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The internet’s come a really long way over the past few years, especially for webmasters and developers. In terms of web hosting in particular, it’s progressed from WYSIWYG website builders to shared hosting to fully-fledged dedicated servers being used and run by those creating the sites. In short, we’ve seen a massive progression in the way in which we web developers prepare our websites for the users.
Over the past couple of years, ‘the cloud’ has become a more commonplace term and developers are quickly migrating to these smart cloud hosting platforms (the stuff that the cloud really is) to ensure that their websites are protected against massive spikes in traffic and popularity of their websites. Apps like Heroku have meant that Rails developers have a way of ensuring that this isn’t a problem, but if you’re one of the many PHP developers looking to take advantage, you’ll find that the available providers of cloud hosting are limited and it’s incredibly hard to find one that manages everything in a user-friendly way.
In this review, I’ll be taking a look at Pagoda Box – an app that I believe does cloud hosting right. Packed with some incredible tools and a beautiful interface to boot, it can be a very interesting addition to any developer’s toolbelt. Interested? Read on to find out more about this rare gem.
For a while now, GitHub has been running a service called GitHub Pages. Based on Jekyll, GitHub Pages allows for the creation of websites as either standalone sites or to accompany code projects on GitHub. This is great, but adding new pages is a little tricky unless you’re a seasoned Git pro.
That is where Prose comes in. Once you’ve authenticated your GitHub account, Prose lets you edit existing text files and create new ones ready for Jekyll to convert them to HTML. Prose is geared towards the creation of new Jekyll pages in the Markdown format. Markdown, if you’re unfamiliar, is a simple type of markup language designed to be both easy to learn and to convert to well-formed HTML.
The question is, do Prose and GitHub make a good enough team to displace more traditional website backends?
Allow me to open this article with a quote from the 2010 movie The Social Network that still sticks quite vividly in my mind:
“If those servers are down for even a day, our entire reputation is irreversibly destroyed! Users are fickle, Friendster has proved that. Even a few people leaving would reverberate through the entire userbase.”
If you operate a web service, uptime is vital. Even more vital, however, is knowing when your services go down so you can take action.
SiteLog is a web app designed to help you monitor the uptime of your websites and/or servers, very simply. By just typing in an address and choosing which service you want to monitor, you can easily checkup on the website’s current status, as well as that of it’s HTTP, FTP, IMAP, and more, no installation required.
Trying to get valuable advice from your site audience can be a tricky process. You’ll always hear from your users when they encounter a problem on your app or disagree with something you’ve written, but you’ll seldom hear people telling you what you’re doing right. Something as small as your ad placement or text size might be bugging them, but they won’t ever think to tell you, and you’ll have no way of knowing they need help.
WebEngage is an app that can help you actually start the conversations you need with your customers through more detailed contact forms and targeted surveys. It won’t instantly make your site better, but might get you started knowing more of what your audience needs and how you can make your site better. And that is something we all need.
Building a new WordPress theme can be a daunting task. Far from just creating a basic HTML and CSS template, you’ve got use PHP, dig into the WordPress codex to find cryptic ways to access core functions, and create plugins to make your theme tweakable. It’s usually just easier to head to ThemeForest or your favorite WordPress theme site and buy a theme.
That’s why our own writer Joe Casabona just wrote a new book: Building WordPress Themes from Scratch. Published by Rockable Press, part of our own parent company Envato, this book helps you learn how to create your own WordPress themes, even if you’ve never created a theme before. Let’s take a look and see why you might want to check out this book.
You’ve probably encountered a time when a service you want to use is unavailable, and it’s frustrating. In fact, just the other day I wanted to get in a little bit of Minecraft, but with their login servers down, it was impossible. Similar downtimes have crippled a number of popular services, making the most headlines when it’s something involving email. With generic failure messages, it’s difficult for the end user to diagnose: is it a problem on my end, or is it something I’m unable to solve?
Enter the status website. Lots of services have them, including Twitter, Google and Apple. They act as a destination for troubled users to head to in order to diagnose a problem, or check whether maintenance is in progress. While it’s something you can probably knock off yourself, OffsiteStatus is a simple, but useful, web app that generates a site status page to send your users to. Let’s see how it can make your life simpler by giving you a separate hosted service for letting your users know how your website’s working. (more…)
Creating websites can be fun, but web development can easily scare beginners away. Last week we reviewed Weebly, a web app that makes developing a web site dead simple even for absolute beginners. Even being the great service that it is, though, most developers frown upon it for one simple reason: it does not speak their language.
More often than not, you’ll find the developers and the rest of your team at loggerheads for the same reason: the devs want geeky tools, and everyone else wants a solution that’s simple to use without touching code. Is there a solution that can be used by both developers and content managers at the same time without frustrating either group? That’s what Spinto is all about: an app that brings developers and the rest of your team together.
At this time of age, web presence is really critical for your business. Whether you are a florist or running a pet store, nothing sets your apart more than a beautifully crafted website. You’ll be able to reach customers far outside of your normal customer base, and better engage your existing customers.
But web development involves a steep learning curve, and could easily scare beginners away. You can hire a professional developer to do the chores, but that can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Is there any simple yet inexpensive way that makes it easy? That’s exactly where Weebly comes in.
Website creation nowadays can be a slightly gruelling task, especially given the demands on web designers and creators to produce high-quality, professional-looking and intuitive websites. Often with these kind of sites there is a steep learning curve as CSS, HTML5, and even Flash in some ways play huge roles in modern websites and I’m sure everyone knows that learning these coding scripts isn’t an easy task.
There are plenty of programs that will help you design a site without too much input (or too many hours poring over HTML and CSS for Dummies). Now, you can even design a website without having to leave your browser. One of these apps is called Breezi and it couldn’t be any easier to use.
Let’s delve straight into it.
If you manage websites, you know how important it is to keep your content fresh and up-to-date. It’s also crucial to guide your users towards your new content, without marring the site design and experience you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating. Pop-ups and banners are distracting and so 2003. Is there a way to grab your users’ attention while being subtle about it?
Consider Digital Telepathy‘s Hello Bar. It’s a customizable bar that positions itself at the top of your website and displays messages, links or even data from RSS feeds. You can use it to promote new products or services in your online store, announce the launch of a new section on your blog, display tweets from a live event or anything else you want your users to see. Will it work for your site? Let’s deploy our own bar and find out.