No longer the sole preserve of the “webmaster”—usually somebody in the IT department who felt like taking on the job, or the nephew who was “good with computers”—developing sites and services for the Web has become a serious software engineering discipline. Today’s multi-device websites, or “responsive” as the fashionable nomenclature would have it, are a technical challenge in themselves, and that’s before you consider integration with a CMS (WordPress, Drupal et al.), performance (network optimisation, browser rendering and so on), accessibility (ARIA) and many other issues too numerous to mention.
At Dgtl we take all of these things and many more in to consideration when building websites and associated tools and services for our clients, so you can be assured that the finished product not only looks great, but is also engineered to the highest standards.
We’ve been building WordPress themes and plug-ins for as long as we can remember (well, almost), and it remains a firm favourite with our designers and developers here at Dgtl HQ.
Despite its heritage as a blogging tool, WordPress has gone from strengh to strength in recent years to become a good all-round CMS platform, and is particularly well suited for small to medium sized blogging and marketing sites. The content creating and editing tools are feature rich and user friendly, and in our view are WordPress’ single biggest strength.
We’re also big fans of the Yoast SEO plugin, which is an essential tool for understanding both how your site’s pages will be seen by search engines, and ensuring they are fully optimised for your target keywords.
Frameworks and technologies
We love technology, and particularly as it pertains to the web. On the ‘back-end’, PHP is our language of choice. It has its flaws, but its flexibility and ubiquity beat those niggles hands down. Of course, we’re also keen to keep abreast of the new kids on the block, and although we can’t claim to be Node ninjas or RoR regulars, we’ve become big fans of the Node package management and related front-end tools (Grunt, Gulp, Assemble, Yeoman and Bower to name a few), and several of the more popular Ruby tools (SASS, Jekyll). We’ve also worked with and contributed to some well known front-end frameworks, such as Zurb Foundation and Twitter Bootstrap, so we can hit the ground running if you have an existing “bootstrapped” application that needs some design finesse.
We’re fans of the ‘cloud’, and we’ve used various tools in the AWS ecosystem including EC2, S3 and Cloudfront using their respective APIs. Did I mention that we’re also well versed in the use of Git, Less, Stylus, Greensock and Kirby?
Drupal Vs WordPress
To those unfamiliar with Drupal and WordPress, the difference between the two can often seem insignificant, and the choice between them is often based purely on the personal preferences of the team of developers and designers tasked with building the site. At Dgtl, we believe in choosing exactly the right tool for the job, and that means considering both your immediate and long term objectives when selecting a CMS. We won’t bore you with technical jargon, but we do believe in educating our clients on the range of options available to them, and explaining why we would recommend one choice over another.
Both Drupal and WordPress offer excellent community support, extensive customisation via a very broad range of third party extensions, and a large marketplace of developers, designers and other support professionals. Both platforms offer a range of core functionality which make them a solid choice for a broad range of sites, but they excel in different areas.
When to use Drupal
Although Drupal can also be used for small to medium blogs and marketing sites, it really excels when used as a platform for larger community oriented sites where visitor contribution is a key goal, and features a very comprehensive and granular permissions system that offers far greater flexibility than WordPress. The content creation and editing experience is much simpler than WordPress, but also less feature rich—especially when working with media rich sites that include lots of imagery and video. Drupal, in our opinion, also offers greater flexibility “under the hood”, which is particularly helpful when integrating with third party tools and services.