Oct 13 2016

S8080 now a Registered Umbraco Partner

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After working with the Umbraco CMS for many years, we are proud to announce that S8080 are now a Registered Umbraco partner. Being a registered Umbraco partner helps us keep to the forefront of the latest Umbraco developments.

Our experienced team of Umbraco developers have delivered many high profile and complex .NET based websites for public sector and private sector clients including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), HM Cabinet Office, CITB Construction Skills and Ministry of Justice.

Umbraco is one of the most popular Web Content Management Systems on the Microsoft .NET platform. It’s open source, meaning you don’t need to pay licensing costs. It’s also a very powerful and yet easy to learn CMS that is highly extensible.

It’s great to be part of the Umbraco family and we look forward to working with Umbraco over the coming years.

 

Aug 1 2016

The benefits of the Drupal community and S8080’s maintenance and support

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Drupal is renowned for its flexibility and extensibility, proven by the sheer number of high quality modules available. By using common modules in Drupal deployments, we not only increase functionality quickly and easily, but massively reduce costs whilst benefitting from community security updates. This approach also ensures complete portability for our clients in the future. These are primary reasons why open source solutions are in such high demand.

The Drupal community has an exceptional security team that performs audits and manages the process of communicating their security update findings to module owners.

As an agency of passionate Drupal developers and active Drupal community contributors, every week S8080 get notifications from Drupal on any security releases along with alerts from other specialist tools we use.

These tools monitor all of the Drupal sites that we maintain, to identify all the relevant updates that need to be made to the Drupal core and the modules running on those sites – this ensures nothing is ever missed.

Our ISO/IEC 27001 secure development policies means we have strict protocols in place to ensure our website and online applications are patched quickly and to reduce exposure to any emerging vulnerabilities. When updates need to be made, we prioritise them based on severity and our team will deploy them to the sites that we mange for our clients. Our clients are therefore assured that their Drupal CMS is running the latest and most secure code.

How is Drupal and the modules kept secure?

If you are interested in understanding a bit more on how Drupal’s security team work, then this is a very interesting article: https://www.acquia.com/gb/node/2023186. Their infographic explains the process so well!

Drupal security release infographic

Source: Acquia.com

How does S8080 help the Drupal community keep Drupal secure?

Our Drupal developers are very active in the Drupal development community; it’s common for them to be working on modules and providing updates back to the community. For example, on the 20st April, a commonly used 3rd party module ‘EPSA Crop’ was announced to have a security vulnerability – initially no details were issued to allow the community to react.

This module allows editors to crop the images they upload to their Drupal site, so they don’t have to use third party graphics packages. The owner of this module was no longer available to maintain ESPA Crop, and therefore the central Drupal security team recommended that it should be uninstalled and no longer used. However this would mean that the thousands of sites using the module around the world would suddenly show images uncropped and full-size, causing websites to look terrible – something nobody wants.

This is where s8080 and the Drupal community came into play. We use EPSA Crop to provide an enhancement to the way users manage images in their site, we consider this module to be of importance to us and our clients, so as soon as we were notified of the issue we set about working on a fix for our clients and the whole community.

After quick initial investigations, before the details of the vulnerability were released, we spotted the potential problem and immediately started working on a fix for our Drupal sites and the community as a whole. We deployed the hot fix to the sites that we manage and support to protect them immediately.

Once the official security vulnerability details were released, we were pleased to find that our investigations were correct and we were able to submit our patches / fix to Drupal very early for review by the community. Along with our patches and those of other members of the community, an official fix was released. We then set about the process of updating all of our managed sites with the official fix.

In this particular instance, S8080’s proactive approach to security and our interaction with the Drupal community meant that our managed service clients benefitted from very early protection from potential hacking attempts. And without resorting to making their sites look dreadful by removing the module!

Just as importantly the community and other websites benefited from our work by getting a fix to the module very quickly.

We think this is a great way to work.

Jul 6 2016

Umbraco – Lee Valley Park Farms – one for the kids this summer!

Lee Valley Farms

 

Due to the great success of the White Water Centre website which we built using the Umbraco CMS for our long standing partner Lee Valley, we were asked to create an Umbraco site to promote the Farms in the Park, with the website design appealing to children as well as parents.

The brief was simple, make it engaging for children (and mum and dad), show off the animals and events and make the site easy for the team to update.

Our team thoroughly enjoyed working on the site (and we had a great day out too!), Lee Valley Park Farms had lots of great images and it gave the creative team the opportunity to use some fab animal cartoons to add something a little different to the site without overcomplicating things.

See: www.lvfarms.co.uk

Feb 12 2015

How we do agile and lean development projects in our web agency

At S8080 we like to keep things lean and we like to get things done. How exactly do we like to get things done? By sticking to some key principals taken from Prince2 and Agile (why limit yourself to only one project management methodology!)

After the client alignment, UX and creative phase, we’ll have a big kick off session. This ensures that everyone on the team knows the end goal, how it can be achieved and their role in achieving that goal.

User stories and the agile wall

Once all is understood and all questions asked, the team will plan out the project by creating user stories, these are simply cards that contain a specific story, or goal. For example one story may be “As a student, I want to be able to view all books available”. Once all stories have been built up, the team as a whole will estimate how long each story will take to complete.

With all the stories created and work estimated, the team place the cards up onto the Agile wall. Think of the Agile wall as a huge ‘to-do’ list.

As the team work on a story they will pass through several stages from the ‘backlog’ to being ‘accepted / completed’. To ensure this process runs smoothly, the teams will have a quick 5-10 minute stand up in the morning, at these stand ups the team will work though any problems or ‘blockers’ that are stopping them from working.

Iterative approach and sprints

We keep our clients well informed by showcasing our work to date at the end of every iteration / sprint. This is a great opportunity to gather feedback early on in the development process, instead of the big reveal at the end. We couple these showcases with a weekly report, which contains contains a general status, dependencies, risks and any issues.

At the end of each sprint, we will perform a retrospective, this is the opportunity for the team as a whole to suggest how we can make improvements for the next iteration – and usually demolish a pack or two of Welsh cakes.

Because some customers require a fixed scope, time and budget we also provide a Gantt chart, this will contain a detailed list of the functional outputs along with any user testing, security testing, UAT and other dependencies. If there is any additional work to be added to the scope, this is simply dealt with via a change request.

Our key take away points are:

  • Encourage team communication through daily stand ups
  • Encourage team organisation through visible Agile boards
  • Encourage early feedback from the client by introducing end of iteration showcases
  • Encourage team performance with end of iteration retrospectives

Sometimes agencies can get too clogged up in ‘how to do Agile development’ to the letter instead of finding a method that works for them, after all, not all clients, teams and companies are the same.

Feb 4 2015

G-Cloud and open source for public sector

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We are delighted to let our existing and potential public sector clients that S8080’s complete set of services is available via the new G-Cloud 6 framework, delivered by the Cabinet Office’s Crown Commercial Service.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.

Our G-Cloud services cover specialist public sector open source, Drupal, Umbraco and EPiServer web usability, web design and web development.

 

Working with public sector

We have a long history working with our public sector clients. Before G-Cloud, we spent over 10 years on the COI digital roster working with clients including No.10, Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Open source software like Drupal and Umbraco has become increasingly important for public sector organisations. Open source means the CMS software is free. This frees up budget for user experience, engaging design and robust, secure functionality.

Whatever features you need, chances are there’s already a free extension for it. Coupled with an agile and iterative development process, this is what makes Open Source systems such good value for public sector clients.

 

Our open source G-Cloud services

Open Source Content Management Systems

Open Source Responsive CMS website – mobile optimised

Open Source Website UX, design and development

Drupal for public sector

Umbraco for public sector  

We can also offer the enterprise level CMS, EPiServer, via G-Cloud

EPiServer for public sector

 

Public sector open source and Drupal case studies

If you would like to find out how open source content management systems like Drupal or Umbraco can help your public sector organisation, or would like to see our public sector open source and Drupal case studies, contact us or email info@s8080.com.