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Has Your Content Expired?

Posted on: 8/18/2008 11:06:01 AM under DMXReady » Product Tips 
There is an interesting paradox on the Internet. On the one hand, it is absolutely the best medium to handle new content or "breaking news." You can have a volcano erupt somewhere in the South Pacific, and literally within seconds you can let millions of people around the world know about it.

On the other hand, there are websites out there that have not changed their content since 1999, with their FrontPage 1.0 flashing text, moving flames, and psychedelic backgrounds. It's like a cyber time capsule, with little or no relevance to today.

This is an extreme example, but the fact is that many website owners do not keep their content as fresh as it could be. Yes, you can post something that happened a split-second ago. But this usually means getting someone who can upload the images and content. Most web owners do not have the capabilities to do that themselves.

But there is a way to empower website owners: Content Management Systems or CMS allow anyone with basic web skills to create and update their own content. Some systems, like DMXReady applications for example, are easy to install and will have the owner up and running in no time. Then all the website owner has to do is log in through any standard browser, and type new content, upload images and media, even plug in Web 2.0 applications for further functionality.

If you are a web designer, you should consider offering CMS to your clients. Not only does it give them the power to update their own content, but it can bring in more work for you through customizing and installing the software.

Take a look at some of our customizable CMS solutions including the new Online Notebook Manager. And make sure that your website doesn't become a time capsule as well!

The DMXReady Team

Online Notebook Manager - A New Application From DMXReady!

Posted on: 8/14/2008 12:07:39 PM under DMXReady » Product Tips 
As many of you know, yesterday was the official launch of DMXReady's Online Notebook Manager. This revolutionary product gives all sorts of people a powerful self-publishing tool, using the Internet to communicate to their colleagues, customers, and friends easily and effectively.

We've come up with over a dozen uses for this software, from teaching syllabus to group work "tech notes" to employee manuals and help guides. In fact, the DMXReady team used it as a communication tool at one point during its development.

One of its strongest features is that people can use it to leverage other Web 2.0 applications. Once Online Notebook Manager is installed, you don't need HTML editors or FTP programs to add these Web 2.0 gadgets. All it takes to include your Google Calendar, for example, is to create a new page and embed the line of script that Google gives you. Now every change you make to your Google calendar will be automatically updated on that Notebook page!

Online Notebook Manager is also an important step for DMXReady. This app represents the "2.0" version of our applications. With a stronger architecture, more features like AJAX functionality, and a more streamlined approach, Online Notebook Manager is at the vanguard of the new wave of DMXReady applications.

Try out the demo for yourself, if you haven't already. And don't forget to drop us a note to tell us what you think!

The DMXReady Team

Client Service: Get It In Writing

Posted on: 8/7/2008 9:32:45 AM under Web Design » Tips 
Too often web designers -- and many freelancers for that matter -- start work based on a verbal description of the project. Perhaps you chat on the phone or even face-to-face, and the client gives you an outline of what he or she wants from the website.

The problem is, two weeks later when you deliver the first review, the client says "No, no, I want it like this." You can argue all you want (actually, not a great idea...) but the fact of the matter is that you have nothing in writing in front of you to prove one way or another what you had verbally "agreed" upon. And it is not uncommon for the client to forget everything you talked about in that first meeting.

This can mean more work for you (unpaid, if you are working for a project fee), and it can lead to bad feelings and perhaps even a lost contract.

Get it in writing. After a meeting, jot down some notes -- almost like the meeting minutes -- and email your client, along with any other project participants. This way, you are all on the same page. And in two weeks when the client says they need something different, you can at least you have proof of the original specs in writing. Either it will jog the client's memory about the original project, or you'll have a solid basis for charging extra hours to make the changes.

The DMXReady Team

What Designers Need to Know About CMS

Posted on: 8/4/2008 1:07:30 PM under Web Design » Tips 
It is clear that Content Management Systems or CMS is the wave of the future. It is almost inevitable that a system be devised that allows non-tech users to update their own content.

Unfortunately, many web designers are suspicious of CMS, and see it as a threat to their livelihood. Although CMS may change the way we design websites, it will never replace us. Here are three reasons why:

Website Owners Will Still Need Designers to Design the Site

CMS has more to do with Webmastering than web design. This may be obvious when you say it out loud like that, but if more designers focused on this, there would be less stress about CMS systems.

CMS allows content owners to update their own content, but the basic web design still has to be put into place. That includes the site architecture, the graphics, the link structure, and all those other website goodies that only a web designer can provide.

Do You Really Want to Be a Webmaster Anyway?

We have all gotten those calls: "I just need one little change..." Yes, it only takes 10 minutes to fire up Dreamweaver, make the change, and upload to the server. Hardly even worth billing, is it? But those 10-minute jobs add up quickly, leaving web designers frustrated and underpaid.

With a CMS system, your clients can make that own little change themselves. Less hassle for you, and a greater sense of empowerment for your clients. Everyone wins!

You Can Provide the CMS

DMXReady encourages web designers to sell their clients on CMS to cut back on the unpaid Webmastering, as well as the fact that you can increase your income by installing the CMS system.

Let's face it, many of your clients could figure out how to upload an application to their website. But they likely don't want to, and probably don't have the time to do it if they did. They want a "ready-to-go" system that is as easy and painless to use as possible. And they would rather spend the money to get it done professionally than spend the time to figure it out themselves.

The DMXReady Advantage

DMXReady gives you one more crucial advantage -- the flexibility to create your own customized solutions for your clients. Not only are CMS approaches like WordPress and Drupal very specialized, you need a lot of programming experience to make them do what you want to do -- or hope that the right plug-in is out there.

It is much easier to change the HTML and code in ASP, so that you have more control over what you can modify. This leads to a more tailored solution for your clients (not to mention more money in your pockets!)

CMS may certainly be the wave of the future. Embrace that future, and make it yours!

The DMXReady Team


Why You Should Leave Comments in Your Code

Posted on: 7/28/2008 9:32:42 AM under Web Design » Cool Tools 
Commenting on your coding is almost as old as the computer. Even back in the Commodore PET computer days, you could leave comments in your BASIC code to let other programmers (or remind yourself) the function of each section of code.

This is perhaps even more important today, especially for the beginner ASP programmer.

One of the most difficult parts of programming is the debugging phase. As many programmers know, all it takes is one mistake and your whole page can stop working. You need to be able to go back to the code and logically find out what is not working properly.

By leaving detailed comments to yourself, you will be able to track the additions/changes that you made, and make it much easier to find the problem.

Commenting also helps in the future when it is time to modify the script to make changes or to modify for a different usage. You will quickly forget what parts of the code do what; months later, you will likely forget much of your coding. Comments will help jog your memory and ultimately help you make those changes faster.

Happy Scripting!

The DMXReady Team
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