Wednesday 23 January 2008

It's here - myCMS4!

Digerati Solutions are excited to present the latest version of our Content Management System to our new and existing customers. We have collated and included over 100 suggestions from clients and staff in order to make the myCMS product even easier to use while providing more functionality!

In our innovative new system, Digerati have committed to producing a system that is simple to use, quick to perform changes and keeps data secure.

myCMS4 has a new intuitive interface that will enable you to:

  • Browse pages to update much quicker than before

  • Administer your website structure and navigation (depending on the design of your site)

  • Store and manage website resources

  • Securely manage your contributors actions

MyCMS4 is also more customisable for sites that require custom functionality such as appointment scheduling, stock control, customer management, event management, order reporting, testimonials, email marketing and photo galleries to name a few.

We have implemented the latest features and technologies to provide our customers with a system that is quick to use, seamless and intuitive. We have streamlined our processes and code to reduce reloads, added tab browsing on page options, update boxes as well as drag and drop features.

If you would like a demo of myCMS4, feel free to contact Digerati and arrange a meeting.

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Inefficient Technology

Firstly, AJAXs or XHTML content is the functionality which makes appearances seamless, smooth and fancy. It uses complex methods that pull information as you are viewing the website, creating an experience becoming popular with experienced developers on the internet.

Over the years, technology has evolved quickly and has been put under the test of the market place. Some products that were developed have failed to deliver as expected, or the market place has grown so much that the current applications are different to it’s initial purpose.

A good example of its application is the new website - more specifically the webpage where Apple are displaying items in the table at the bottom. Have a flick through the different pages. Notice its “nice” transitions, the seamless transitions between the information, and the webpage doesn’t need to reload.

For a drawback of this technology on the same site, click the buttons at the top that include: Just Added, Exclusive, Just HD etc. Watch the animation that holds the page until it loads the content. The information that is displayed at this point will not be found on Google or any Search Engine.

The reason for this is because Google (as with most common search engines) only caches the initial html server response and reads it on a text level. If you have data loading on complex runtime procedures or through time delayed methods via javascript, not in html (ajaxs and xhtml), your information will not be found in the search engine cache.

Apple developers have been intuitive enough to understand this downfall and have employed a solution similar to our approach of including alternate sources for search engine data collection.

Although the new technology of AJAX, XHTML, Flash and advanced javascript can ultimately make any website look great, it takes an experienced development company to be able to use these yet concurrently keep the fundamental functionality of user accessibility, search engine optimisation and W3C standards compliance.

Talk to Digerati today about your existing (or new) website and whether it is an effective presence to search engines, or how we can assist you with the effective integration of new technology.

Friday 4 January 2008

Keeping Up Appearances

5.25 inch floppy disk
If I told you that I listen to all of my music on cassette tape you would probably laugh at me. Similarly, if I told you that my portable file storage format is a packet of 5.25” floppy disks (you remember the big black ones?), you would no doubt label me an eccentric and probably shield me from any by-standing children in case my disease was contagious.

If you are using Internet Explorer 6, Netscape 8, Firefox 1, Opera 8.5, Safari 2 or any versions before them, then you’re among approximately 35% of the internet population using outdated browsers (according to stats of Dec 2007). If you have you screen resolution set to 800x600 pixels or less you are one of around 17% of internet users operating below the standard screen size.

As with the cassette tapes and floppy disks, there may be a time and place for each of them (it’s hard to see where, but I’ll allow that there may be some situations), however the vast majority of the world has moved forward, and as a general rule it is accepted that both of these formats have been superseded by far superior alternatives.

The issues of browser type and screen resolution are the 2 most frustrating aspects of the internet to any web design and development studio, large or small. These areas are the most significant contributors to the internet being unable to move forward at the speed of innovation and technology – and in most cases, it doesn’t need to be the case. Many older browsers (such as Internet Explorer 6 and older Safari versions) do not support technology which is becoming widely used, and as such many agencies will need to forego some ‘features’ in the pursuit of compatibility. This reluctance to leave internet users behind is causing the internet to evolve slower than it could, and is in turn reducing the potential effectiveness of the internet as a whole.

Online technology is increasing exponentially. With the arrival of the .Net framework almost any developer (web or not) can now produce powerful online applications in whatever language they are most comfortable with, which means a lot more people are developing, and a lot companies are trying to ‘get more out of the system’. In all cases, the product is useless unless the end user is able to actually ‘use’ the products that are being developed, and to allow for this, browsers are constantly adding support for new technology - from code provision to file support. When a user upgrades to the latest browser, they are allowing their computer to effectively use the best of what is currently available.

Unfortunately, not all browsers support all new technology, and some have opted not to support some that they probably should have. This in itself causes significant friction for developers trying to offer bigger, powerful and faster online tools because they have to start adding work-arounds to support the shortcomings of a specific browser or bite the bullet and not support a browser all together.

New browsers such as Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7 are able to self-update, to avoid falling behind the crowd, so once you’ve installed the latest version, you can sit back and forget about having to update because it will take care of itself.

Some of the features supported in the newer browsers but not the older ones include; semi-transparent PNG files, RSS reading, custom toolbar, advanced javascript support and default inclusion of plugins such as flash and java. Some features that are waiting to be included in soon-to-be-released browsers include; CSS3, increased RSS feed services, support for new Silverlight (Microsoft’s answer to flash) files and advanced file download management to name a few. These tools will all allow added flexibility to design and functionality, and ultimately make the users experience a lot more effective and enjoyable.

Some usability features such as tabbed browsing and integrated search toolbars have been introduced into newer versions as well which don’t really affect the page itself, but offer a less cluttered approach to the tools that are commonly used.

In fairness I need to note that as with all new technology there will be some teething issues and a bug here or there, and I don’t recommend upgrading as soon as a new version is available. I do however believe that 6-8 months is more than enough time to allow for significant problems to be resolved and an ideal time to upgrade.

I would recommend having at least 2 browsers installed on each computer to allow for quick transfer to an alternative if needed. This may be necessary if care hasn’t been taken during development to ensure cross-browser compatibility.

Below is a list of the current versions of the 4 major browsers, and a link to a page where you can view the upgraded features and download the necessary files.

Internet Explorer 7 was released in November 2006
Note: You will need a verified version of Windows to install IE7.

Firefox 2 was released June 2006

Opera 9 was released in June 2006

Safari 3 was released in June 2007