Displaying dates using PHP

tomorrow  = mktime(0, 0, 0, date(“m”)  , date(“d”)+1, date(“Y”));
last month = mktime(0, 0, 0, date(“m”)-1, date(“d”),   date(“Y”));
next year  = mktime(0, 0, 0, date(“m”),   date(“d”),   date(“Y”)+1);

Wednesday the 15th =  date(‘l \t\h\e jS’) 
Wednesday = date(“l”)

March 10, 2017 5:16 pm = date(“F j, Y, g:i a”);                
03.10.17 = date(“m.d.y”);                       
10, 3, 2017 = date(“j, n, Y”);                      
 20170310 = date(“Ymd”);                       

 

 

Why upgrade WordPress if it’s working

Lots of customers we work with come to us because they have an outdated website that is based on the WordPress framework, whilst others come to us specifically requesting that we develop their site using WordPress.  Whether the site is an established site or a brand new one.  Making sure you the version of WordPress you’re using is critical to the success of your website.

I’m safe, no one would bother hacking my site.
It’s reasonable for customers to suspect that hackers only target corporate or government websites that handle sensitive financial or customer information such as credit card numbers and personal information. However, this simply is not the case.  Over the years a number of our clients with simple informational websites have been hacked by malicious software. Hackers write code that automatically scans the web and identifies vulnerabilities within websites running older, expired software. 

Sometimes the hackers are only doing it for vanity (look what I can do), other times its so they can use your website to transmit span across the internet using your email accounts. 

In rarer cases, hackers want to hold your website for ransom until you pay them with money – Bitcoin.

If you’re on a shared hosting server, they may be using your site as an indirect access to another site, but causing you disruption in the process

  • Hackers may want access to the server where your website is hosted, and by gaining access to your website, they may be able to extend their hack to the server and all the websites that are hosted on it.
  • Hackers may want to use your web account to send emails or host content hidden from view.
  • Hackers may use your website to promote products or illegal content by hiding links inside your code, even though you can’t see it, it still can boost their content within the web.

What should I do
If you’re using WordPress, it is critical that you keep your core code and plugins up to date. Always update to the newest releases, which often contain security patches.

Of course, this option only works reliably in WordPress as long as any customisation to the website theme or core functions was conducted by a competent WordPress practitioner.  If they simply hacked updated onto your website, upgrading to the latest version of WordPress, without backing up your code could be the worst option.

WordPress is built to alert you when updates to the cored (minor & major) updates are available.  It also provides this advice for its plugins.

Automated Plugins
For some people, being told that an upgrade is available is not enough.  They may be time poor or simply not interested.  Luckily there are free plugins to help with  hate

Easy Update Manager
There is also a very powerful plugin that allows you to automate the backup process.  The plugin lets you choose which plugins you do not want to update automatically.

UpdraftPlus Backups
This free plugin allows you to schedule backups of your website and offers you the opportunity to automatically back up your files and databases locally or externally (Dropbox, Amazon etc…..).

 

Why we don’t offer standard prices

Lots of companies publish the price and breakdown of their website design/development packages.
You’ve seen them before, Gold, Silver & Bronze packages, $500, $2,000, $5,000.

This can be reassuring for customers for whom price is the most important component of the job.  These clients feel comfortable knowing what they have to pay upfront, even if they have very little idea of what they actually need for their individual business.

But this model only really effective for the designer if there is a fixed number of design concepts, fixed number of pages and images.  If the numbers aren’t fixed the point between profit for designer and expectation of the customer can be very strained.
But what happens if the customer wants social media integration or search engine optimisation.  Who pays for that, the designer as an ‘expected’ feature of a package or the customer who must put their hand back into their pocket.

In our industry, we can’t offer fixed price solutions because all projects differ.  We can assume all projects will have a common fixed base of requirements, homepage, 5 content pages, 8 images, a contact form, but what else might be required.  What happens to the client who requires 200 pages and images.   How about if the client wants contact emails to be saved to a database or integrated into Mailchimp.  And of course what about the customer who wants ten revisions of pages because detailed requirements weren’t extracted early on.

Companies who offer fixed priced packages fall into a few categories. 
Those who are new to the industry and don’t know how to price their work.  These groups often find they have under priced their projects and it affects their ability to deliver the quality solution their customer expects.
Another work exclusively around free design templates for WordPress.  For this group ‘close enough is good enough’.  This mentality might be due to the fact they need to make a  profit on cheap packages or because they don’t know how to do any better.

Bear in mind, you don’t go to a doctor and expect a fixed price outlook to your condition nor can you expect a plumber to give you a set price on a job they haven’t worked on yet.

We fully understand how comfortable it is for clients to know how much they can expect to pay for a project before they start.  We are also aware that we are the experienced party in the exchange and we are expected to be able to let customers know as early as possible in the initial conversation what we expect the final price to be.
To give a realistic price requires understanding what the customer needs, what their ultimate objective is and what price we need to offer the solution at so we can make a profit.

Give us a call, let us explain it in more details.

jquery conflicts – how to avoid

For those scripting developers who enjoy the flexibility of using jQuery to deliver front end solutions to their website users.

One common obstacle from developers who like to incorporate scripts from third parties are instances of on jQuery conflicts that cause the scripts to misfire or not run at all.

What tends to happen is that the original developer created their script in isolation.  Working in isolation and focusing on their task, they overlooked the fact that one day their script would be used in a setting that supported multiple jQuery scripts.

Because they were working in isolation, they referenced the jQuery session with a default of ‘$’
ie…    $(document).ready(function(){

Working in their own lab, this is fine, but if the next or previous script writer also used the same ‘$’ reference, both scripts will conflicit and stop working.

The work around
Give each individual session a unique name…. NOT ‘$’ 

var jq = $.noConflict();
jq(document).ready(function(){
    jq(“button”).click(function(){
        jq(“p”).text(“jQuery is still working!”);
    });
});

WordPress – Why not to use it.

WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) in the world with a market share of 20% of all websites on the internet.

However, here are a number of reasons why not use it.

Security & hacks
Because of it’s popularity, WordPress is routinely targetted by hackers.  Often people say that’s not important to because no one would want to hack my site.  But hackers target vulnerabilities in exactly your type of website because they aren’t regularly maintained.  Once compromised, your website is used to send spam across the internet.  WordPress is extremely vunerable unless regularly maintained.

Inconsistent Programming 
WordPress have a very mature development framework, however there is nothing to stop developers adapting their own approach at every level.  This has two negative consequences.  It becomes extremely difficult to manage code if you can’t anticipate where the developer is making their coding updates, especially if you have more than one developer working on a project.  And if developers are not following the established development framework you application is likely to fail after the next major core WordPress update.

Plugins
One of the best features of WordPress is the availability of a massive library of free or commerical plugins.
There are two drawbacks to this.  Not all plugins compliment each other and installing one plugin can disable another, causing significant development time fixing the issues.
Second drawback is that because a free plugin may offer 90% of what you want, people often settle of sub standard solutions without asking what it would cost to have their actual requirement delivered as desired.

Availability of developers
Not all developers are created equally.  WordPress is free, it’s plugins are free and there are tons of tutorials on Youtube to help you get development started.  However at it’s core, WordPress has a mature framework for ‘correctly’ developing applications.
Few ‘competitively priced’ contractors have been trained properly to develop applications using the framework.  The net result is you hire a developer who gets their task done on time and to a low budget.  However, that developer didn’t comply with the framework, so unless you rehire them, the next developer (experience or not) will have to learn what the previous developer did before last time before they can begin to look at your next project.

 

WordPress – 5 reasons why you should use it

Here are some of the top reasons for using WordPress as the Content Management System (CMS) for your next website project.

Popularity
WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world.  Roughly 20% of all websites build use it’s development platform. As a result, many users are already familiar with the WordPress CMS, requiring less staff training when building a new site.

Open Source (Free)
At the most basic level the product absolutely free.  You don’t even need hosting to get started as it can be hosted on it’s free shared hosting platform.  There are tons of plugins to extend it’s capability for free and there are thousands of free design templates to get you started immediately.

Development Framework
For those who want to dig below the surface and develop their own unique design templates or application, WordPress offers a development approach that if followed correctly, ensures their applications will be speedy and will continue to operate successfully through successive core upgrades.

Simple to use
WordPress was initially designed as a simple blog posting tool.  As such, if all you want to do is post a blog, it’s simple to use straight out of the box.  As the application developed in a CMS that was suited it more complicated projects it’s developers stayed true to the original administration environment.  This means that it’s as easy to use the fully featured rich CMS as it was to use the original simple Blog.

Low maintenance costs
Because it’s a mature product, incremental upgrades are simple to implement.  In fact automated updates can be set up so that the core files are always up to date.  And, because of it’s popularity its easy to find trained designers and developers at competitive prices.