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Web Development

Structuring our data

When I first started designing websites, content and design were embedded within each other. It was very difficult to strip out the design whenever a redesign was required. We then moved onto the concept of including common design elements as a file on every page, but still the design got in the way of true separation. Content management systems then came along and promised us a world free from pain and the ability to truly separate content from design.

What we dont know about 2015

Looking into the future and being able to say with certainty what is going to happen is difficult at best, nigh on impossible at worst. Where the web is concerned its even worse. Technologies that are around now may be obsolete in the future. We may be using things in 2-3 years time that are unlikely to have been invented yet. So can I suggest an alternative? Lets first consider what we don't know, and plan our thinking around that. When we plan for what we don't know, we're much more likely to be able to cope when things change.

Looking towards 2015

I was asked recently to present an idea of how a customers web/digital/social presence should look in 2015. Whilst this is a great thing to do, my first reaction was: 2 years, that's not enough time to really make an impact.
Or is it?
The web is fast paced, I don't think anyone would deny that. What we prepare for now, will be getting old by the time 2015 comes. Five years from now we'll be using technologies that don't exist at the moment. So perhaps when it comes to the web, two years is more than enough time in which to plan.

Deploying Aegir

At the College of Life Sciences we have been faced with a problem in recent times. The success of rolling out Drupal as our content management system of choice has in itself caused its own headaches. As our users saw the flexibility of the system and the ease with which new functionality could quickly be developed, it became obvious that our ideal of having one install to rule them all, just wasn't going to scale in practice.

Have we got how we view the web wrong in Universities?

I've had the pleasure this week of attending the Institutional Web Management Workshop in Edinburgh. Whilst it's only the first day, I'm fascinated by the topics that we've already covered and the subjects that we're still to cover. It's great going to these types of events and hearing the successes and trials of institutions from all over the country. However I can't help feeling that our view of the web is still somewhat stuck in the previous decade.

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