Digital Consultant & Director
A website or application typically consists of 2 parts: the front-end and the back-end. Front-end web development is what you notice most immediately upon opening a webpage or applications; it’s what provides the ability to interact with a website or user interface (UI). It gives a website its character through things like animations, graphic design, colours and hover states, visual effects, layout and so on. In a way, front-end development is the glamorous side of website development because the effects of quality front-end web development are more obvious to most people. Front-end frameworks like ReactJS, VueJS and AngularJS are rapidly improving the way front-end developers can go about their work. In different ways, these awesome frameworks empower web developers with the ability to create large scale applications relatively quickly. Front-end developers often rely on APIs which are received from back-end developers or online web services.
A web application’s back-end is basically the core of a web application. Without quality back-end website development, the front-end development would do little more than make a website look pretty because it would have no substance under the hood. Database interactions, business logic, calculations and performance are all the realm of the back-end developer. The less glamorous things which actually make an application functional. Back-end code runs on the server, which means back-end web developers need to have a strong understanding of their server’s architecture. Most back-end programming languages like Python and Ruby have uniformed styles and dialects which make back-end development far more efficient (and enjoyable) than it once was, so many front-end developers are more inclined to delve in to back-end development than yesteryear. High level back-end development is pivotal to the functionality of a website. Much like a car without an engine, a website without quality back-end development isn’t going anywhere.
A thorough and successful CRM integration will ensure your website and CRM function together seamlessly. Customer Relationship Management software is more than just a place to retain customer information. With a quality CRM integration, your website will be automatically feeding powerful data straight in to your CRM for use in a variety of marketing related ways. So for example, if on e-commerce websites when a user adds a product as a ‘favourite’, but doesn’t go on to to buy it in that session, the CRM integration will create a new record in a database which goes on to contact that potential customer, offering a good deal on the product. Which could be a good sale for you. When the CRM affects sales like this repeatedly, it’s going to increase your conversion rate and your revenue.
There are loads of good CRM products around, which are generally all pretty similar to use from a web development perspective. Website development companies will often market themselves as ‘specialists’ or ‘partners’ in a specific CRM. Credentials like ‘Partner’ are easy to attain and basically just mean that the web development company earns a commission by reselling the CRM provider’s product. Which ties them in to only promoting that particular CRM, even if an alternate CRM would be more suited. So for instance a ‘Gold Partner’ doesn’t necessarily mean a company is doing a good job for their clients; it means they’re doing a good job at reselling the CRM supplier’s product.
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is arguably the most widely used and powerful programming language on the web today. It enables PHP developers to build large-scale web applications and e-commerce websites. Alternate scripting languages in use besides PHP include Ruby and ASP (Active Server Pages). One of PHP’s main appeals to PHP developers is that the it is relatively easy to learn compared with some other languages, and is accompanied by vast amounts of online tutorials and documentation for self-learning. Most of the major websites we all use, including Google, Facebook and YouTube use PHP development in various ways. Bring a back-end programming language, PHP runs on the server, and so you’ll never physically see PHP code on a website as you might a front-end language. PHP development is fast, powerful and very reliable meaning visitors to your website are more likely to have a quality user experience, creating a positive impression for your business in the process.
SilverStripe is an open-source application, developed as a CMS (Content Management System). A good option for information rich websites because of its smooth, streamlined publishing features, it is suitable for both small and large website builds. Finding the best SilverStripe developers for a web project is key, because SilverStripe development is far more challenging to learn than some other applications. So confidence and experience in SilverStripe development is key when searching for SilverStripe developers, with a record of successful websites having being developed in it. SilverStripe code is based on the MVC (Model View Controller) architecture which is a well known programming design pattern. Overall the SilverStripe CMS is an excellent platform with no real limitations on what you can achieve with it. Whether it be a forum, blog or online store, SilverStripe will be able to handle it.
The popularity of Headless CMS development platforms is growing fast in the web development industry, and with good reason. A Headless CMS is basically a back-end content management system, empowering web developers with tremendous flexibility to innovate, and future-proof applications or high quality websites. It does this through a couple of main ways; firstly it enables a website or app owner to refresh their designs without having to rebuild significant parts of the CMS (or even the entire thing). Secondly, it makes the content being held accessible via RESTful APIs which, in turn create the ability to display that data on a mobile application or website – or any device really. Being back-end, a Headless CMS resides on the server. And more than that, it could actually reside on a server completely separate to the front-end of the website or application, remaining entirely anonymous in the process. The benefits of remaining anonymous and detached from the front-end? In a word, security. There are millions of anonymous cyber attacks every month. But by separating the front-end and back-end, you’re giving yourself a far greater shot of remaining secure and robust in the face of a cyber attack. Most mainstream content management systems do position themselves on the same server as your website’s front-end, which can make it vulnerable to attacks. Especially by a hacker with genuine skill and intent. So is it worth considering a Headless CMS as a medium for your next app or website? Probably – ask your digital agency about it. There are of course cost considerations as well as other factors to take in to account, but for some businesses reducing the threat of cyber attack or downtime far outweighs the slightly elevated website development costs. And, if the website or app requires regular updating on a significant scale, Headless CMS development may decrease the expenditure there considerably. Some of the Headless CMS’s presently leading way to check out include Contentful, Directus and Strapi.
Much like a car or home require service and maintenance for performance, safety and security, so too websites require maintenance and upkeep. Website maintenance is what keeps a website running fast and at the top of Google rankings. Website maintenance ensures data is being stored safely. That all plugins and CMS versions are up to date, minimising exposure to vulnerabilities and data breaches. Website maintenance services will mean your website is up to date with the latest browser updates, and device releases. And just as you entrust the safety and performance of your car with a trusted, qualified mechanic. You entrust your online presence and business website performance with your experienced, chosen digital agency partner.
Web accessibility is about enabling people with disabilities to participate equally on the Web. Just as people have different levels of disability, for instance, sensory impairment vs intellectual disability, so too a website may provide different levels of accessibility. To accommodate for just a few common disability types, through to accommodating for a far more broad range of disabilities. Sensory (visual and aural) impairments are typically the most common types of disabilities accommodated by web accessibility projects. Sensory accessibility may be addressed through a range of techniques, including alternative text for images, colour contrast functionality, and transcripts for audio. Techniques for accessibility best practices are prescribed by the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
Traditionally, accessibility has been the realm of governments and educational bodies. The commercial sector tends to overlook the importance of design inclusivity. This is changing though, led by the likes of Amazon and Google. Both, it should be said have the means to easily fund accessibility initiatives. But as well, both recognise the commercial benefits of creating an inclusive service.
According to the Australian Network on Disability, over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability, ie 1 in 5 people. With 35.9% of Australia’s 8.9 million households having 1 person in it with a disability. 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. While an estimated 357,000 are blind or have low vision (expect to rise to 564,000 by 2030). Could your business or organisation benefit from the added exposure to this considerable portion of the population? How about improved search engine optimisation, reduced website maintenance costs and a wider audience reach? If so, consider improving the accessibility of your website as one of your first options. Don’t know how? Speak to us, we are experienced in web design and development of high quality websites with enhanced WCAG grade accessibility.
Time to change your content management system? We can help. Over the years we’ve worked with most of the major CMS’s around, including WordPress, SilverStripe, Shopify, Magento and Squarespace. And yes, even Joomla! and Drupal.. It’s not always a happy ending – there are times when a complete rebuild from scratch is the only option. But if you’re thinking of making the switch to a CMS better suited to your new website, you can drop us a line and explore your options with us.
Server no longer cutting the mustard? Outgrown your web hosts? Web hosts simply gone AWOL..? We’ve dealt with most scenarios over the years and our roles have ranged from quasi-detective, finding ways to access accounts when all traditional means are dead ends. Through to migrating sophisticated websites on redundant environments to more scalable, stable cloud servers. If you have a server issue you’re looking to resolve, chances are we can fix it for you.
When it comes to developing large web applications with regularly updated, dynamic data, ReactJS is nearly always up there as a first option along with the likes of VueJS and AngularJS. React provides maximum responsiveness and flexibility and it is about as good as it gets for rendering data from any type of API. The main standout feature of ReactJS is that it creates a virtual DOM (document object model) which is a node tree that lists elements, their attributes and content as objects and properties. This allows for React to then make relevant data updates to only the elements that require updating which in-turn makes it lightning quick for working with data heavy applications. Created by Facebook engineers who sought a solution to the major challenge of developing a dynamic UI with high performance, React development (among other things) enabled Facebook to dynamically update a user’s news feed while the person is on-page and simultaneously using the chat function. In short, ReactJS kindof made Facebook. Facebook open-sourced React in 2013, and continue to provide ‘codemods’ which help make version upgrades relatively easy. If you’ve never heard of React development before, and are wondering what the fuss is about – it’s the code library of choice not only for Facebook, but the likes of Netflix, Instagram and AirBnb to name but a few. So you can assume it’s pretty awesome.
Super small in size, Vue.js is compiled into a user’s browser near enough instantly which gives it a good advantage over some other JS frameworks. VueJS development facilitates two way communications because of its MVVM (model-view-viewmodel) architecture which makes it quite easy to handle HTML code blocks. In this respect, it would appear quite similar to Angular.js which also speeds up HTML code blocks. Used for the development of single web page apps and flexible components, VueJS app development supports numerous features in the building of reusable web components. A progressive framework, VueJS development enables developers to use it selectively, rather than demanding the entire application be structured around it. Speaking practically, as VueJS developers we are able to use Vue.js when and as required in our app development projects. Something our clients benefit from considerably without necessarily even realising it. For instance, switching pages without even having to refresh a page enhances navigation on a website or app a lot, and there’s a good chance when you experience that, Vue.js is driving it.
Innovated by Google, AngularJS development is an open-source framework that is one of the most powerful frontend technologies around. AngularJS developers use the framework to build out high quality codebases and beautiful web application UI’s. It was developed with the CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) ideology in mind and you can certainly feel that when working with the framework. AngularJS development is cross-browser adaptive and therefore you don’t have to worry about your application being incompatible on some browsers. The flexibility that the framework offers allows existing components that have been written by other AngularJS developers to be easily integrated into your custom web application and is one of AngularJS’s great advantages. Platforms like PayPal and LinkedIn rely heavily on AngularJS to achieve their seamless transitions between pages and functionality.
For new businesses looking to do things fast and cheap, Squarespace can be a great option. But it has a lifespan; it’s a good stop-gap measure to get an online presence, but as a business’ requirements become more complex (and they do become more complex), there’s often a realisation that a more flexible CMS is going to be needed. And CMS ‘flexibility’ is typically associated with WordPress.
When we migrate a Squarespace website to WordPress we’ll normally start by crawling the Squarespace website to get an understanding of the website’s structure, and what content resides where. Among other things this helps avoid 404s at the end of the migration process. And 404s if you’re wondering, have been the undoing of many a business during a CMS migration as they cause dramatic SEO ranking drops.
Creating an instance of WordPress follows with all the files and database on our staging server. We’ll either create a new theme or replicate the styling on your existing Squarespace website. All going well we can get in to exporting the data. Unfortunately Squarespace has some pretty limited exporting functionality so we do quite often have to resort to the good ole ‘copy paste method’. Inefficient and laborious, but the only way sometimes.
At the end of a Squarespace to WordPress migration we run a range of quality checks to ensure any 404s are eliminated, as well as general cross-browser and cross-device testing and styling checks.
There are a few reasons why you may want to migrate your online store from Shopify to WooCommerce. A lot of the time it’s simply because Shopify can become too pricey; the more you items you sell, the more you pay in transaction fees, and the monthly fees for your shop can also increase at the same time. As business’ develop they tend to want to hang on to their hard earned money..
If cost isn’t the direct issue then you might just want to develop an online store that is integrated with your WordPress site or are looking at moving your actual site to WordPress. Running a Shopify store alongside a WordPress website (or any other CMS for that matter) can cause undue complications. Among many other things it means updating 2 websites and requiring proficiency in 2 different CMS’. Which is a real pain, and in practical terms when enthusiasm to update and edit websites becomes a ‘pain’, the business suffers. If your website development partner or in-house website managers aren’t equipped to work efficiently in 2 different CMS’, then consolidation may well be the best option. It costs money to do the migration, but the long-term savings and efficiencies gained invariably are significant.
Once your online store is running on WooCommerce, you’re in the best of hands. The same community of web developers behind WordPress are behind WooCommerce.
Migrating from SilverStripe to WordPress can be a great option for businesses seeking lower running costs and increased flexibility from their website. The SilverStripe CMS is superb, but is a niche CMS with only a relatively very small community around it. Many new entrants overlook this fact when deciding on their first website’s CMS choice, but the size of the community and support will play a major role in how easy it is build on your website’s functionality. As well as the cost of doing so.
Migrating from SiverStripe to WordPress can be done whilst your existing SilverStripe website stays live. Before we begin we use software to crawl the existing website and collect all of its URLs. Doing so helps us understand the website’s architecture and maintain your valuable links for SEO preservation.
Shortly after we setup a separate WordPress instance for your new website and begin work on either replicating your existing theme, or building you a brand new theme.
Once the SilverStripe to WordPress migration process is complete in its staging environment we run more software to find any 404s, and resolve them with ‘rewrite rules’.
If you’re interested in migrating your SilverStripe website to WordPress (or your WordPress website to SilverStripe, for that matter), feel free to get in touch. We’ve migrated many SilverStripe and WordPress websites – big and small – and are happy to talk about yours.
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Denver Jackson - Web DeveloperGet in touch →