2012 – where did it go?

Not a lot of blog updates in 2012, mainly because my workload was so crazy. As well as building several large sites as technical partner to Graphic Clinic and Crombie I still had time to put out several of my own. These, in summary, are below.

Core Health

12-core-healthA new lifestyle medical centre based in Drem, East Lothian. Rob came to me after having trouble with the first design agency he appointed. Deadline’s were in danger of being missed and with a launch date set, he really needed his site online as soon as possible. I outlined a realistic approach for what we could do in the time available, and was delighted when Rob said he wanted me to take over the project. The site was designed and built over 2-3 weeks, using good-old WordPress as the content management system, and was online in time for the press showing up at the centre for the grand opening.

Core Health is a great idea, we all spend more time and money maintaining our cars and central heating boilers than we do our body. So if you think you could do with an overall health check, there are several packages available – and a wide range of complementary treatments on offer to address any health issues that may arise.

Visit the site at: www.core-health.com

The Hub Edinburgh

12-hubThe Hub is a unique and stylish wedding and event venue at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. They were looking for a new, easy to manage, website and through their print designers at Grainger Dunsmore, came to 45b to build them a new site.

A few meetings over coffee and cake in their excellent cafe and we’d ironed out the basics. The site needed to work a bit harder to promote the building, and the various rooms available for weddings and corporate events within.  Once again, WordPress ticked all the boxes – easy to manage, and as “future proof” as a site can be.

Grainger Dunsmore came up with the designs and the site was put together over a month or so – they also needed a new email newsletter, so their list was imported over to MailChimp and a simple and easy to update email template was added.

At the training, they were blown away at how easy WordPress was to use, something that arises time and time again with clients who’ve previously struggled with bespoke CMS systems.

Visit the site at: www.thehub-edinburgh.com

Oscars International

12-oscarsA joint project – designed by Melville & Young – this international language school needed a new, easy to manage, website. And it had to have multi-lingual options. Once upon a time this would have meant a load of bespoke programming, but thanks to WordPress, and the excellent WPML plugin, this was a breeze to setup.

Currently being translated into Russian, with more languages to follow, and the beauty is – with WPML they can add as many languages as they like. So as their business expands, so can the website, without having to pay for any future maintenance. That’s the beauty of WordPress.

Visit the site at: www.oscarsinternational.co.uk

FMS Fire & Security

12-fmsFMS got in touch looking for a new site to replace their existing one, which was starting to look a bit long in the tooth. As one of Scotland’s leading suppliers of fire and security equipment they wanted to reflect this in their site with a clean, corporate look. Positioning them as one of the top-players in the market.

The competition was surveyed, designs supplied and approved and another WordPress site was born. Alongside this, an email newsletter was integrated into MailChimp and FMS were soon up and away editing the site and putting out emails. Easy!

Visit the site at: www.fmsfireandsecurity.co.uk

Prestige Car Bodies

12-pcbA coachworks in East Lothian catering for high-end cars and classics. The best part of this job was getting to drool over the mass of photography supplied!

A fairly simple site, with a glossy look to get across the immaculate work done at the coachworks. WordPress again, you can pretty much assume every site built from now on will use WordPress – it’s just so damn flexible, extendible, workable and likeable.

The site showcases the work done at Prestige, including vehicle wrapping, body repairs, crash repairs and re-sprays. And there are some stunning cars in the gallery, check it out…

Visit the site at: www.prestigecarbodies.com

Liberty Blooms

12-libertyA new Musselburgh based florist catering for weddings, events, and corporate contracts in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Paula contacted 45b towards the end of the year. They had some stunning photography of their work available, so it was decided to make this the main focus of the site.

We also committed to finishing the site by Christmas, which meant December was pretty busy! Anyway, you guessed it, WordPress was the logical choice again and thanks to the excellent photography, the designs were simple enough.

The site was launched on the 22nd December and I put my feet up for a couple of weeks.

Visit the site at: www.libertyblooms.co.uk

2013′s already shaping up to be another busy year and the calendar’s filling up fast, so if you’re looking for a new website, now’s the time to get in touch!

 

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Display a single WordPress child menu

Okay, so this is the first in a possibly expanding series of technical posts. After spending 5 hours yesterday trying to suss this one out, I thought I’d better share it, and document it for future reference.

The scenario: I’m building a WordPress site that contains several “micro-sites” for a property development company. Each micro site relates to a separate property. Simple yes?

To keep things simple, the property micro-sites will sit within the main site structure thus:

Home
About
Properties
- Property 1
– Floorplans
– Local Area
– Gallery
- Property 2
– Floorplans
– Local Area
– Gallery

etc….

Now, the micro-site has a unique design, which is easily handled by creating a different page template style, which calls in a unique header.

The problem arose with the navigation menu within that header. To keep things simple for the client, I like to automate things as much as possible – I could’ve just added a widget area and dropped menu widgets in, but the client needs the ability to add new properties in the future, so this needs to be handled “on the hoof” so to speak.

So, I thought a simple wp_list_pages with a “childof post.parent” would’ve done the trick, but it doesn’t – what you get is all child pages of the overall parent (grandparent) page “Properties” – so when viewing Property 1, you’re also getting the child pages of Property 2 etc. No use. Changing the depth parameter doesn’t help here either.

Also, each menu needed a link back to that micro-site’s home page, which you’re not getting when you output the child pages.

So, after a bit of fudging around with a solution I eventually found online, the winning piece of code was as follows:

			<?php global $post; $thispage = $post->ID; // grabs the current post id from global and then assigns it to thispage ?>

            <?php $pagekids = get_pages("child_of=".$thispage."&sort_column=menu_order"); // gets a list of page that are sub pages of the current page and assigns then to pagekids ?>
            <?php if ($pagekids) { // if there are any values stored in pagekids and therefore the current page has subpages ?>
                <?php $parent_title = get_the_title($post->post_parent);?>
                <ul>
                	<li><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" title="Permanent Link to <?php the_title(); ?>">Home</a></li>
                    <?php wp_list_pages("depth=1&title_li=&sort_column=menu_order&child_of=".$thispage); // display the sub pages of the current page only ?>
                </ul>
            <?php } else { // if there are no sub pages for the current page ?>
            	<?php $parent_title = get_the_title($post->post_parent);?>
                <ul>
                	<li><a href="<?php echo get_permalink($post->post_parent) ?>">Home</a></li>
                    <?php echo wp_list_pages('title_li=&child_of='.$post->post_parent.'&echo=0'); ?>
                </ul>
            <?php } ?>

This outputs the micro-site menus correctly, on each level as:

Home - Floorplans – Local Area – Gallery

Without the other pages appearing. Phew!

The two different methods for outputting the “Home” link are explained thus:

1. If you’re on the intro page (eg. Property 1) – you just need the link to point to itself, so just use the current page’s permalink.
2. If you’re on a subpage (Floor Plans, Local Area or Gallery) you need to link back to that post’s parent.

Hope this is useful.

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Dear Windows, it’s over…

Dear Windows,
There’s no easy way to say this – we’re finished. We’ve been together for 16 years now and to be honest, I’m sick of you. And it’s not me, it’s you.

You just haven’t been meeting my needs lately – I’ve tried to let you know, I’ve begged for a reaction from you, but you’re just not responding.

I’m sorry, but it’s just not working anymore. You can try searching for a solution to the problem, but we both know you’ll get nowhere.

Why even pretend you know what you’re doing. God knows, you seem to be active enough, I’ve just no idea what you’re up to half the time. And when I suggest we do something together, you’re always too busy doing your own thing.

So, you can beg me, you can come back with that fancy new dress you’ve got, but it ain’t happening I’m afraid.

I’ve met someone else. She’s smart, responsive, looks fantastic, and is great at getting up in the morning. More importanly, she allows me to be smart too, and keeps up with me every step of the way.

So, goodbye Windows, we had a good time, but that was long ago and if I’m brutally honest I think you need help, seriously.

Bye…

dEar USer
WHAt aboUt AdoBE CrEAtive SuiTE 5 - that COst you £1700.00 - we'LL ALwayS havE THAT won'T we?
LoVE WinDOWsxxx

Dear Windows,
Shit, I’m so sorry, I’ve been a fool. Please come back!

————————————————-

Ever felt trapped by a software purchase? I’ll give it another couple of years….

 

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Love and Marriage

Been very busy of late working on a few sites for other agencies in our technical outsourcing capacity, but have also managed to roll out a few of our own.

First up was another WordPress site for JR Chaircovers & Bows, a supplier of wedding chair covers in East Lothian. The site features a sash colour chooser, which thanks to the magic of WordPress custom posts, was a breeze to setup.

Janice had received her first enquiry before the site had even gone live at the proper URL, so it’s looking good!

After the site went live, Janice said:

“Craig from 45b provided me with an amazing website which included everything that I asked him for. He was very professional, patient and helpful throughout the whole process. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to anyone looking for a website.”

Seems to be wedding season as we’ve also had enquiries from wedding caterers, and we’re just putting the finishing touches to a new site for The Hub, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, one of Edinburgh’s most stunning wedding venues. This should be launching soon.

Enquiries have been coming in thick and fast, and the schedule is looking pretty packed for the coming months. Forthcoming work includes a new site for Garvald Edinburgh, who provide accomodation and support services for adults with disabilities. We’re aiming to launch this in October.

In other news, we’re upping sticks and moving into an office soon. So you’ll be able to pop round for a biscuit and a cuppa. A coffee machine is top of the shopping list. More details to follow…

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New EU “Cookie Law” – is it going to crumble?

You may have read about the new EU Cookie law that’s coming into effect this Saturday (26th May). The law states that cookies are only allowed on your site if a user expressly consents to their use. Fail to do that, and – believe it or not – you could be staring down the barrel of a hefty fine.

Does your site use cookies? If your website has a customer area, shopping cart, forum, advertising, Facebook “like” button (or any other Social Media sharing buttons) or Google Analytics installed, then the answer is “Yes”. What does this mean? Well, according to the Information Commissioners Office, who are tasked with enforcing the regulations, you could be faced with a £500,000 fine. Yes, read that again, half a million quid, for failing to add a popup consent box to your website!

The implications of this “fundamentally unworkable” law are immense, as they’re effectively criminalising 90% of UK websites. The law is an ass, they say, and this one is a doozie – it’s been described as a classic example of a law being created by clueless bureaucrats about something they just don’t understand.

Sounds scary doesn’t it? Hang on though, before you start panicking – if you’re a small business owner then it’s highly unlikely you’d be prosecuted, as the law is probably targeting the big guns. That’s not to say that it should just be ignored though, so it’s probably a good time to get in touch if you’d like us to audit your site and come up with a solution. This will take the form of a popup/sliding panel on your site asking for the users consent to store cookies (see the 45b homepage for an example). The result of this will be stored in the only method available, ironically, a cookie. So by obeying the law, you have to potentially break the law. See what I mean about being unworkable!?

If you’d like an audit of your site’s compliance, just get in touch - the solution is relatively low-cost, but the alternative – if the law stands – doesn’t really bear thinking about.

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