So there you are, wondering how I work all of this magic. How can one man produce miracles with just a lap top, and an internet connection? While what I do is a lot less confusing than computers in the Matrix, it is not far off. Here are my main tools.
Back in the days of yore my first VPS was an AWS microinstance. This is where I figured out the basics of running a remote server: installing Apache / Nginx, running back ups / upgrades, and bash scripting. I also experimented briefly with their Windows server instances.
I can still apply all of this cool stuff to any remote server, although AWS is unique in the depth, and convenience of their dashboard, and API. Although the costs can add up quickly for large projects you can not beat AWS for scalable cloud computing.
Say that I am not just popping in for a wham, bam, thank you ma'am affair, but I have a series of related tasks to complete; most important at that point is organization. Sure, I could just paw through email like an unwashed heathen, or I could use task tracking software for project management. You can create a task list for me to review at mental stopping points, making communication so much more efficient than disorganized email barbarianism. In the immortal words of the Charles Barkley,
any thing less would be uncivilized.
If you have heard of web sites, you have probably also heard of Wordpress. It is among the most popular publishing platforms out there, and with good reason. It is simple, accessible, and offers the legendary five minute set up. It allows application of themes, and modules for the average user, or custom development for true Gs like me. In fact this site is powered by Wordpress. It is a great way for every one to get up, and get published online. Some snobs will say that Wordpress is only for chumps. Think so?
Drupal is among the other major players in online publishing frame works. It has an extremely active, and dedicated community of contributors, but it is not quite as intuitive as some other alternatives. Once you get over the learning curve though it empowers site administrators, and users alike to do some really wonderful things. If you are new to Drupal I encourage you to check out
sites made with Drupal before taking the plunge. See what can be done, and then we can go get 'em together.
So you have seen what I do. You have a sense what I am all about, but how can I apply that to you? How can I start to address your specific needs? Rest easy. You can just tell me what you want to accomplish, and I will tell you how we get can get 'er done. You want better exposure? We can improve your SEO, and start an online advertising campaign. You want more user engagement? We can get going with user analytics, integrate a web forum into your pages. You just plain old want more money? Well, you will need to be a little more specific than that, but not by much. I can figure out the rest for you.
What is the dynamic web?
At some point you heard about this new fad called the internet, and decided that it deserved some investigation. You may have heard some things about "web 2.0", "social media", and other marketing jargon. Here I want to share some of my insight as a professional, and hopefully clarify a number of these concepts.
Initially the web was simply static content very closely related to a word document, or slide show. We could write, and publish content for you to view in your web browser. At the time though it was very labor intensive, and specialized to create, and not especially engaging for our users, nor was it very flexible.
The dynamic web, also called web 2.0, is a the next generation of this earlier technology. Now we can dynamically generate pages from a single template using languages like
open source PHP,
Since now we can write logic to generate content rather than the content its self we can dynamically alter pages without nearly as much effort, creating a more relevant experience for our visitors. We can draw content from local, and remote servers to take advantage of data from all across the web to ensure that we have the best, and most current information, and we are able to receive, and display input from our viewers rather than publishing in a one sided interaction.
With all of these new possibilities the web has exploded as a publishing platform, and marketing tool. Some of these tools are fantastic; some are bunk. Like any project though you need an expert to separate the signal from the noise, and help you to get the greatest return for your investment. As it turns out I happen to know a