It’s been a busy year at The Web Orchard, we’ve worked for a lot of companies, charities and agencies. Here are some of the projects we’ve been involved with that we can talk about:
One of our showcase projects of the year has been for the World Bank, the website we developed helps promote private sector development within Iraq. We worked closely with the PSDC staff from the World Bank complex in Baghdad to develop a Drupal 7 based website in both English and Arabic. We provide training and ongoing support for the project.
Friends of the Earth - Shrewsbury Green Guide
The Shrewsbury Green Guide is a directory of local organisations that provide environmentally friendly products and services. We designed and developed a Drupal 7 based website and provided training so that the volunteers could easily manage the website.
Mowgli provide mentoring throughout the UK and MENA (Middle East North Africa) regions. We developed their website in a phased approach throughout 2013. The sites striking design and use of Drupal’s custom content types and views has made it one of our favourite projects of the year.
We’ve worked with AAIB for a number of years and in 2013 we assisted them with updating their website with their latest branding.
Our second project for the trade union Unison has seen us build the website for our local branch. Communicating with their members was one of the key goals to the site.
Spreading our work even further than the Middle East, Visible Recovery based in Australia help people overcome addiction problems. We developed the responsive WordPress website to help attract patients to their Adelaide based treatment centre.
Our Love Shrewsbury site has gone from strength to strength in 2013 and we’ve been busy developing and tweaking it’s features. We went for some ground breaking ways to display our monthly archives that have been a huge hit with our visitors.
We’ve been heavily involved with ShropGeek this year, helping organise (R)Evolution conference in September and taking parts in a hack day in March.
What’s in store for 2014
We’ve recently become involved in iPhone/Android app development, and with a couple of projects on the horizon it looks to be an interesting area in the new year.
The top discussion at both Drupal Camps we’ve attended this year has been Drupal 8; expected to be released sometime next summer, it is an interesting and highly anticipated overhall to a rock-solid framework that we are looking forward to tackling in the new year.
Lots more projects
We have several big projects in the pipeline for 2014 which promise to be both challenging and rewarding.
To find out more visit www.theweborchard.com or call 01743 343411
It?s a well-known fact that I can?t get enough of playing Civilization 3 so when the add on pack Play the World was released it was a must purchase. I had already heard mixed reviews from Gamespy slating the multiplayer features but I thought I would give it a try.
My first impressions were good when taking a quick look through the manual while the game was installing. There seemed to be quite a few new features including new races, new technology and new functions. However once I loaded up the game and started a single player game I was a bit disappointed about the lack of new in game features, there were many changes to units such as workers and there are plenty more scenarios but playing Play the World didn?t seem as much different as I expected from playing Civilization 3.
The next area I tried to was play an online multiplayer game, this took quite a while to connect and establish a game. I thought the interface was nice and the game got going a lot quicker then I expected considering how long it would take you to do a normal civilization 3 game. The game lasted for a couple of hours before my opponent left suddenly, I presume because of a computer crash.
This is a game that is cannot be played on a dialup especially if you get cut off every 2 hours, you also need a lot of patience to get a good game going online. Its still early days for playing Civ 3 online and im sure a lot more people will still want to buy the game.
Overall I thought civ3 needed a lot more features on the single player side however if you like the idea of playing civ3 online then go for the game otherwise spend a few minutes downloading some patches from the net.
[Last edited on December 29, 2002 at 9:43:02pm by epytotorp]
I've been developing web sites using Drupal for over 18 months now, for me the flexibility and modules available for Drupal make it the best and quickest way to develop a website. Here are some of my top tips:
1. If you want to edit the layout of the site maintenance page you can find the CSS file in misc/maintenance.css.
2. After I have installed Drupal I first enable clean URLs then enable the path module. This means I can build basic SEO in from the start. If building a blog or articles based site I like to use the path auto module to automatically specify the URL.
3. When designing a site I like to build it in Dreamweaver first, then I copy the PHP template tags in from another template (often bluemarine). In the past I would customise the garland theme however there was a lot of extra CSS that I would often remove.
4. To create a template for an individual node type create a file in your template directory called node-nodetype.tpl.php where nodetype is the node type. (ie node-story.tpl.php for a story node).
This is really useful for customising individual nodes especially when using CCK and the views module. For instance I recently built a ticket support system for a company, by integrating a view into the company node you could immediately see the open tickets for that company.
//load the view by name
$view = views_get_view('view ticket');
//output the top three items in the view with the node title as an argument
print views_build_view('embed', $view, array($node->nid), false, 3);
The above code is for inserting a view into a node - more in the views documentation.
5. When first developing a theme I change the administrative theme to Garland or Bluemarine so that I can still access all the administration sections in order to enable menus, blocks, CCK and other configuration options.
6. In Drupal 5 a top border is added to tables. If this messes up your theme edit modules/system/system.css and comment out or remove line 18 ( border-top: 1px solid #ccc; ).
7. The TinyMCE module allows you to turn a text area into a WYSIWYG editor giving you formatting options such as bold, italic, underline, text direction, links and images. The module IMCE adds image upload and resizing support to TinyMCE.
9. If you enable a lot of modules you may get php memory errors, to fix this add:
to the sites/default/settings.php file. You may also have to do this on the pages that have the errors to.
I usually add it after the other ini_set variables in the settings.php file.
10. When developing I like to have the cache disabled, once the site is ready to launch I will set it to normal mode. The same goes for aggregating and compressing CSS files.
11. When having to create user profiles I use the node profile module along with the CCK (content construction kit) module rather than the profile module included with Drupal as default. CCK gives you a lot more flexibility and there are many more customization options. Also by making a profile a node you can theme it easier (see #4).
12. In Drupal 5 you can specify a default front page from the site information page however an easy way to create different front pages for authenticated and non authenticated users it to use the front page module.
With the sale of Digg.com last week it seems like the end of an era, a site which before Reddit, Facebook and Twitter is where I spent a lot of time online. A site where ImAFish got its first big break into mainstream blogging.
Digg 'died' a couple of years ago with the failed launch of v4 sending many of the users to Reddit however I would say a lot of my success on Digg back in 2007 has motivated me to keep blogging today and has been crucial in the work I do on other blogs including Iraq Business News and more recently Love Shrewsbury.
It's always sad to see such a key website lose its way but without Digg (and many of the concepts behind the site) the Internet would be very different today.