Digbyswift is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire offering web and digital solutions. With over a decade of experience in corporate and agency web development, Digbyswift can meet and support your requirements, whether it be MVC or web forms development, Umbraco, bespoke CMS build and maintenance, ecommerce, SEO and Google analytics or even client training. Read more ...

Why fight it? Apache, PHP, MySQL aren’t going away

By Digbyswift at December 10, 2010 16:26

I don’t understand why so many .Net developers are averse to dipping into the world of PHP. I can only imagine that they’ve spent so much time learning .Net, they think why bother opening Pandora’s box? Why start learning something new?!

Well, as far as I see it, one of the advantages of many of the applications built around the LAMP/WAMP/XAMPP stacks is that they don’t require massive modifications, if at all. Many are open source, and “free” pleases management.

Of course one of the dangers is that if you give the management a free option, then they will expect this option to be pushed out to the client each time. In this scenario, if you don’t want to work with the xAMP stack, you’ve essentially put yourself out of a job. Oops.

In truth, the free xAMP option is the quick win option and has to be balanced up against the clients requirements. Provided a client has no Microsoft-based requirement but they want a blog-style site or ecommerce site here are two options:

wordpress-27-new-dashboard Firstly there is WordPress. It took me their promised 5 minutes to install it and most of that was extracting and copying files. What you get with WordPress is looks amazing and to set up a site with a new theme takes no effort at all.

Also, I have a little experience in an ecommerce platform called Magento. This is an open source project but the functionality available out of the box is astounding. The front-facing store it provides has two very flexible themes to choose from and is set up to display and search for products already. The admin area however is incredible. It not only looks great but delivers an amazing set of functionality and customisation.

I remember the first install I ever ran. I installed XAMPP, and installed a fully working Magento site and admin in less than 30 mins. Tweaking the CSS of one of the initial themes to make it your own would take a couple of days maybe. Pratting about mostly.

Ok, admittedly, creating a skin from scratch is a nightmare (like a 2 month nightmare) but adapting an existing one is easy.

I can be a complete snob when it comes to application servers and databases but I forget that free doesn’t always mean crap.

Image LazyLoad plugin for jQuery

By Digbyswift at August 05, 2010 04:19

The Lazy Load plugin has to be one of the best jQuery plugins I’ve seen yet. For image heavy sites, it will certainly take the edge off loading times.

Its really easy to implement too. You obviously need a reference to the jQuery library and a reference to the LazyLoad library:

<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery-1.4.1.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.lazyload.mini.js"></script>    

You then need the following javascript code to call the LazyLoad routine:

$(document).ready(function() {
    $(function() {
        $("img").lazyload({
            placeholder : "../images/grey.gif", 
            threshold : 50,
            effect: "fadeIn"
        });
    });
});

The example above will fade any images in within 50px of the page fold.

Nice.