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

maintenance

 

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

Jun 6 2016

Haringey Council. Tottenham Regeneration website

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Haringey Council has ambitious regeneration plans for Tottenham, with schemes underway to address local people’s priorities for more job opportunities, better housing and improved transport links.

As the programme’s momentum grew, a separate website was needed, away from the main Haringey.gov.uk council site, with distinct sections of content for investors and developers, residents and local business audience groups.

The Haringey Council digital communications team had done a lot of thinking around the shape of the IA and the types of content they needed to fulfil their aims and provide a user centred experience. They had decided on the open-source Drupal CMS (with demanding security requirements) and had a well-considered creative brief prepared for our alignment sessions. A perfect start to the project!

Here’s how we designed and developed the council website

  • Evolved their initial Information Architecture (IA) and key user journeys
  • Developed a wireframe paper prototype
  • Created design routes – homepage and lower level pages with rapid prototyping to arrive at the final designs
  • Built accessible and adaptive page templates
  • Set up and configured the core Drupal CMS and implemented the site structure, glueing in the templates and developing the workflow for their publishing team
  • A news system was integrated and XML feeds to display events were set up
  • MailChimp newsletter functionality was embedded
  • Content was loaded and checked and our QA team tested the site ready for soft launch
  • One of our project managers and a Drupal developer spent a day with the Haringey team, training them to use their new Drupal website
  • The site was made live and the Haringey team have a 12-month support contract to help them with Drupal upgrades and site improvements

You can see Haringey Council’s Tottenham Regeneration website at http://tottenham.london/

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What makes Open Source systems such good value for local government websites?

  • Free – no licence costs for the CMS software
  • Agile and moveable – you are not tied into your web development agency
  • Vast (and fast moving) open-source development communities
  • Modular systems – thousands of 3rd party extensions to further keep costs down
  • Regular security updates by a highly active community
  • Proven functionality – tried and tested by the likes of No.10, The Whitehouse, Heinz…
  • Fully featured – whatever functionality you want on your site, the chances are that there’s already an extension for it

If you’d are considering an open source CMS for your organisation, take a look at our information on Drupal and Umbraco, or contact us for a friendly chat or email info@s8080.com.

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May 24 2016

S8080 help Nottingham City Council with new Umbraco website

Nottingham city council Umbraco website homepage
When Nottingham City Council appointed us via G-Cloud, we were delighted to learn that they had chosen Umbraco, the open-source CMS, to develop their new online self-service platform.

As an agency, our public sector clients tend to request either Drupal or Umbraco. The Council had spent time during their discovery phase investigating the suitable platforms for a large, busy local government website and Umbraco matched their requirements exactly.

Channel shift is becoming increasingly important for local government as digital transformation strategies are being realised in order to improve customer access to council services. Umbraco (and Drupal) are both powerful and flexible enough for the most demanding council and open source means they don’t pay a single penny for the software. This frees up budgets for the important stuff: user experience (UX), engaging designing and robust, secure functionality.

Nottingham city council Umbraco website mobile

As well as the obvious cost benefits of digital self-service, modern local authority content management systems allow a mobile first approach. This means users can undertake online transactions like arranging waste collections or making planning applications using their phones or tablets as well as their laptops and computers, making life easier for users and the Council. From the outset, our brief was to create a “great looking”, user-friendly, customer centred experience that could stand up against the very best local government websites in the UK. Here’s how we designed and developed the Council website:

  • We co-designed a clear top-task focused homepage
  • We broke down the content into compartmentalised areas to simplify the information
  • The Council’s brand colours were used consistently for content hierarchy
  • We developed a user-friendly column based dropdown navigation
  • The site was designed to be extremely accessible and fast to use
  • The CMS platform was specifically designed to enable the Council to add their own micro-sites
  • The mobile first templates we developed and tested across multiple devices
  • Our Umbraco technical developers Implemented Nottingham City Council’s preferred search solution provided by Funnelback
  • We created a suite of content blocks in which to build the content pages
  • We made it super easy for the Council’s in-house team to further develop the site by componentising and templating the functionality so it can be updated separately
  • We set up the server architecture and deployed the website which  is hosted on Microsoft Azures’ scalable cloud hosting platform
  • We will be providing ongoing maintenance and support, but typically 3rd level technical Umbraco expertise, so the day to day support on the website will be handled by Nottingham City Councils IT team

To find out how your organisation can use an open-source content management system for customer centred digital transformation, take a look at Umbraco and Drupal – two extremely capable and extensible CMS’s.

 

Nottingham city council Umbraco website screens

 

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Aug 19 2015

Drupal 7 and the release of Drupal 8

Over the past few months we’ve been working with a number of new clients on redeveloping and moving their sites over to Drupal, and with the release of Drupal 8 in the pipeline we’ve been answering questions about Drupal 8 release dates, migration from previous versions of Drupal and more which I wanted to share…

When will Drupal 8 be ready?

Drupal 8 release date has not been announced and is a case of its done when it is done… Here is the official dev cycle.

Our Drupal team (a number of whom are very active in the Drupal community contributing heavily to Drupal) estimate that it will be released early next year.

As Dries (Dries Buytaert is the original creator and project lead of Drupal) says “Drupal 8 will be ready when it’s ready

After release how long does it take to be stable?

From our experience there is a plateau which needs to be reached after the release date of any new version to ensure a secure and robust platform, particularly on more complicated solutions which use numerous modules.

According to Dries, the plateau of productivity for Drupal 7 happened 6-9 months after the release date of the new version, from our experience we agree and think it’s safe to assume a similar timeframe for Drupal 8

SEE: http://buytaert.net/how-i-think-about-drupal-release-date-planning

The reassuring fact is that Drupal has a system in place called LTS (long term support) and generally covers support for the current version and the previous version of Drupal.

SEE Drupal Long term support: https://www.drupal.org/d6-lts-support

Support for Drupal 7 – how long will it be supported?

As the LTS covers the current and previous version, support for Drupal 6 will start to expire when Drupal 8 reaches its LTS release – long past the Drupal 8 release date.

This means that Drupal 7 will be supported for security updates well past the Drupal 9 release date and onwards until Drupal 9 itself reaches a stable LTS release which is estimated to be around 2019+ based on the current release cycle.

What is the upgrade Path from Drupal 7 to 8 and onwards over time?

One of the great new features of Drupal 8 is a vastly improved migration path from previous versions of Drupal, the Drupal community have been working hard to help Drupal 6 site owners upgrade to Drupal 8 now the support will be coming to an end and they have added migration support into the core of Drupal 8 to upgrade from 6/7 as smoothly as possible.

This upgrade path will be present in Drupal 9 as well so that a Drupal 7 site can exists for many years before needing to be upgraded and when that time comes the process should be as smooth as possible. This is significantly better than other CMS’s we work with.

Maintainability – upgrading a site to a new version

The ease of upgrading a site to a new version of Drupal depends largely on how well it is built, a properly built site that is modular in its construction and follows best code practices (which we do and we run code review audits on) will allow each module’s code to be upgraded in isolation and re-integrated into the new Drupal site much easier than a site that has a large spaghetti codebase that has to be recoded from scratch during an upgrade. A little care and attention when building the site means you will always have an upgrade path to follow.

Related Drupal Links: https://www.drupal.org/d6-lts-support

So if we are considering a project now should we develop in Drupal 7 or 8?

This really depends on the complexity of the project and the timings – through the discovery phase of the project we weigh up the pro’s and con’s along with the project time line, modules required and organisation’s objectives and discuss this in some detail.

Fortunately, our team has experienced many upgrades of many different CMS products over the years, we have found Drupal to be a better path for upgrades than some very expensive commercial CMS products, and similarly the rate of release for security patches / updates is excellent.

Drupal 8 is an exciting release, hopefully this post has helped to answer some of your questions.

If you want to see how we’ve helped our clients take a look at our Custom Drupal Development.

 

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Nov 13 2014

Working at S8080

Starting your career at S8080

 

We’ve recently had two new team members start working at S8080. Eric joined us as a developer from a small local design agency in September and Ernie joined us a technical project manager from Hewlett Packard in October.

Obviously, Eric and Ernie are not their real names, but we want to protect them from the constant hassle of recruitment agents!

Working at S8080 - our office

In their own words…

Eric, Drupal Developer at S8080

Started: early September 2014

Settling into working at S8080 has been both enjoyable and seamless.  Right from the first interview, I felt very comfortable talking about how I work and also learning how work is carried out by the team.  I was very drawn in by working as part of a team utilising Agile methodologies.

My induction allowed me to transition smoothly into working within the team; initially with time to familiarise myself with the technology and workflow that is used at S8080.  Coming from a small agency, it was often the case where I would have to do a considerable amount of research on particular aspects of development before beginning projects. Here at S8080, the team is only too happy to help and bounce ideas between each other, which, has been fantastic for picking up little nuggets of knowledge.

The office itself is state of the art, and is in a great location a stone’s throw away from Swansea Marina.  Personal development is a very high priority here, too.  There is plenty of material within the office to learn new skills or brush up here and there or even to keep on the desk as a reference.  I’m also studying an additional degree at Swansea University which S8080 are happy to let me attend once a week and provide any support I may need.

The atmosphere is very relaxed considering the fast-paced nature of our work.  The work itself is engaging and challenging.  Meetings are held every morning with project managers to ensure that we, as developers, have everything we need to check off all the tasks we have been assigned as part of our sprint for the week.

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months at S8080.  I have been made to feel very welcome and have already settled into the way the team works and I am always looking forward to the next challenge that our projects bring.

Ernie – Technical project Manager at S8080

Started: mid October 2014

I stepped through the door and was refreshed by the bright orange walls. I shook some hands and after being handed a cafetiere and 2 shortbreads I was ready for the interview, I say an interview, it was more of a sensible chat with some sensible down to earth people.

All went well and I was given a start date. The first few days were spent getting my bearings, meeting all the individual characters that make up S8080, setting up my shiny laptop and sipping from my new S8080 ‘e-tea’ mug.

Working at S8080 - e-tea mug

I was sent to work straight off the bat, no boring waiting around. The work processes are very agile, but if you think there is a better way of doing something, then you can just say so and they team will give it a go – no forms to fill in! The agile boards offer a great visual cue for the work that is going on and a focal point to discuss tasks.

The office is set in a huge open-plan, light airy room and when it’s time for lunch you can take a walk around the marina and take in the good sea air.

Since settling in I’ve learned the people are great, the work is great and the location is great – With the local gym being so close I can even come in early for a quick session!

Apr 24 2013

EpiServer custom web design and development for CITB

Image of EpiServer custom web development for CITB and the Birches microsite

We have just launched two more EpiServer CMS web sites. The EpiServer development was for CITB, following on the successes of the recent launch of www.citb.co.uk. Our team of .NET developers are really enjoying the quick build time, customisation and flexibility of the CMS platform and it’s robust nature.

  • Web design – Creative & look and feel
  • Web template development
  • EpiServer CMS
  • Technical services, hosting & support
  • Web usability & consultancy
  • User centred design, personas and UX design
  • User testing, card sorting & eye tracking
  • Training workshops
  • Website accessibility and accessibility testing
  • Creative strategy & online style guides
  • Creative concepts, designs & online campaigns
  • Email &email newsletter design and broadcast

Live sites:
www.citb.co.uk/jobs/
www.citb.co.uk/thebirches

If you would like to chat about how S8080 could help develop your web site on EpiServer CMS, please 01792 485566 and ask for Chris Cowell, or email info@s8080.com.

Apr 16 2013

Drupal CMS development for Enterprise Zones Wales

Drupal CMS development for Enterprise Zones Wales - Welsh Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have made the Enterprise Zones Wales site live, it’s been a great project working with the team in Welsh Government over the past few months. The project was a rapid turnaround Drupal CMS deployment focusing on the key 7 enterprise locations in Wales.

  • Drupal CMS
  • Web usability & consultancy
  • Information architecture
  • Wire frame design and prototyping
  • Web template development
  • Website accessibility and accessibility testing
  • SEO services & online marketing

Live site: enterprisezones.wales.gov.uk

Mar 21 2013

Business Wales – Welsh Government Drupal web development

Business Wales

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • User needs & persona development
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: business.wales.gov.uk

Mar 19 2013

Royal College of Anaesthetists – Drupal web site design

Royal College of Anaesthetists

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Analytics
  • Information architecture
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.rcoa.ac.uk

Mar 17 2013

Welsh Universities Technocamps – Drupal web site design

Technocamps

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Analytics
  • Information architecture
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.technocamps.com

Mar 8 2013

CITB – Web development

CITB

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Templates for your CMS
  • EpiServer content management system
  • EpiServer custom web development
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • Focus groups, workshops
  • User needs & persona development
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability, usability testing
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.citb.co.uk

Sep 28 2012

Welsh Government – Wales.com

Welsh Government -  Wales.com

  • User centred design
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • Accessibility
Live site: www.wales.com
Sep 27 2012

COI – Department of Energy and Climate Change

COI - Department of Energy and Climate Change

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • S8080 CMS
  • E-mail
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Bespoke web application development

Live site: www.decc.gov.uk

Sep 26 2012

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

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  • Flash
  • Website build
  • S8080 CMS
  • Banners
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • Accessibility
  • Bespoke web development
  • Database integration

Live site: www.dofe.org

Sep 25 2012

Lee Valley Regional Park

LVRP

  • Flash
  • Games
  • Digital illustration
  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • S8080 CMS
  • Microsites
  • E-mail
  • SMO
  • Banners
  • User centred design
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Research
  • Bespoke web application development
  • Database integration

Live site: www.visitleevalley.org.uk

Sep 24 2012

Visit Wales – Cruise Wales

Visit Wales - Cruise Wales

  • Flash
  • Digital illustration
  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • S8080 CMS
  • E-mail
  • Information architecture
  • Accessibility
Sep 14 2012

Neset – Drupal web design and development

Neset

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Drupal multilingual sites
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • User needs & persona development
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.nesetweb.eu

Sep 14 2012

30ParkPlace – web design and development

30 Park Place

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Templates for your CMS
  • S8080 content management system
  • S8080 custom web development
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.30parkplace.co.uk