A website dedicated to Shrewsbury which has gone from strength to strength over the past two years, has won Silver at this years Mayor of Shrewsbury awards in the business category.

Love Shrewsbury, the popular local news website operated by Pete White of web-development business The Web Orchard, was presented the award by current Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Jon Tandy.

The website has grown considerably since its initial inception and offers visitors the opportunity to gain quality magazine style news content that’s local but most importantly interesting and informative. Pete believe the Mayor’s award is a great symbol of the recognition that the Love Shrewsbury site has achieved a popular following across the town.

Speaking of their award, Pete said “We're thrilled to have recognition for the hard work we've put into the project over the past two years, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in setting up the business and launching the website.”
 
In addition to news content, Love Shrewsbury provides blogs from local people - covering areas such as recycling, fashion and charity news.

After appearing on last weeks Above & Beyond Group Therapy the chilled out progressive tunes of Shingo Nakamura have been some of my favourite. 

If you're in any doubt check out this mix:

All New ImAFish

By Pete | @kingpetey | 27 Apr 2014

It's been almost five years since I last redesigned ImAFish, a lots changed in that time, the Internet has responsive design, I'm married and have a baby. 

ImAFish is still going strong but it was time for a refresh. The new ImAFish is responsive, a good proportion of our traffic is now from mobile & tablet devices so it made sense to target these.

The sites backend is now Drupal 7, its not been an easy migration, even for a relatively basic Drupal 6 site however as we've previously upgraded from a Drupal 5 installation there was a lot of technical baggage.

I've taken inspiration from a number of modern news sites including Medium and Quartz, the readabilty and simplicity of both these sites was a big factor in some of my decisions in the new ImAFish.

The new design uses the Sculpt framework provided by Heart Internet.

The web development arm of Shrewsbury based IT firm Information Solutions Limited has donated a new website to the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings. The site showcases latest news and media from the Friends as well as its background and history.

Built using the Drupal 7 content management system the Friends have the ability to manage all the content and media on the site through the web browser. The new site stands them on a much stronger foundation for the future and will help in their fund raising and project promotion efforts.

There have been a number of sets backs in the buildings construction work since Christmas however the Friends are still pushing forward and are hopeful that with English Heritage taking charge that the work will commence soon.

Managing Director of Information Solutions Limited, Nathan Bensley-Edwards commented “We’re keen to support local groups and the Flaxmill Maltings project has an especially strong cultural significance to the town. We have close ties with the area with our office only being a short walk away and a number of employees living close to the development.”

Formed in August 2010, the Friends aim to promote the conservation, preservation and restoration of the buildings known as the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Information Solutions paired with their web consultancy, The Web Orchard, offer world class technology solutions from their offices in Shrewsbury, UK. In 2012 & 2013 the company was awarded a ‘Mayor of Shrewsbury’ award for their outstanding contribution to the community.

The website of the Friends can be viewed at www.flaxmill-maltings.co.uk

For more about The Web Orchard either email grow@theweborchard.com or call 01743 343411.

Smarter Web Development

By Pete | @kingpetey | 02 Mar 2014

Over the past year we’ve significantly changed the way we develop Drupal websites, we’re using newer technologies and more efficient workflows to ultimately achieve better quality websites. Our web team has gone from strength to strength growing to five people plus outside contractors, agencies and partners.

Drush

In February 2013 I attended Drupal Camp London, it was my first Drupal specific web conference and it was fascinating to see how other companies managed similar Drupal workflows as to what we did. One common denominator was the use of Drush, the Drupal command line tool.

Since then we completely changed our setup from developing on shared hosting accounts to developing on our own internal Linux virtual machine. We wrote scripts for setting up development areas using Drush to install Drupal, a base theme and common modules we used. Once the site was then ready to go live we had further scripts for uploading the files and database to whatever hosting the customer wanted to use.

Drush has the added benefits of being able to update modules, it meant that we could quickly and easily test updates before making them live. 

The overall result is that we could very quickly create development areas with up to date modules and any other common assets we use. 

Trello & Basecamp

Project management tools have become essential as we’ve grown and worked closer with external agencies. With services such as OpenAtrium, Trello and Basecamp we can setup projects and assign tasks and tickets between each other. With email you can quickly get into a mess with hundreds of emails but with a project management tool its easy to stay on top of the job.

Creative Cloud

One common theme for a lot of the other web companies I’ve spoken to recently is the uptake of Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ve always been against renting software in this way however I seemed to be in the minority so we finally decided to sign up. It’s a jump I’m glad we made, having access to the same software that our partners use has a lot of advantages and the new tools its introduced us to has helped enhance our workflow further.

LESS

We’ve played with a lot CSS extensions over the past year and finally decided on using LESS. The tools fit in well with our Linux development server and our Drupal workflow.

YAML & Twig

Two of the big changes in Drupal 8 have been making their way into some of our other projects. We’ve been writing custom applications by writing configuration files in YAML and theme files in Twig. It’s given us a great head start for when we start developing Drupal 8 based sites later in the year.

2014

We’re already putting our enhanced skills to work on a number of projects in 2014. If you’re interested in a website from The Web Orchard or working with us then email grow@theweborchard.com or call 01743 343411

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