CodeIgniter is a Model-View-Controller (MVC)-based application development framework. Essentially this means that each element of an application will be split in to three distinct sections – the model, which deals with data structures; the view, which presents everything to the user; and the controller, which serves to tie the models and views together along with processing other required resources such as user input.
The defining concept behind an MVC architecture is to seperate different aspects of the application whist providing a framework to link them together. For example, since these sections will be the focus of the application’s front-end, our design team can be working away on the view components independently of the rest of the project. This enables the development team to construct the back-end (e.g. model sections) without worrying about conflicting with design changes or, conversely, without preventing the design team from working by forcing them to navigate database issues.
This approach leads to more streamlined coding both front and back. It is easy to define flexible model functions that can be recycled by numerous views. Likewise, views can be created with just presentation in mind and dynamic content can be introduced cleanly and simply by a controller. This structure has the added bonus that models and views are only loaded as they are required which helps keep page load times and resource usage to a minimum.
CodeIgniter provides a well-trimmed solution in other areas too. The first bullet-point in CodeIgniter’s official feature list, entitled “CodeIgniter is right for you if…,” states “You want a framework with a small footprint.” And it certainly delivers. The latest version available for download at the time of writing clocks in at just 3.9 MB uncompressed, positively tiny considering the features we are promised as that list continues. The default installation is also minimal: as simple as copying the files to the web server root. The software doesn’t come bogged down with loads of unnecessary code – in fact, no models are provided whatsoever – just a simple welcome controller and view ensure there exists a default index page. These are easily removed and we’re ready to create our brand new application.
A few moments spent with Google will reveal that a myriad of frameworks exist for content management systems (CMSs) available for use in web development. A lot of which are free to use, open source and highly hackable to specific requirements. Indeed, it would be easy to think that for every plausible project a neatly packaged solution already exists and is merely a search away.
Here at eSterling, we often find ourselves facing a unique project that doesn’t fit neatly in to any of these pre-packaged solutions. Data structures cannot always be altered due to compatibility with client software or procedure, design often doesn’t lend itself to the required templating brief, technologies are not always realistically compatible, and many other underlying requirements can be present which mean we have to start from the ground up.
However, even the most bespoke of web development projects requires a solid foundation, a way to structure growth and distribute key features whist ensuring maintainability. The vast majority of projects, no matter how niche, will require basic features such as page generation, form submission and basic database manipulation. Furthermore, these features need to be implemented in a secure and robust way to ensure the integrity of each project whilst simultaneously minimising loading times, bandwidth usage and other strains on resources.
Enter CodeIgniter. CodeIgniter is an open source, application development framework, designed to kick-start projects with a well-designed core of those basic features most sites require. Due to the fundamental nature of the tools provided it will happily exist on a variety of server configurations and requires virtually no configuration out of the box, saving headaches and that most precious of all assets, time. It is lean, modular and essentially, unlike many CMSs, it provides no front-end templates or theme (aside from an easily-deleted example welcome page) ensuring that the “default install” look is avoided.
Over the next few posts we will have a closer look at the feature-set provided by CodeIgniter, focusing on how it fulfils our needs in terms of functionality and security. There are also some areas, whilst by design, where CodeIgniter fails to address reasonably fundamental features that crop up time and again, namely user authentication and site administration, and we will see how to plug those gaps.
If you’re thinking of giving your website some TLC, you can rely on eSterling to help. Whether you are looking for a simple upgrade such as adding a page, or you are looking to completely re-design your site, eSterling has the solution at a competitive price.
Our experienced web designers and developers are always willing to listen to your special requirements and help you get the best out of your project, whilst our dedicated project manager will ensure that the job will be carried out to schedule.
If you are an existing eMarketing customer, our SEO team will be able to advise you of the best solutions to maintain your current rankings. This minimises disruption to your site and keeps the traffic following even when changes are being made.
Contact us today if you need to:
- Add a new page to your website
- Get a blog for your website
- Re-design your homepage
- Re-brand your site
- Add a video upload page
- Upgrade your CMS (content management system)
Call eSterling today on 0121 766 4080 or email email@example.com to get things started.
As each new year arrives we seem to be subjected to a barrage of pressure to change something, to improve some aspect of our lives by torturous or expensive means.
Stop having so much fun and come and buy a sofa!
This year the January sales have been on since November and there are still Quality Streets left in the tin so as far as I’m concerned they can keep their new leaf, I’m staying as I am. And as January continues, so does my penny-pinching. I’m settling down to wait out the winter (with my chocolates) and to see what happens before I make any major purchases.
January is always a tough time for business, we’re all reeling from the pocket-washing that Christmas brings, but it can also be a time to take stock and get those little jobs sorted that you’ve put off all year. While business is quiet get your web site updated, take those photos you’ve been meaning to, write those three pages of content you need refreshing. Get yourself prepared for when the chocolate-huggers like me come out to play and to spend money again.
eSterling are offering a 10% discount on Web Site orders placed before the end of January 2012. If you’d like to refresh a couple of pages, update stock lists or just give your site an early spring clean, get in touch.
Pass the tin, mine are the purple ones…
Start 2012 the right way with a new website from eSterling and get 10% off! We are offering new and existing customers this great discount when they order a new website before 31st January 2012.
Whether you are looking to launch a new product or service, or you just want to upgrade your old site, eSterling can help. We offer professional web design and web development services to provide you with a website that is tailored to suit your business.
To take advantage of this limited period Special Offer, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 766 4080 and quote the code WEB10.
Terms and Conditions
- 10% discount is redeemable on new websites ordered before 31st January 2012.
- One discount is available per client, per website.
Jacques Designer Bathrooms is a long standing eSterling client, having been with us since 2001. Over the past 10 years the web has changed dramatically, but eSterling has ensured that Jacques has been able to move with the times in order to outshine their competitors. The most recent development was put in place last year when Jacques had a new website designed by eSterling.
The new website features a simple layout with the emphasis being on the quality of Jacques Designer Bathrooms’ products and services. The overall function of the website is to be a platform for enquiries, as the bathrooms in which Jacques specialises need to be seen in person at their showroom to be fully appreciated.
To launch the new site an advanced SEO service was put in place to target a wider range of keywords. The work carried out by eSterling has produced excellent results for Jacques as many of the keywords, such as ‘designer bathrooms’, are ranking on page one of Google.
Jacques has also branched out from traditional SEO techniques and have used our press release service to drive traffic to their site. This also gave their rankings a boost, proving that this is a great technique to grow the profile of a business.
Bringing traffic to the Jacques Designer Bathrooms website is important for the development of the company at this stage, as potential customers are sure to want to take advantage of Jacques’ prices on designer bathroom suites and installation.
Managing director David Jacques said that the company’s pricing structure ‘is more competitive than ever’ so now is a great time to order a luxury bathroom. David also commented; ‘eSterling’s ongoing commitment to achieving results for my business has ensured that my site is visible online, even in difficult times for the industry.’
eSterling is looking for a self-motivated, focused and passionate PHP Developer to join our busy Development Department.
The role is ideally suited to a Computer Science graduate (or similar) with a few years experience in developing content managed websites. You should have a keen attention to detail and the ability to uphold your work to the highest standards.
The ideal candidate will be able to slipstream into the team with a minimum of training, bringing their experience into the mix to deliver high quality coding work.
You’ll be working directly with our clients, so being confident in presenting your work and talking in a non-technical manner is a must.
If you’re someone who isn’t deterred by a challenge and has a passion for new web technologies, you’ll fit right in.
We’re looking for someone with the following skills, experience and interest:
• Must be adept at coding PHP to a high standard
• Experience of working with version control systems
• Interest in ‘programming the web’ and web services
• Degree or equivalent in Computer Science (or a related field)
• Experience with ASP.NET/ASP is advantageous but not essential
Call 0121 766 8087 today or email us at email@example.com to grab this exciting opportunity!
CMS stands for Content Management System and is a way of editing your website without the assistance of a web developer.
The key benefit of a CMS is the separation of design, content and structure which allows advantages throughout the lifecycle of your website. Each section can be amended independently, which allows you to change content without jeopardising the front-end design. This separation creates the flexibility of a CMS, allowing the editor to safely create content, add images, multimedia files and much more….
- Consistency of design is preserved.
Because content is stored separate from design, the content from all authors is presented with the same, consistent design.
- Designed with non-technical content authors in mind.
If you can write an email, you can add content to your site! Absolutely no specialist knowledge required.
- Decentralized maintenance.
You can edit anytime, from anywhere with an internet connection
- Configurable access restrictions.
Users can be given certain permissions that prevent them from editing content which they are not authorized to change.
- Navigation is automatically generated and adjusted.
Menus are generated automatically based on the database content meaning links would not point to non-existing pages.
- Content is stored in a database.
Central storage means that content can be reused in many places on the website
Encourages efficient and effective updates.
If you think you would benefit from having a CMS for your website please get in touch for a competitive quote.
In our quest for constructive feedback from our clients, we often come across requests to scale a website down so that the whole page fits within the screen size. When a client asks for their site to appear ‘above the fold’, we always explain that this isn’t such a great idea and I’ll explain why…
New viewing mediums
With the web now extremely prominent on mobile phones and tablets and even HDTVs, the way the site can be viewed will be different on each platform. Users will also have a variety of different resolutions on their monitor and each browsers visible screen size will be different depending on the size of the toolbars. This means there isn’t a specific ‘above the fold’ point where all of the content must be.
Negative impact upon the design
If you scale down a website by around 300 pixels then the design of the site will significantly suffer. The original design will no doubt include plenty of white space around the design so the user can ‘breathe’ when looking through the site and everything is clear and easy to manoeuvre around. However, once that is removed and many of the elements are bunched up, the site will be a lot more difficult to scan and will probably result in the user either not noticing key information or not bothering to explore the site further.
Users are willing to scroll
Research has suggested that although the user will naturally spend more time looking at the top of your website, they are more than happy to scroll down to view more, especially if the site is designed to be scannable. In research carried out by ClickTale.com it found that 76% of users scrolled and that a good portion of them scrolled all the way to the bottom.
White Lodge Promotions is a leading supplier of personalised clothing based inLichfield, Staffordshire. The company offers a wide range of printed and embroidered clothing for work and leisure including everything from branded workwear to hen-night t-shirts.
White Lodge Promotions came to eSterling at the beginning of 2011 for a new website that was clear and modern. eSterling designed a site that reflected White Lodge’s existing branding and showcased their products to the best effect.
Luke Edmonds, from our web design team commented on the design; ‘The scrolling banner on the homepage is an eye-catching way to draw attention to important product types and also highlight the top brands that White Lodge work with,’
eSterling also provides ongoing SEO services for White Lodge, making sure key products such as school leaver hoodies and embroidered work wear are found in the search engines.
Lee Gwinnett, White Lodge’s MD is impressed with the results. He commented; ‘I’m genuinely pleased with the efforts of the team at eSterling. We now have a professional website and I’m looking forward to continually pushing forward with the SEO campaign. I recommend eSterling without hesitation to my business contacts,’
Visit the White Lodge Promotions website today to browse for products and take a look at our design.