Archive for November, 2010

Ooooh Flash.. so nice :)

Nov
25

http://www.immersive-garden.com/

This site has some lovely sequences of flash and After Effects animation. The Skills page is especially explosive.. ink clouds and crows. Really nice use of textures and assets. Found on theFWA.com website  http://thefwa.com/site/immersive-garden/c=2816 .

Multi language CMS solutions

Nov
23

Ok so, being in Wales and building websites for clients, very often invloves the use of multilingual content and the eventual need for a multi language Content Manegement System to administer the multiple languages that they require.

I have been wracking my brain looking for a decent CMS that serves a lot of the needs of the Client as well as cater for the multi lingual aspects of the content. First of all. Druapl and Joomla are out, cos they are bloatware beyond believe. They are also so demanding in terms of the learning curve for Dev and user in my eyes that I rarely offer them as solutions to my clients unless they are currently using these CMS’ or demand to use them.. at that point I’m either not interested or go along with their demands, cos customers are always right.. right 🙂 ?

There are 3 CMS solutions that spring to mind in terms of ease of use and functionality that I would recommmend here and here are the pro’s are the pro’s and cons to all 3.

  • WordPress with Qtranslate plugin.

WordPress 3.0.1 is great. It offers a lot of freedom and an imense amount of customisation of recent releases. And 3.0.1 is no excpetion. While working on a site for Turnstilemusic.net, I was asked to scope out the building of a website for Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals fame. The site was going to have a Welsh and English section and also be capable of bloggin different content in English and Welsh. I spent a good week trawling through solutions like WPML, and multi lange pages. In the end I settled on a nice solution called Qtranslate. This provides tabbed instances of each language in Pages and Posts. It also allows multi language tags/categories and has a lot of customisation options for more than 2 languages. There is a lot of scope to hard code elements that don’t exist as multilingual into the templates you create.

See Gruff Rhys’ site www.gruffrhys.com in action with multi language content.

  • Symphony CMS

A great CMS platform for developers and my FAV at the moment. Symphony hasn’t natively supported Multi Lingual content out of the box and still struggles (On my installs anyway) to fully handle Complete management of All multi lingual content, without needing to hardcode certain elements of the install. 2 new plugins have been in develpment for a while, which might tilt this into the favour of the content creators with regards to ease of use:

One of the plugins is called Multi Language Support and it provides a multi lingual layer on top of Symphony itself.

The other plugin which I found to be working nicely in the back end, but didn’t fully handle Multi lingual page titles.. was : Multi Lingual field. This provides the best user centered friendly approach to the administration of multi lingual content. And the using the Language Re-Direct extension to switch the language content on the front end. Awaiting for some really talented Symphonian to pave the way for what Symphony call and Ensemble (A pre constructed set of Extensions and Core install) configured to specifications such as Multi Lingual.. to see how others would do it!

This CMS has been growing in popularity with me. It started life as a frustration of lack of decent CMS for a guy called Ted Kulp to administer his website easily, and he ended up writing his own framework based on not finding what he wanted. It has now grown into a thriving community with Developers all over the world, and a growing Creative following (me) for one. Version 1.8.2 had a branch from the Core install which was dubbed the MLE version.. simple name.. explains it all! This version adapted by a forum member called Alby (part of the development team). This solution was ideal and it integrated very well with pages. But as of 1.8.2 this FORK of the CORE application has been stopped in favour of a bridging solution until verison 2.2 on the Development Path. It’s a shame it hasn’t been brought in to the core, but a brave move to continue without it in favour of a module. Langops is the module that people seem to be pinning their hopes on and look forward to using it in the near future.

So as I wait for the LangOps module to be ready, I am leaning towards WordPress solution for my clients as I know it is stable and had been doployed on many a site. come on CMSMS lets have a nice integrated Multi Language solution soon 🙂 pleeeeeeeeaaasee..

Google TV

Nov
21

http://www.google.com/tv/

Just saw this showcased on the latest engadget show via boxee.tv. Google seems to be trying to get onto our screens in the living room. And this app/yet another black box in the living room, is quite nice and it’s pretty quick too. Based on Chromium OS it has video chat and live channel switching of your own set top boxes using IR remote sensors. Shame that youtube.com is not configured for proper TV viewing.. it’s just how it would be seen on a laptop screen.. let’s get it looking nicer on a TV screen eh!

Jackboots on whitehall

Nov
21

OMG.. Is this a homage to Team America??

Looks quite funny though!

It’s what I would’ve done with action men! BLOW SHIT UP!

Topspin – a cool tool for musicians to sell music online

Nov
21

Been working with a label recently and they have started to use a cool online payment mechanic called topspin. The tool allows you to embed widgets and email promotions to your audience. You can also blog prmotions via twitter and facebook. There is even a means to use facebook to host a shop and cross sell products.

The biggest feature for me is the VIP level access for certain products. There is the possibility to create levels of VIP access to grant access to those who have paid for their content or subscribed to a yearly fee for exclusive offers/discounts. Topspinmedia.com.

Here’s an example widget for a recent free release from Turnstilemusic.net.

Lots of creative things can be done with these widgets. Linkin Park are using the same system on their current main site and LPU (Link Park Underground) This sub domain site is for exclusive content and membership level users who pay a monthly or yearly fee. lpu.linkinpark.com.
Check it out to see how usefull it can be to communicate directly with fans via the social platform of choice!

Symphony CMS

Nov
3

http://symphony-cms.com/

Have been working with this CMS lately and find it lightning quick.. XSLT based templating engine. and complete customization of front end and back end. Really active community on the forums and lots of help to be had. IT takes a while to get into the structure and methods used to build your pages/templates.. I’m still picking up bits here and there… but, I can see the benefits of a lightweight PHP based install. This thing is twice as fast at page rendering than the Big bloatware giants of Joomla, Drupal etc.. wordpress is great for blogging and faking a CMS, but if your looking for a real from the ground up CMS platform… take a peek under the hood and you will see how flexible this system can be.

Love it! must learn more.. it will take more then an idiots guide to get to grips with this one, but putting the hours in wil be worth it!