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Twitter web integration

Calendar Posted 23rd February 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


We have decided to add more integration with services like Twitter on our new website. This will make the site content more dynamic and hopefully interesting to users as various parts of the website will regularly change. As you may have noticed our new website has twitter integration on the home page. This simply adds just the latest tweet from our twitter account to the What's New section.

After researching various methods to achieve this l discovered it was actually quite easy. Twitter gives you a XML feed which is the first thing you will need to obtain using the following code:

<code>$aTweets = file_get_contents("http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/blmuk.xml?count=1");</code>

The variable $aTweets now contains the XML file contents. You can change the 'count' variable in the URL to be the number of tweets you wish the XML to contain. Read more...

Facebook Integration

Calendar Posted 22nd February 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


One of our clients recently asked us to integrate their Facebook group site into their existing website. This seemed simple enough - simply log in as the group administrator, use the Facebook developer centre section to extract the relevant Javascript, pop it in the page and then style it.

It was that simple up to the point of styling it, however Facebook's developer help centre is woefully short on details. If you are integrating with the intention of maintaining the standard Facebook layout then you should be fine, but if you are trying to implement in a fluid layout or hoping to change the dimensions in any way then you will find the information you need is simply missing. There is no definition of the xhtml that the javascript generates and no indication as to what ids or classes are used by the various elements. The best you can hope for is to simply find an example via Google that you can hack around a bit.

Ultimately, all they would have to do is publish an example xhtml excerpt. So why don't they? Read more...

A new face for Bluelinemedia

Calendar Posted 22nd February 2010 | Category: Company | Feed Icon


You may have noticed our new brand and website. But it's more than just a facelift – it's a reflection of how our business has changed and what we stand for.

Our work for clients has naturally evolved from simple websites to development of bespoke websites and web software. We think the new image and website reflect our real passion: a simple, clean user experience. We hope you agree. Read more...

Bespoke web software that saves you money

Calendar Posted 18th February 2010 | Category: Web Development | Feed Icon


I just wanted to comment a little on one particular service of ours: creating web applications to improve processes and save time. In the current economic climate, lots of departments within larger organisations are coming under pressure to reduce costs, or having to work more efficiently to account for having fewer staff. Our web software services provide an extremely cost-effective and completely bespoke solution to help managers to achieve this.

We mostly provide our bespoke software services to medium and large organisations in Cheltenham and elsewhere in the UK, designing and building new systems that make work easier, and also providing ongoing support and development. Recently we have worked with ADC Krone, a world leader in network infrastructure, to design and build a bespoke project management tool to help their customers and staff to work more easily on specific construction projects. We've also developed insurance quote engines, booking software, recruitment systems and learning portals.

If you'd like some informal advice or to find out if bespoke software is the right option for you, just let us know. Read more...

End Internet Explorer 6!

Calendar Posted 18th February 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


As web developers we constantly struggle to make our websites and applications display/function correctly in Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). At the moment it accounts for around 20% of the browsers that people use. This is a high proportion considering it was released back in 2001 and we are now up to Internet Explorer 8 with Internet Explorer 9 already in development.

Finally it looks like there is some high profile movement towards users and companies upgrading their browsers away from IE6! Most recently Google announced it is going to stop supporting IE6 from the 1st of March 2010 and there was a Downing Street petition calling for the UK government to stop using the browser. Even the Department of Health in the UK advised the NHS to move away from the old browser.

If you type anything to do with IE6 into a search engine you will discover a huge number of websites giving numerous reasons why not to use IE6. There is a big push at the moment to get users to upgrade their browser but it seems this may not make much of a difference. Read more...

Import web data by email

Calendar Posted 18th February 2010 | Category: Web Development | Feed Icon


One of our clients wanted us to allow them to update their online recruitment system with emails they send out to candidates and clients. Whenever they sent messages to prospective candidates & clients or to existing candidates & clients they wanted that message to be created as a note within their online system.

To achieve this we needed to set up an email address (drop box address) to forward the email to a script on the website. (Basically an email forwarder was set up). It is this email address that our client would then CC in any emails to candidates & clients that would need to be recorded in their online system. When an email is sent to the drop box address this would then be forwarded on to our script where it is able to read the email in its raw format and identify the basic elements: From address, To address, Subject, Mail body.

With the email elements identified, we can use the To Email Address to update the system. We can check this email address against the candidate records and also the client records. If we get a match then the email body will be added against the relevant record as a note. If no matches are found then a new person record can be created in the system which our client can approve and then move to the relevant candidate or client section. So not only can you update current records but you can also create new records all via email. Read more...

Making your business independent

Calendar Posted 11th February 2010 | Category: Company | Feed Icon


Ever since James, Simon and I started Bluelinemedia, we have always planned to leave. That might sound contradictory, but I think it's really helped our business grow. A lot of businesses get stuck at a certain size because the owner insists on having control over everything, or because they're more comfortable working 'at the coalface' than actually running things. And this works for a lot of people who just want a bit more freedom in their work. But that's not running a business, it's giving yourself a job.

Our approach has always been to try to make the business independent of us three, and hopefully we'll reach the point where we don't need to be here every day. That doesn't necessarily mean we'll stop working here, but we think the business will be stronger if it's not completely dependent on us. A genuinely independent business is worth more in terms of what someone else might pay for it, but more importantly for us three it means we have actually created something beyond ourselves. Read more...

A simple idea for growing a small business

Calendar Posted 11th February 2010 | Category: Company | Feed Icon


As Bluelinemedia has grown over the past few years, we've focussed on different goals, but they tend to boil down to a couple of simple themes: get more customers, and work better. I think small businesses succeed or fail by how much they can step back from day-to-day work and see the bigger picture. It's really easy to focus on getting stuff done, and then realise you're not making enough money. Or get in lots of new projects and then realise you can't handle them.

A really good solution is simply to focus on one at a time: spend one quarter trying to grow sales and increase new projects, the next quarter on improving project management or taking on new staff, and then go back to sales again. That way you get to grow at a natural and sustainable pace, and without harming your quality of service. Read more...

Web link to a specific page in a PDF

Calendar Posted 10th February 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


A client of ours recently needed to link to specific pages within a pdf document. This is something I did not realise was possible so I thought it may be useful to post how this is done.

PDF documents can sometimes be very large and often just have one link in a webpage to that document. What may be more useful is that whenever the copy on the webpage mentions something in the pdf, have a link directly to that page. This would be a lot more useful for the user and allow them to easily find relevant pages in the pdf to what they are reading on the webpage.

The method I will describe is very simple and will enable those pdf links to take the user directly to the pdf page that contains the information described in the webpage. Read more...

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