Internet

Code quality matters

We’ve all been there. Time is short, so just bash out a bit of code, and as long as it works we can move on. Code is for computers anyway, right? Who cares what it looks like? Actually, how our code is formatted can totally save our bacon later, and Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Internet

Controller routes in Silex

I’ve been using Laravel 4 for a while now, and occasionally Kohana too, but in my current project I’m trying out Silex.  It’s a micro-framework, which means it only gives you the bare-bones rather than bucketloads of features, but that keeps it lightweight and gives the developer a sense that Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Internet

MODx – the best open-source CMS available?

MODx CMS

Some background

Some years ago I found myself taking on a large web project, managing a web site with several hundred pages, edited by several people with little (if any) knowledge of HTML, and which needed a serious overhaul.  Initially I tried streamlining the process of dealing with all those static HTML files by creating a simple PHP framework to insert a common header and footer to each page, which significantly simplified the whole process of editing content.  However, it wasn’t long before I realised that a proper Content Management System was what the doctor ordered, and preferably one that was free.So it was, then, that I started a little research into what CMSs were available, and tried out a few of the demo installations on www.opensourcecms.com.  There were a few that I had heard of, even back then, and which promised fantastic performance, easy-to-use interface, complete cusomisation, and more bells and whistles than you could shake a keyboard at.  Among those I tried were Joomla, Mambo, e107, EZ Publish and a few others.  Most turned out to be quite complex, and while they offered plenty of options for technical people I found them to be a little less friendly for people less web-savvy than I.  I eventually settled with Etomite, which didn’t offer quite so much in terms of bells and whistles, but which enabled rapid development through its simple templating system, and had such a simple back-end interface that I could satisfactorily introduce my client to it.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Internet

Keeping track of time

mWork logoRunning your own business means a lot of extra effort, relative to a 'normal' job.  True, there are the benefits of being your own boss, working the hours that suit you, taking holidays when you fancy, setting the prices you like.  But in addition to being a Web Designer I also have to handle the accounts, pay the tax man, and do all the boring day-to-day stuff that proper businesses would palm onto someone else.  Thankfully, because my business is relatively small and simple, this doesn't take too much effort.  Mr Tax Man doesn't bother me unduly, and the general running of the business tends to just happen.Of course, there are ways of making life easier for myself on the business side of things.  For instance, keeping track of the business's money is something I'm keen to do, since numbers are not my strong point, so having a system in place that makes it all blindingly obvious is a must.  So far I've been relying on spreadsheets to log the work I do, with a different spreadsheet for each client.  It works, but it's not particularly efficient.  I've looked around on the 'net, and not found anything that fits my requirements exactly, so I decided I'd make my own.  Nothing like reinventing the wheel every now and then, just for kicks.And so mWork was born.(more…)

By Matthew, ago