Posts Tagged Content Management System

Backend Layout (Grid View) Feature of the New Typo3 4.5 LTS

For anyone who has ever used Typo3 as a CMS, they would be well aware of the limitations associated with the layout of a page (backend layout) in the administration area.

Without hacking or using third party extensions such as TemplaVoila, it was pretty difficult to get anything more than the Left, Normal, Right & Border columns to add content elements to your website. For someone familiar with Typo3, it wasn’t a major problem, but as soon as you put the administration system in front of someone who was about to use it for the first time, it created nothing but confusion.

With the release of Typo3 4.5, Typo3 developers now have the ability to make a more user friendly admin page for content editors through their new core feature Grid View (Backend Layout).

With ease, we can now give the Typo3 user a more user friendly and intuitive admin page just by creating a few simple backend layout views that only helps people make a better association with the websites design.

I found it very hard to find any decent information online about how to implement the Backend Layout feature, so I’ve decided to put together this little tutorial on how you can get started.

Step 1 : Create Backend Layout
The first thing you need to do is create a system folder to store your backend layout templates.

Once you’ve created the new system folder, choose List (on LHS) > the System Folder > Click the “Create Record” button at the top of the RHS page. Then from there, you should choose “Backend Layout”.

On the next screen that loads, enter your Title (used to easily identify the layout) and click the Grid Wizard icon (pencil and notepad) beside the Config field. It is also a good idea to associate a simple graphical icon to help you identify the layout visually.

 

The Grid Wizard allows you to design a layout, in our simple example we use a Top Left, Top Right and Bottom style layout.

 

One thing to note here is that you MUST enter a Name and Column number for each column of the layout grid. If you don’t do this, you will get a “not assigned” error in the admin page.

The Grid View wizard creates the config code required to make it all work!

E.g.

backend_layout {
colCount = 2
rowCount = 2
rows {
1 {
columns {
1 {
name = TopLeft
colPos = 1
}
2 {
name = TopRight
colPos = 2
}
}
}
2 {
columns {
1 {
name = Bottom
colspan = 2
colPos = 3
}
}
}
}
}

Once you are happy with your layout, you can now begin to apply the layout to the backend page.

 

Step 2 : Apply Layout to Backend Page
This step is very simple, all you need to do is access the page properties of the page you would like the Backend Layout applied to. Choose the “Options” tab and at the bottom of this page, you should see the icons (if you’ve applied one to the layout) of the layout options you have available. If not, you can simply choose your layout from the drop down menu.

 

Step 3 : Apply to Front End Template
Nothing hugely changes much from a front end perspective. We all have our own ways of doing this I’m sure. But here’s a simple example of what we would do:

Layout.html File

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN”>

<html>
<head>
<title>Untitled</title>
</head>

<body>

<!– ###DOCUMENT_BODY### –>
<div id=”topLeft”>
<!– ###TOPLEFT### –>
TOPLEFT of page
<!– ###TOPLEFT### –>
</div>
<div id=”topRight”>
<!– ###TOPRIGHT### –>
TOPRIGHT of page
<!– ###TOPRIGHT### –>
</div>

<div id=”bottom”>
<!– ###BOTTOM### –>
BOTTOM of page
<!– ###BOTTOM### –>
</div>

<!– ###DOCUMENT_BODY### –>

</body>
</html>

 

TypoScript Set Up
page = PAGE
page.typeNum = 0

page.10 = TEMPLATE
page.10.template = FILE
page.10.template.file = fileadmin/layout.html

page.10 {
workOnSubpart = DOCUMENT_BODY
subparts.TOPLEFT< styles.content.get
subparts.TOPLEFT.select.where = colPos = 1

subparts.TOPRIGHT< styles.content.get
subparts.TOPRIGHT.select.where = colPos = 2

subparts.BOTTOM < styles.content.get
subparts.BOTTOM.select.where = colPos = 3

}

One final thing to do is make sure that you have included the CSS Styled Content in your statics!

That should be enough to get you started with this great new feature! Enjoy!!

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How much does a web design cost? Real Web Design Costs

It’s over a year since I wrote a similar article to this one on what it costs to design a website. Surprisingly, since that last post and with all the turmoil that is happening with the global and Irish economy, little has changed in terms of pricing. What has changed however, is the number of small web design companies popping up all over the place offering cheap web design solutions. I personally take no issue with these companies, unless of course they start comparing their work to the work a professional web design agency.

The problem with web design is that generally speaking, most people don’t actually understand what it takes to design and develop a website. I know from even my circle of friends, they would expect the building of a website to be something that can be done in a few clicks of a button. Of course this is a possibility and one of the reasons there are so many cheap and nasty web design companies in the market today.

We regularly get people telling us that we are “much more” expensive than other quotes they have received. In this case we always ask them to provide us with the proposal from the other company to see where the difference in price lies. In most cases, they are comparing apples with oranges. The service we offer is far superior to the cheaper alternatives. There are of course the exceptions when I can’t even contemplate why a company is going in so cheaply.

Like with every professional service, I think it’s best to look at things in context when discussing pricing around a service you require. Hopefully this article will open most peoples eyes into how a professional website is cost-ed and why.

Web Design Pricing
When we get a call from someone looking for a website designed, the first thing we ask for is an idea of other sites that the client is trying to emulate for their own business. This isn’t to plagiarise their ideas, but for us to get an idea of what the clients expectations are. Our next question would be related to the websites functionality, e.g. do you need to sell anything online, what level of interactivity do you want with the client etc.

Generally speaking, the answers provided will lead us two ways, one needing more questions answered or two, in a position to put together a proposal for the costs involved in the project. With the information received from the client, we can the plan the time we feel is required to deliver a finished website based on the clients brief. If it’s a complex project, it can take quite sometime to put together time-frames expected.

Time Required to Build a Website
Let’s take a simple brochure type website, with a Content Management System as an example of the time  required to deliver such a website.

  1. Design
    Design is a strange procedure that can’t be timed to an exact time-frame. There’s a massive level of creativity required and therefore, you can’t rush it. A typical design can take anywhere from 2-3 days to meet the initial design brief and at that stage, you will probably have one or two ideas developed.

    In all our projects, we work with our client to get a design that they are 100% happy with. If they don’t like what we have delivered, we will keep working until we get exactly what the client wants. Luckily enough, in most cases we don’t have a problem with it going beyond the 2-3 days allocated.

    Total Days: 2-3

  2. Design preparation for CMS integration
    Once the design has been fully signed off, we move onto preparing the agreed design for the CMS integration. This means developing the necessary HTML, CSS and JS code etc. This can take up to 1 day to complete.

    Total Days: 1

  3. CMS Installation & Design Integration
    As soon as the design has been cut up and is ready to be integrated, we start the process of installing the CMS. Depending on the CMS chosen and the complexity of the design, this can take anywhere from 2-3 days to fully integrate. At this stage, we also look after any functionality issues, such as forms, login systems etc etc.

    Total Days: 3-4

  4. Content Insertion
    The final build stage is the insert the content provided by the client. Typically we do a maximum of 15-20 pages of content for a client and then train them up on how to use the CMS to insert their own content if they require more.

    Total Days: 1-2

So there you have it, that’s a typical example of the time required to build a very basic website with a CMS. I haven’t included the time required for meetings, design briefing or testing. The basic nuts and bolts of building the website will take at least 7-10 days, yet it generally takes 4-6 weeks before the whole process is completed.

Web Design Costs
We charge per project basis. It’s not easy for me to give a set figure for the cost of the design and development of a website because requirements differ so much from client to client. Typically speaking, we would be charging anywhere from €2,500 – €3,500 +VAT for a typical brochure site with CMS.

To some that sounds quite expensive, but let’s break that down further to see where the costs come in.

a) Web Designer / Web Developer

A good web designer/developer’s annual salary will be anywhere from €30-40k per annum depending on experience. Since we need two people working on your website design, let’s take a mean salary of €35k per annum.

It costs the employer just over €790 per week (accounting for holidays) to have someone working on the project. The total cost for a 2 week project is therefore €1580

b) Project Management / Meetings
With any project, there is a certain level of project management required. Project management means meetings. As much as we can, we try to have meetings on-site, but most of the time it makes more sense to meet with the client in their offices. This obviously takes someone’s time and costs money for travel etc.

c) Rent, Calls & Other Misc.
A necessary evil of running a business, but we need to put a roof over our heads and buy PCs, phones broadband connection etc etc. Without all this, we wouldn’t be a web design company.

You can throw your own figures at b and c – but even with the lowest level, you can see there is very little margin in the costs charged for designing a simple website.

Cheap Web Design

So now that you’ve seen what the costs involved in developing a typical website, let’s look at how a cheap web design business operates. I say business as opposed to “company” because a lot of these businesses are one man operations run by self employed individuals working from home with little overheads etc. Other cheap web design companies will outsource their work to cheap labour countries such as India, Pakistan or China.

  1. Design
    Generally speaking, most of these companies do one of three things when it comes to the design aspect of a website.

    a) Download  and use freely available templates from the Internet. They then do some basic customisation of the design such as include your logo and other graphical material.

    b) Purchase already created designs from Templatemonster.com or similar websites. Again, there is a certain level of customisation required in this case.

    c) Outsource off-shore – absolutely nothing wrong with this, but the quality tends to be pretty poor.

  2. CMS Integration
    The majority of the cheap web design companies use one of the many freely available CMS solutions such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Apart from being really easy and quick to install, there are thousands of online resources where they can download free templates to use for their website theme.

Typically speaking, someone could put together one of these cheap websites, that will potentially look like thousands of other websites across the Internet in less than 2 days. If it takes them longer than this, either you are a nightmare client that is expecting too much or they don’t know what they are doing!

The bottom line is that if you want your website design from a professional design agency, expect to spend anywhere from €1,500 to €4,000 for a brochure type website. If you want to go the cheap route, don’t spend more than €500 – otherwise you are being ripped off.

I hope all the information above gives you a good idea of the complete disconnect between cheap web design and professional web design. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to use a cheap web design company, but before you start comparing apples and oranges make sure you completely understand what you are getting from your web designer.

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Content Management Systems – The Choice Is Yours

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What Content Management System (CMS) should I use for my website??. The short answer is, that there is no short answer and there’s certainly no simple one!

Choosing a CMS really comes down to what it is you need to achieve with your website and what it is that you need to be in control of. There are hundreds of CMSs to choose from, all with their own individual capabilities and functionality. For some, a simple basic CMS will be enough to manage their brochure ware type website, but others require more flexibility and functionality.

A lot of web developers will be able to guide you toward the CMS that they feel suits your requirements best. But in a lot of cases, the web developer will usually suggest a CMS he/she is most comfortable using.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System is basically a piece of software that allows non-technical users to manage their website and its content. Through a CMS, website owners have the ability to add text, upload images, videos and documents to their website at their leisure without the intervention of a web designer. A CMS takes away the technical knowledge required to update and manage a website by creating an easy to use interface. With some CMS’s, it can be as easy to create a new webpage on your website as it is to create a new Word document.

Content Management Systems were born in the mid 1990s when web designers, bored with the laborious task of updating massive content heavy websites, decided it was time for change. They went about creating simple systems to help maintain the websites they created for their clients. Originally these systems were built for in-house use only and it was only a matter of time before they realised that there was a market for such a product.

Nowadays, it’s common practice for web design companies to install Content Management Systems (CMS) on all websites they develop. Even if you haven’t request a CMS from your web designer, it’s quite possible they have installed one already… mainly for their own sanity!

Paid vs Free

The first major decision you will be faced with when deciding what CMS you should use is whether you should buy one or use one of the many freely available open source CMS’s.

In the Open Source arena, there are hundreds of free CMS’s . Being free obviously has massive benefits, but it also brings its problems too. Because the software and its core code are freely available, it’s more susceptible to security and hacking holes. For this reason, choosing a CMS that is regularly updated and patched regularly is of key importance.

Generally speaking, CMS’s developed in-house by web development companies will occur an annual license fee. Developers of “off-the-shelf? CMS’s are likely to charge you a one off fee for its use and offer you free updates for one year.

Cost

You shouldn’t assume that because you have chosen to use a free CMS, there will be no costs involved in getting up and running. The simple fact is that there will still be costs associated with getting it integrated with your website. Your web developer is likely charge you for the time it takes to install and integrate the CMS with your website design.

If you have chosen a commercial CMS, some companies may waive the integration fee, but you will still have to pay to get a design capable of working with the CMS itself.

It’s really worth researching the cabilities and functionality of all available CMSs before deciding on which one to you use for your website. Here is small list of some of the most popular CMSs.

Recommended Content Management Systems

Typo3
An enterprise level CMS that offers full flexibility and expendability.  Typo3 is freely available to download and use under the GPL License agreement. Typo3 has a good choice of enterprise extensions and plugins available.

www.typo3.com

Technology: PHP, MySQL, Oracle, Postgres

€FREE (GPL License)

Joomla
Joomla is an award winning content management system. Favoured by a lot of developers for it’s easy installation and management capabilities. Joomla’s biggest downfall is probably its popularity. The fact that so many people use it, makes it more prone to abuse from malicious coders.

www.joomla.com

Technology: PHP, MySQL

Cost: FREE (GPL License)

WordPress
Favoured by bloggers as the tool of choice, it is now fast becoming a popular tool for managing smaller websites.

A huge collection of third party plugins are freely available.

www.wordpress.org

Technology: PHP, MySQL

Cost: FREE (GPL License)

Expression Engine
An affordable Content Management System that is feature rich and flexible.

www.expressionengine.com

Technology: PHP, MySQL

From €250.00

Kentico CMS
Kentico is another flexible solution and favoured by developers who are used to developing Microsoft ASP.NET applications.

www.kentico.com

Technology: ASP.NET, SQL

From €1,990.00

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I need a website – how much will it cost?

In this day and age, every business should have a website. It doesn’t matter if you are a one man operation or a multi-national plc, your website could be one of the most cost effective sales leads generation tool you have ever had for your business. Of course, you need to take some important steps to ensure your website is generating the proper level of interest in order to get a maximum return.

Most of my working life is spent preparing quotes or speaking with people about getting a website. I constantly here the phrase “I need a website, how much will it cost? I hear it some many times that my structured brain would love to have a process in place where it could just spit out a one liner that will answer that question in an instant. Unfortunately for me, it’s not that simple.

There are so many things you can do with a website, that it’s impossible to gauge how much work is involved in a project without going into detail. Out old cliched response is obviously “how long is a piece of string”. This isn’t about us looking to sound smart, but more about it being the easiest way for us to get out point across.

Of course there are many projects that can be very straight forward, you know the ones, a 5 page website with a reply form. We could usually give you a ballpark figure on this type of website pretty quickly. Generally speaking, those people that want a website of this nature tend not to want to make much of an investment in their website and are looking for a cheap and nasty solution because they believe they “have to” have a website. They tend not to be that interested in trying to achieve a return on this investment and really just want a “presence”.

Do I think this is the right approach?
In some cases it’s fine – like how much information can you really say about a one man electrician company? The lack of competition in the search engines for something this specific could make it a worthwhile investment for this business. But what happens when all the other electricians come on board and also get themselves a simple website? Very quickly there will be a lot of businesses in that space all fighting for the top positions on Google.

In most cases a properly thought out website is the only way to go. Do you need to have a CMS? Do you need to interact with visitors to your website? What do you want to achieve with your website? How will it handle sales for your business? These are all questions that you should really be asking yourself when planning the development of your new website.

Cut to chase Tom, how much will it actually cost me to build a website?
Well again there are many variations. A typical brochure site with 5-10 pages will cost you anywhere from €300 (from a cheap and nasty web design business) to over €3k (from a professional web design company). Once you start getting into bespoke application development, the cost can increase quite quickly into the 10s of thousands.

Working with the right web design company will help you get the most from your website. They will be able to guide you as to where you should put your money and effort for the best return.

If you’re looking for a quote on your web project – why not contact us on www.2bscene.ie

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Typo3.org website accessed by unauthorised person! Change your passwords!

TYPO3

Image via Wikipedia

Hot off the press, I just got an email in from Typo3.org stating that their website has been accessed by an unauthorised person.

The unauthorised person had access to all the username and passwords of those that have an account with the Typo3.org website. Apparently this person has passed on this info to third parties and has also been gaining access to websites who stupidly use the same password.

So if you use the same password for everything and have an account at Typo3.org – I suggest you quickly change your password!

The full script of the email goes like this:

This is an important security warning. You are receiving it because your email address is registered on the TYPO3.org website.

We have to inform you that an unauthorized person has gained administrative access to the TYPO3.org website.

The offender had access to website user details including their passwords, and there have been reports of this data being used to access other websites.
It also has to be expected that the data may have been disclosed to third parties.

The attacker has been identified, and the TYPO3 Association has started to take legal action on the issue.

Important!
IF YOU HAVE USED THE SAME PASSWORD ON ANY OTHER SITE, PLEASE CHANGE IT IMMEDIATELY!

In a first step, all login accounts on TYPO3.org have been locked and will require a new password. We are currently working on an improved login procedure and will let you know when this is ready. Until then, you will not be able to log into the Community section of TYPO3.org.

We have set up an FAQ page at http://typo3.org/about/faq/t3org-issue/
The page may be updated with new questions from time to time, so make sure to check back before replying to this mail.

We apologize for the inconveniences and troubles that this might cause to you.

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