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Time is running out for IE8

At long last we are nearing the end of Windows XP and Officer 2003. This is surely good news. For too long businesses around the country have been holding on to Windows XP as their primary operating system. Now in itself, XP is not a bad operating system, but for us web developers, it is the course of many a night without sleep.

Windows XP supports Internet Explorer 8 as the latest version. Internet Explorer is 4 and a half years old already. Come April 2014 it will be five years old but we shall finally all get to wave it good bye, and get on with building websites for the modern browser.

If you are STILL using Windows XP and IE 8, I suggest you take action sooner rather than later. Switch to Chrome or Firefox if you cant upgrade your copy Windows just yet, and don’t forget to tell your IT department to get a move on with the upgrade. Web browsers should never really be more than 1 year old in this day and age – certainly not 5!

My Photo Folio

We’ve started working with MyPhotoFolio to develop a custom content management system. This CMS will form the backbone of their business, which plans to allow photographers to create their very own website. It’s early days right now, but we’re very excited to be involved with it.

Norwich tech conference

There’s nothing like attending a tech or design conference to keep the old creative juices flowing. This has always required us to, at the very least leave Norfolk and sometimes the country. So it was with great anticipation that we attended the first ever Norwich tech conference, SyncConf.

We are happy to say that the event was a huge success. Some great speakers in attendance, and lots to digest. The main thrust of the conference revolved around Agile development techniques, something we already do here at HeadEnergy, but it was really great to hear how others put the methods into practice.

Our favourite talk of the day was from the founder of MultiMap, Sean Phelan, and listen to how multi map went from a part-time back room operation, to a €50million business that eventually became Microsoft Bing maps.

We really looking forward to more events from the team over at SyncNorwich, big thanks to them.

Christmas sign off

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. It’s been a good 2012 for us and we plan to make it an even better 2013. Best of luck to you all, in each of your endeavours, for next year and future years.

Bullet proof JavaScript for CMS

A web content management system (CMS) allows editing, styling and publishing of content for a website from a single piece of software. Some common CMS choices include:
  • WordPress
  • Concrete5
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
The main two ways of editing the content in a web based CMS; In page, and off page.

In page, or in-line editing, allows a user to view their changes as they happen in the context of the web site design. Off page editing has a separate section for editing the content so viewing it on page requires the changes to be either previewed, or even saved first.

Each system has its advantages, but where some in page systems really fall down is with regards to JavaScript. JavaScript code executes directly in the web browser to add powerful functionality to a website. The major downside to JavaScript is that it can easily be broken by inexperienced developers and once a single error occurs, the remaining JavaScript fails to execute. 

An example of this happened to us recently when we were adding a third party block to a client’s Concrete5 website. The developer of the block had an intermittent error in their JavaScript code. Once we added the block to a page, we could no longer edit the page to remove the block! The Concrete5 user interface is reliant on JavaScript code, and the error in the third party block was causing the Concrete5 code not to run. Fortunately, we had the know-how to remove the bad block: For those that are stuck on this, you can often revert your pages to an earlier version (that is, a version that doesn’t contain your troublesome block) by accessing the Dashboard > Full Sitemap, clicking on the page in trouble, and selecting Versions.

The really annoying thing, is that this type of problem is incredibly easy to avoid by writing better JavaScript in the first place. Simply detect errors in each code block and deal with them accordingly. This is what we ended up doing with the third party block in this case. 

I want to implore anyone who works with a CMS that allows In Page editing to be more diligent with their JavaScript code and catch and handle exceptions at all times. Just like we do.

Future of Web Apps

We had a great time at the Future of Web Apps conference in London this week. It was a great opportunity to meet up with some old colleagues and hear from some of the greatest people in web design and development right now.

As mentioned in a previous article, we will be putting together a full break down of some of the best sessions that are relevant to both ourselves and our clients over the coming weeks. We’re working on putting this all together as I type, and so far some clear winners include the sessions on:

  • Writing Software for Humans
  • How to destroy the web
  • The Mobile Revolution
  • Pushing the boundaries without breaking the web
  • Designing an elegant Mobile User Experience across multiple devices and platforms.

We’re really excited about these things and more, and look forward to sharing more with you soon!

FOWA London Conference 2012

We’re off to the Future of Web Apps conference next week, and we’re getting excited about it! It takes a certain group of people to be interested in this stuff I suppose, but that’s definitely us, we’re proud to say. We’ll be learning all about all the latest technologies and techniques in the web development world.

We’ll cover CSS, HTML5, Mobile web development options, responsive web design, how the changing face of social media is changing how web sites should be focused and how we can migrate traditional desktop software onto the web. There will be a whole lot of news coming out of this conference and we’ll be sharing our views on each aspect right here with all of you, and directly with our new and existing clients.

Stay tuned…

MONOTONE WordPress theme

We’re working on our first premium wordpress theme this week. Called MONOTONE, this theme is great for building a simple blog and portfolio. The idea behind this design is to allow the artwork and imagery of your site to do the talking. Several different customisations will allow you to differentiate your site and through careful image selection, your site will really shine.

Here are two variants for the home page of your site:

WordPress Themes

Working with James Church designs, we are starting to build customisable WordPress themes/templates to provide an entry level package for clients who don’t want the undertake a full design project. These templates will have plenty of options for colours, layout, fonts etc. These options will add up to a huge variety of designs that can be updated as the client sees fit.

If you want to here more about these upcoming designs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Titan Concepts

Manchester based Surveillance & Investigations agency, Titan Concepts, have entered a contract us with to manage their site and perform on going Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to help drive customers to their site.

It is easy to believe that there is a magic bullet fix for SEO, but in reality it is a constantly changing battlefield. Undertaking some SEO work on a site may help drive traffic initially, but unless the work is continued, the long term results will slowly, but surely begin to dwindle.

If you are interested in learning more about how we could help you increase traffic to your site please contact us.