Website Service Advisory


We are upgrading

Upgrading to provide a better service

NOTICE OF POSSIBLE WEBSITE INTERRUPTIONS!

Starting on the 15th of July 2011, we are embarking on several projects which may affect the availability of our website www.graphicline.co.za

The main part of this project includes:

  • Re-configuring the server for MySQL and PHP content  (Completed)
  • Installing Drupal for development purposes (Completed)
  • Installing WordPress for development purposes

We expect the process to be fully completed and tested before the 30th of the month. During this time there may be periods when the website will be off-line, and visitors may experience 404 “page not found” and other errors.

We extend apologies in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

Relevant noticfications will be posted on this (Graphiclineweb) site.

During research conducted over the past several days, several technical items have been highlighted which can cause a problem or two when installing these applications on a live HTML based website. The company, Afrihost, which provides our hosting solution has been notified of this planned installation and agrees there may be a few things to sort out. They have committed their support should it be required. (I would prefer to get the whole thing working myself – what can be learned from having someone else do it for you?) and an associate, a Linux/Unix programmer will also be available if needed.

REASONS FOR CHANGE:

IN-HOUSE WORKFLOW:

As Graphicline moves into the second decade of the 21st century, we need to streamline our workflow processes. Importantly, non-productive time needs to minimised and paid-for production time maximised. We could go the route of increasing admin staff, which would also significantly increase operating costs, or we can look to more efficient methods of utilising existing resources. At the same time, being a small business enterprise, we do not wish to invest heavily in dedicated proprietary systems.

One of our stated goals is to move our operation purely on-line, dispensing with time consuming telephonic communication to the greatest extent possible. To a certain extent, we have already started down this road; in our DTP operation, we require all work related communication to be via e-mail. Some years ago we started enforcing this policy to put an end to “I asked for b to change to e” when the telephonic instruction was “Please change a to c”. E-mail provided a record of requirements, and has been largely successful in eliminating confusion and arguments with clients, saving us a lot of time and money, while keeping customer relations smooth.

Additionally, we find a growth of enquiries from clients outside of our traditional capture area. Business is coming from all corners of South Africa, as well as from other countries.

To this end we intend to implement:

  • A system which will allow both new and existing customers to order new work, track the workflow, request changes and so on. While existing ERP solutions e.g. SAP Business One would  fulfil many of the requirements, these are extremely expensive (SAP costing more than $135000.00!)
  • A system for customers to register as a user
  • A file upload system for registered customers. The existing system makes use of 3rd party utilities, and we want to bring the process under our umbrella
  • A more centralised business platform for our network of contributors to collaborate and share work in progress
  • Eventually, a basic secure e-commerce type online payment system

NEW BUSINESS PRODUCTS:

We have over the past 9 months undertaken preliminary steps in creating a number of ambitious web (and print) products, and these have now moved from concept to demonstration for marketing purposes. An example similar in concept can be found in our DTP samples for the print support: Printers Contacts Directory, and an early concept demonstrator at Intellibiz Product Concept Demo. These projects are Business to Business advertising products, one for a specific niche market, the other for general business.

The websites will have features which allow advertisers to maintain a certain level of their own content, a subscribers section, newsletters’ RSS feed, forum, and more. At least one of the products will also have support in the form of a printed publication.

Our immediate plan is to create a working example of the website, and  a number of companies are willing to participate by placing content. We hope, that come launch day, we will have a fully developed site that can be transferred to its own Drupal logodomain with minimal disruption. The development site will probably consist of more than 300 static pages, 100 blog type news feed sections, with possibly another 100 for special offers and latest product features, at commercial-launch:- trying to maintain a site of this size and complexity using my trust HTML application, Dreamweaver, and with minimal staff, would be a logistical nightmare if not impossible; given we have other business functions that will require attention as well. (never mind keeping this blog going!) Hence we will be trying Drupal (and possibly other solutions too) for these sites.

Since using WordPress.com for this news blog, I have come to really enjoy WordPress logothis outstanding content manager, however I feel another cms may be more suitable to the nature of the intended sites:- with the requirement for a more conventional website structure, contributors and subscribers accounts with differing restrictions, and more static content than posts.

If anyone has created a site of this nature using WordPress (self hosted) I would really like to hear from them, and view the site.

Once again we extend apologies for any inconvenience experienced during this period.

Mike

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About Mike

Web Developer and Techno-geek Saltwater fishing nut Blogger

Posted on July 9, 2011, in Projects In Progress, Websites, WordPress and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. And the basic set up is working now… slow and not-cached at this time http://graphicline.co.za/dru/