We use well supported Open Source products to speed development and create stable, consistent applications that meet your requirements.

Drupal. Joomla. WordPress. TikiWiki. MediaWiki. Which content management system is best for me? Every project has a unique set of requirements. WordPress is very user friendly and easy to install, making it a good fit for a simple information-based website. Drupal is supremely flexible and extensible making it ideal social publishing and repository building. Wikis streamline content creation and linking, making them ideal for intranets and online documentation.

The end result is considered first. Before any coding or graphic design is started we sit down with you and your end-users to visualise what the end result might look like. From here we work backwards, devising strategies and selecting appropriate technologies to achieve this. We have over 15 years experience doing this and an excellent track record selecting the best approach for our clients.

Watch it being built and add your content at the same time. The publishing platforms we use cleanly separate the template theme from the content. What this means is that while we are building your web application, you can be entering your content while also watching the look-and-feel come together before your eyes. We create your new site on a separate sub-site so that it does not interfere with your existing website.

Critical evaluation along the way. We create 'ALPHA' and sometimes 'BETA' versions of your web application for critical evaluation. We ask questions like, Does this work for the end-users? Will it be a joy to use? Is it better than what came before it? If the answers are yes to all these we know that we are on the right track.

Individualised training. Before we consider a project to be complete, we like to provide specialised training for clients and/or end-users so that they are confident and comfortable with their new product. During the course of the project we will have worked out the technical capabilities of your organisation and the training will be tailored to be short, sharp and highly relevant. The training slides are designed to also serve as a reference with step-by-step instructions on how to perform everyday tasks.

How do I ....? Sometimes you may be in a hurry and may have forgotten how to do something. We understand that this happens and provide free support for the first month. Feel free to call us for help if you get stuck.

Free software means that we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Open Source software has no licensing fees and you have access to the full source code. What this means is that you are in charge of your own destiny. You can hire other programmers to make the changes you want. You can fix problems in the system immediately and not have to wait for the next software update.

Selecting the right Open Source software is critical though. There are a lot of Open Source products out here. How do you choose the right one? This is where we can help. We have been working with Open Source software for over 15 years and have tested, modified and enhanced many products during this time.

Our approach considers these factors.

1. Developed using the PHP scripting language and MySQL database. PHP and MySQL are stable, well supported and used in many of the best web applications.

2. A flexible architecture that caters for multiple usage scenarios. Every project is unique. Some projects call 'News', 'Updates'; others call 'Subjects', 'Courses'. Another project may need to store extra fields for their staff directory. Being able to customise the software to your needs is essential.

3. Mature with a strong community of support. The discussion forums will give you an idea of the depth of help and how responsive the developers are to bug reports. Have a look at the version number of the product and when the project first started. It's rare for a product to be perfect in it's first few incarnations.

4. Level of technical expertise needed for everyday tasks. A computer science degree shouldn't be required in order to make quick basic changes to the content of a web application. Most publishing platforms support WYSIWYG editors (embedded graphical editors with word processing functionality). The better publishing platforms have a smoother, more intuitive workflow to support the editing process such as revision control, and user protected access to uploaded media. We evaluate Open Source products critically on the user interface design and consistency at all levels, including third party plug-ins. Consistent user interfaces are a good indication of a well run project and also of a well thought out design and architecture.

If you have read or heard about a particular product and would like to get our thoughts, please do get in touch. We would be happy to provide advice where we can.