Customised blogs, forums and galleries
making your personal site distinctive
There are a number of open source products available for creating blogs (web logs), forums and galleries. These tools enable people with very limited web-savvy to create attractive and effective websites. They have a very high specification, and are readily customised. As a result, we often integrate them into websites to take advantage of the features they offer - The WordPress blog is an excellent engine for driving a news section, for example.
Commonly used products
Above: Screen shots from the standard WordPress style (left), and some of the modified styles we have prepared.
WordPress is the open-source blog of choice with a user community numbered in the millions. Its diary format and automatic archiving system make it ideal for a range of purposes - open ended discussions, following projects, news articles... It is used as a shop-window on the web by large numbers of scientists and artists. WordPress can't do everything, but it offers a nice, easy to use interface, which makes it a winner with both users and designers.
MyBB - a great, well appointed bulletin board to help you build communities online. Our experience is that communities need building, they don't self assemble! You should expect to put in some hard work to get yours off the ground...
Gallery2 - this needs a well appointed server to get the best out of it, but the ability to do a lot of photo editing online, straight out of the box is pretty impressive! Well worth thinking about if you are looking at a photo/image based site, and may want to share (or sell) images online.
Content management systems
Database driven content management systems use web forms to add or edit content for pages, the pages themeselves can be chosen from a limited number of templates. This type of CMS permits editorial control over layout and font choice, but at the cost of only offering a limited number of layout options for pages. Generally database driven CMS's are very easy to edit and add content to.
Joomla! is a designer's content management system. This offers loads of features as standard, with a host of good plugins to extend it's core page management and blog-posting abilities. It is well enough built that we can create solid, standards compliant websites with multiple templates relatively easily. Its downside is that the administration interface, while clean and very professional looking, can be frustrating to use. It is also a bit of a memory hog, so care is needed in choosing a good hosting deal, as otherwise those keen plugins you want wont work...
Drupal - offers a comparatively simple administration interface, with strong support amongst the open GIS/mapping community, making it an obvious choice for this type of application.
The simplest content management system we offer uses either Adobe's Contribute or Dreamweaver software - these provide you with a WYSYWYG interface for editing web pages. In practice this is very similar to using a word processor, but you write web pages! Consistency of formatting is maintained by the use of web templates, and styles are controlled by a central stylesheet.
Dreamweaver is a fully featured web editor, but both software packages offer considerable freedom for choosing styling and layout options outwith the template structure. As a consequence, it is possible for some drift to occur in the site's appearance if care is not taken.
Contact us for more details