There's no question that, to be successful, web designers and developers have to continuously learn and refine their craft. The web is a very different place than it was five years ago, and what's expected of us today is different than it was then. Learning on the job is a no brainer. But what is the most effective time to learn?
I was working on a fun personal project in Rails for a few minutes before dinner last night. In the time span of about 30 minutes a bunch of concepts, conventions, and principles that are essential to understanding Rails clicked. It was a serious turning point. I've been trying to learn Rails off and on for a few years, and nothing was really sticking. At that moment I understood that in most cases, I approach my work and my learning wrong: I train while I'm running the race.
Wikipedia says this about hurdling technique: Generally, the efficient hurdler spends the minimum amount of time and energy going vertically over the hurdle, thus achieving maximum speed in the horizontal race direction.
Designers and developers should approach projects like a well-trained hurdler: thoroughly equipped for the race, able to go from start to...
Recently a prospective client mentioned she had heard Drupal is difficult to use, and asked to see a dummy Drupal backend to explore the interface.
It's surprising how frequently this “Drupal is hard” myth pops up. True, Drupal is very robust compared to some simple Content Management Systems, but from a management standpoint, it's super user-friendly and makes it nearly impossible to mess up your site.
I enlisted the help of my Drupal-savvy teammate Kevan to accomplish the task, and he one-upped me when he created this handy little video.
Without fail, once our clients see their websites in action they quickly learn just how easy Drupal is to use, but we thought we'd share Kevan's tutorial with you, to settle any question in your mind.
The bottom line: Drupal is easy!
I often get asked about my philosophy on technology, and over the years my simple answer has always—confidently—been: “Open source!” According to the all-knowing font of wisdom (ahem, Wikipedia), Open Source is defined as: “practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials.”
This definition certainly holds true. But more recently, as we've been privileged to create websites and systems for a huge variety of clients, I've realized that we need broader terminology for our development philosophy.
Now my answer is: “I believe in Open Systems.”
I would define Open Systems as products that feature:
- Open Source technologies. All foundational technologies—like application frameworks—are open source whenever possible.
- Web Standards. The software is comprised of publicly vetted, web-standards-based technologies.
- Integration. Software is architected towards integration—not lock-in—whenever possible
- Transparent data. Data is exposed to technologists and non-technologists as much as...
On Friday we brought together the ENTIRE Domain7 team—across four time zones!—to plan for the future, and treat ourselves to the same strategy process we offer our clients. We used one giant Google Hangout for our large group gathering and then split off into teams to target specific topics.
As a business with offices across the country (a complete office in Washington, DC and team members in Halifax and Texas!) it was pretty amazing to bring everyone together, and to see how well it worked, thanks to some simple, free technology.
Plus, we're pretty excited to implement all the big plans we dreamed up for Domain7!
Thanks to Kevan Gilbert for capturing some footage from the day.
Like many companies, Domain7 deals with a lot sensitive information that needs to be shared securely across the entire organization. Wi-fi keys, social media passwords, analytics accounts, clients' Content Management Systems (CMS)—on any given day our team members log in and out of at least a dozen online accounts, and every single one needs a user-name and password.
For some time, we puzzled over finding a centralized spot for all this information without blowing the bank on licensing costs. There are some pretty good solutions out there (for a fee) but none of them upheld both of our essential criteria for a great tool:
- open source
- web based
Plus, with team members in every corner of North America, we needed an affordable solution that would give access to multiple users across many locations.
Keypunch is an open-source, web-based, multi-user system that allows...