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My response to “Blogs Will Kill The Web Design Star”

Dear Reader,

My breakfast buddy Bill Seaver posted a real interesting post on his blog titled “Blogs Will Kill The Web Design Star”. I started a comment to it but it quickly grew into a post by itself. So before you read this, go visit Bill’s blog and read it. (and while you are surfing, don’t forget to drop by his podcast, The New Mediology and give it a listen.

My response:

Hi Bill!

I couldn’t agree with you more. The days of paying someone big bucks for a simple site are gone. I actually covered this on Sixty Second Tech a few weeks ago in the episode The Secret to Cheap and Easy Websites. WordPress makes a great simple blog and with the explosion of good, cheap/free skins, there’s really no reason for people to pay for simple web needs. I did get some flack over on iTunes on that episode because a listener considered my approach to the subject denigrating to web designers. :)

If your needs are more than WordPress can provide, Joomla is a great next step. It’s several order of magnitude larger and more complex than WordPress but it has a great plugin structure and like WordPress it has an active community.

BTW, my favorite WordPress theme site is I’ve used several of their themes as starting points for my projects.

Also, I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that the job title to have for the next five years is “App Skinner”. Wife 1.24, The Lovely and Talented Kathy who is a web designer has been able to successfully deploy several complex sites including an e-commerce site, without having to employ a programmer. This opens up new doors for the company she works for because instead of having to hire a programmer to write yet another shopping cart, she can deploy Joomla and spend her time concentrating on developing a look and feel that will set it apart from the competition.

Bill, thanks for the post, it was great.

Until next time,

Upgrading Software

Dear Reader,

Well, it’s the weekend so I naturally decided to check what software needed upgrading. Two packages quickly showed up on my “things I use and keep current” list.

Ed Finkler wrote this cool little twitter client and compiled it using AIR. Despite the fact that AIR has some kind of seriously dmanaged garbage collection requiring me to restart Spaz every hour or so, I love this little app. Ed has done some cool thing with it and I enjoy watching it’s progress. The only think I don’t like is when there is a new version (say…24 hrs has passed) when I fire it up, I get an in-your-face notification requiring me to decide at that moment, “Upgrade or No?” It’s not that I have anything against upgrading and certinly not against Ed or Spaz. but an icon on the toolbar when there is an upgrade available would be much nicer. Besides, I fired the client up to use it…not decide whether I wanted to upgrade. And yes, I know it’s Open Source software so I’m not griping about it or demanding a refund, I’m just using it as an example because the Windows Upgrade example has been beat to death.(BTW: Yes Ed, I’m jealous. I wish I had a cool open source app that everybody could point out the flaws of but never give me props for.)

I like WordPress. Despite it’s flaws and the fact that I think Matt is a bit unstable because he won’t upgrade it to work exclusively on PHP 5, I really like it. However, for the uninitiated, installing or upgrading it manually can be difficult. I have a good friend who shoots up “The Bat Signal” whenever he runs into a programming problem and I got one this morning. He tried to move from 2.3 to 2.3.1 and it was (shall we say) less than graceful. On the other hand, I upgraded both of my blogs in about 2 minutes. It actually too me longer to upgrade one of my plugins than it did my two blogs. This is, of course, thanks to the fact that I use Installatron on my server. Installatron makes keeping these types of applications up to date, extremely easy.

A side note on WordPress, while it has an annoying “you need to upgrade” link on every admin page when there’s a new version, it does not force me to decide whether to upgrade before I can do anything else.

Anyhow, both this blog and PHP Podcasts have been upgraded and I even had time to add a shinny new skin here. (Didn’t really like the last one) So life is good…mostly.

Until next time