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Posted March 15, 2007 by cuhl
All good developers using the CMSMS know how flexible it is and easy it is to develop a good website with solid design and good functionality. One caveat of the dilligent work we put into making websites is that 9 times out of 10 the client wants to take a stab at making the changes themselves. This is a major selling point for people, many of then used to phoning up a web company, only to request a few changes, wait forever for the work to be done to the right standard, meanwhile their own deadlines are shifting and bosses giving hassle wanting to know what is going on. Eventually when an invoice comes in the door in exchange for the hassle, they will only jump at the chance to take this painstaiking process out of their work day.
The important part to know about developing a site with the CMSMS is that the site isn't done on launch day. The training element is crucial to the successful website. Many days spent on validation and good code can be wrecked by someone in the client's company copy and pasting from Front Page, or Word, or some other horror that has been imposed on us all. This can invalidate the good put into the site and in the end affects your own reputation as a developer.
It is a good idea to think of the CMSMS not from your own familiar point of view of it, but from the client's noobie look at the back-end. Simple things like restricting their access to the really important (and dangerous) items such as custom content blocks, templates, stylesheets, php code etc can save alot of grief and questions in the long run. The more comfortable a client is with non-technical areas of the site and the less bewildered they are at the total package, the more eager they will be to make an effort at making changes without worrying about 'breaking' something.
Compliant standard editors (we use x-standard as a default) are helpful to clean up bad code inserted from the above mentioned offenders of bad code. But added to this, a small user manual is often helpful. Take the main important sections of the site that a client will be using and put the process clearly down on paper. Numbered lists of what to do in a step-by-step basis, along with screenshots helps guide them through editing or adding pages and images. This gets rid of the fear factor often seen by clients facing an imposing admin panel.
Taking the time go sit with them and go over the manual helps build your relationship with the client, adds to their own assurances that they will not 'break' the site and incur the wrath of their respective bosses, and lets them know they haven't been left on their own to fend for themselves. In our own experience as much as a client wants to 'do it all all by themselves', when the time comes to make the leap, they tend to hesitate on actually pushing the 'submit' button. A little hand-holding in the way of training goes a long long way to the future success of the website.
Posted March 15, 2007 by signex
Posted March 2, 2007 by Tatu Wikman
- Focus on your CSS skills, they are the basis
- Try, if capable to contribute to the CMSMS development.
- Make your designs in photoshop, know what you want before you change the css.
- Post your designs, take a look and learn form others. Never copy, it might not satisfy!
- I question the overload on css-galleries! So I'm looking for serious volunteers to make one board to connect them all, but how?
Posted February 13, 2007 by chead
Development / DesignDuring development and design, you'll spend a lot of time on the same few templates and stylesheets, and adding new content. Speed access to those functions with these shortcuts:
- Edit Stylesheet / Edit Template Most sites have a few key page templates and CSS stylesheets, and you'll probably find yourself editing them frequently during development. Add one-click access to these frequently-accessed templates and stylesheets for quick direct editing.
- Collapse & List Pages If your site has a lot of pages or complex hierarchy, it can take several seconds for the page list to display completely. Add a shortcut to the "Collapse All Sections" link on the page list, and your page list will display in a snap, ready for navigation.
- Module Help Working with a particular module frequently? Link to its "help" page for fast access to reference on its syntax and features.
- Add Page You'll be adding a lot of pages when you first build your site. Get right to it with a shortcut to the "add new page" option from the page list.
Site MaintenanceOnce your site has been developed, the focus shifts to content. You can streamline the process of keeping online information up to date, and reduce the need for user training by focusing editors directly on their content. Give your page owners and editors quick access to the areas they're responsible for with these shortcuts:
- Edit Key Content Your site probably has a few pages or global content blocks that change more often than others. Make a shortcut directly to these key pages and editors won't have to navigate the pages menu to get there.
- Instant News / Events Add a shortcut to "Add Article" and "Add Event" links in the News and Calendar modules to add new items with a single click.
- "Edit My Pages" If your site has multiple page editors, add shortcuts to the pages they can edit for each editor's account. You'll have less to explain and they're less likely to get lost.
- "Change My Password/Email" Give users one-click access to basic account login information by linking directly to the My Preferences/My Account page.
- Site Standards / Documentation Link directly to any site documentation, standards guides or cheatsheets you've developed for your users.
General Tips / Tricks
- Open Shortcut in A New Window/Tab Add '" target="_blank' to the end of the URL in your shortcut to make it appear in a new window. Include the double-quotes, but exclude the opening and closing single-quote, and note the space after the first double-quote and before "target." You can also right-click any shortcut link and select the option to open it in a new window or tab.
- Use Relative Paths For Portability If you want shortcuts to work even if the host changes (such as a development site that will later be migrated to another host), use relative paths instead of absolute paths. You can delete everything through "\admin\" on the left side of the path. For example, to add a page, all that's needed in the URL is "addcontent.php".
- Sort Shortcuts Shortcuts are sorted alphabetically by name (in ASCII order). Add punctuation or numbers as prefixes to display items in your preferred order.
Your ShortcutsHave you found other handy shortcuts? Share yours in the comments!
Posted February 8, 2007 by Ted Kulp
- Versioning on an object level
- Totally restructured API
- Function caching
- Full page caching
- Started installer
- Rewrite of content
- Smarty tags for module api functions
- Smarty tags for admin functions
- Rewrote how admin themes work (smarty templates) and how menus are loaded (xml file)
- Rewrote News to take advantage of module api changes
- Finish installer
- Versioning interface
- Overhaul of language handling -- addition of the language manager to download translations
- Total rewrite of translation center to be database centric and able to create language files for download on the fly
- Admin interface overhaul -- especially content and permissions
- New block types, especially image
Posted February 7, 2007 by signex
- One list of top 10 most used modules. Which could be news, search, FEU, FCKeditor, etc.
- Functions list, all tested and stable functions ready to be imported for user defined tags.
- All other modules the same way it is now.