Published on April 14, 2010 by Steve Thomas in Web Development
It’s like “Fight Club.” You should only consider features if they’re willing to stand on the porch for three days waiting to be let in.
One of my favourite pieces of advise I have heard in the last year or so is that when someone wants you to change something about your product, start with no.
Just because one person asks for a feature, and even if it sounds in theory like a sound idea, it doesn’t make it a worthwhile idea to implement.
Instead you listen for the most frequently suggested features, and apply a filter culling off or modifying anything that deviates from your core product purpose. In other words, you make a feature work hard to be implemented.
This not only works for the frontend design that your clients interact with, but applies all the way down the line to programming and server administration.
A great example of this rule in action is to consider how a firewall should operate – start by allowing nothing, and allow access on a case by case basis, and only when absolutely necessary, allow something through.
As far as programming is concerned, don’t require everything just because you can’t be bothered building a decent function/class loading methodology. Start with nothing, and require additional code pieces as they are needed. It will pay big dividends when your load and application size increases.
I think we can all agree that there is way too much crap “out there” and that making aspects of our projects work hard for implementation ultimately results in a more clear, more simple end product.
It’s such a simple idea its almost stupid, and yet in the software industry at least, adding bloat is easy – producing something truly simple is infinitely harder.
Credit to the authors of Read more
Published on September 30, 2009 by Steve Thomas in Web Development
Using mobiles for just calls and texting is a thing of the past, as a third of Australians now check emails on their handsets and more than 70 per cent access mobile entertainment and information services.
After only getting on the “smart phone” bandwagon recently, I am already starting to get excited about the future potential for mobile internet. This is a relatively new market in Australia and I think is about to blossom.
Think of all the niche opportunities – combining your standard web sites with mobile optimized interfaces, allowing employees / general public to access and change information from anywhere.
Published on April 2, 2009 by Steve Thomas in Web Design, Web Development
If you have never picked up a hammer, would you build your own house?
Having worked in the web industry for the last 5 years or so, I always get a laugh at the DIY website building crowd – that is, people who have no real experience or knowledge in web design, development and web marketing.
I don’t know about you but I would love to have a dollar for every time I have heard “my cousin John can build websites”.
Sure there are dozens of tools that are designed to empower non-technical people into being able to publish their own content – in fact that is the aim of my online auction software and other excellent systems like WordPress. So I don’t mean to create a barrier to entry that non-technical people cannot contribute and thrive online – just don’t try and build the system!
For those who think that they can produce something adequate based on their desktop publishing skills alone (such as Word, Powerpoint) – please consider that the web industry is easily as involved as any other profession, and only true experience can produce results.
In fact I would argue it is more involved that many professions, based on the rate of change, and the vast array of technologies to grasp.
Here is a simple test – if you don’t know the meaning of any term on this list, don’t build a professional website:
- standards compliance
- Server side code
- Client side code
Believe me, this is the tip of the iceberg – the list will double in size as soon as you want a functional website.
Give your business / idea a real shot at success by employing the services of a web professional.
Published on May 29, 2008 by Steve Thomas in Web Development
I would like to address some of the misconceptions about online security. First lets start with some facts.
- 11.3 million Australians access the internet
- 61% of the 11.3 million have shopped online
- The majority of shoppers are aged 35-54
- Around 18% are over 55
- Visa International has found that online credit card transactions make up less than 2.5% of all credit card fraud
- Research indicates online merchants are at less risk than retail merchants of fraud
- 72% of personal information theft occurrs offline
- 50% of all identify theft is committed by friends, family members and neighbours
Sources: Purchasing of Goods and Services via the internet (2006-07) Australian Bureau of Statistics www.abs.gov.au, Visa International, www.ecommercewebsites.com.au
The dangers involved in online payments is generally exaggerated in the popular media and as a result alot of people I talk to are still uncomfortable sharing their credit card details online.
I see the risk break down into two main areas:
The Client Computer
A website and web server can be designed to take all the precautions in the world to protect your sensitive information, but that is only half of the picture. Your personal computer can be infected in ways that can capture your details BEFORE if even reaches the web server. Some general guidelines:
- regularly update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software
- regularly scan your computer for infections
- keep your operating system and software up-to-date
- make your passwords hard to guess, do not use dictionary words, combine letters and numbers
A website can securely communicate with a visitor. The golden rules to securely transmit data are based on encryption and common sense. For example:
- credit card details should never be emailed
- Sensitive information should always be transmitted on a secure connection (SSL)
- Encrypt passwords
… Read more
Published on August 15, 2007 by Steve Thomas in Web Development
I have recently witnessed in some discussions amongst fellow web developers regarding the quality of code of the application; in other words, how well all the behind the scenes stuff is put together.
The knee-jerk reaction for the “smart” developer is to say “we build web software that meets the clients requirements – if it works it works”. While the clients wishes should always be number one priority when developing a web project for them, it is also true that the web developer has the responsibility as a professional to ensure that all security, scalability and adaptability factors have been implemented into the code architecture.
This means that the client should trust the developers judgment – that is what they are paying them to do. A developer who agrees to everything under the sun without a hint of disagreement or at the least “re-working an idea” is not acting in a professional manner. It is the developers job to know what will work and what will not work. This is one aspect of a professional web developer I feel should always be paramount.
The second aspect is quality of code. If you prefer to visualise things (as I do), consider the “quality of code” as the quality of the foundations. For example, consider your website as a house. What if I was to tell you that because of the way your house was built, its going to take 50 hours of man hours to add those renovations instead of 15, because the original architect didn’t make the effort to observe some common practice values of house design, that simplify expansion. If you could go back to square one and start your house from scratch, would you rather the potential of it becoming a mansion by literally slotting in new rooms… Read more
Published on July 18, 2007 by Steve Thomas in Web Development
Thomas Multimedia is embracing the GoPHP5 initiative which aims to get web hosts and php developers alike serious about upgrading to PHP5. Our full range of products will be compatible with PHP5 by the cutoff date of February 5, 2008.
It is time for the hosting and development community to move forward as a whole and keep PHP competitive with alternate languages. PHP5 has been out forever, time to get on board people.
Published on April 10, 2007 by Steve Thomas in Web Development
I see endless possibilities for integrating the internet into all sorts of existing businesses. Indeed, in many cases, business is slowing (or quickly) venturing into the online world, realising the infinite benefits of basing their database online.
Take a conventional video store for example. Clearly they usually run a program on a local PC, that is more-or-less restricted to the physical store. Customers usually will require an individual membership to the various stores of the same franchise, which seems to be mind-numbingly stupid. We all know that disappointing feeling when you’ve made the effort and the movie or game you want is all hired out.
Lets bring the internet into this equation: you have a single membership for one video store chain. You can login to their website, and view the same data that is available to the staff behind the counter regarding what videos are currently available, how much money you owe on your account, or which movies you currently have reserved.
Of course as far as traditional video stores go, they will slowly become obsolete as all such content (movies, games and previews) will be transmitted through the internet, when broadband speeds are faster than jumping in the car and heading to the local movie store.
There are some things that just cannot be done online; for everything else, we can only wait with great anticipation.
Thomas Multimedia has several applications designed to make an easy leap into the online world, or expand on your existing site.
Our Content Management System allows you to update your sites text and images from any internet capable computer with a modern browser in the world!
The Thomas Multimedia Mailing List & Auto-Responder software allows you to take control of your marketing by creating tailor-made emails to send… Read more