum content platform in the world.

In order to do that, we have to grow the GLAMkit community. And in order to do that, we have to address the two biggest flaws that currently face GLAMkit:

  • The architecture is fairly abstract, by design. This keeps GLAMkit flexible, but it’s still a lot of work to make a museum content platform from it.
  • There aren’t many example projects or much documentation to help people to figure out how to use GLAMkit. This sets the technical bar too high for the target audience.

So here’s what we’re going to do:

In January 2013, we’ll release the code for – minus the MCA-specific parts – as version 0.1 of the free, open-source GLAMkit CMS, for anyone to install, use, or contribute to. Based on the MCA site, GLAMKit CMS will provide a fully-fledged museum site out of the box. This leaves web teams to concentrate on what their museum does that no-one else does, and creates a platform for add-ons for ecommerce, CRM and so on.

This will turn GLAMkit from an abstract into a concrete architecture, and is the missing example project for the existing GLAMkit code libraries. The time between January and April will be spent building the community and improving documentation.

This talk will tell the story of the reboot adventure from January to April 2013, and will be a frank examination of the process of building the GLAMkit community. Fingers crossed there will be more successes than failures…