Here at Red Monkey Goo we had been talking about doing a free community project once a year for some time when finally we had a perfect opportunity to do so. The Brunswick Community Kindergarten is a community run kindergarten that has been running since 1924 by the parent community. When we were approached in passing about some guidance relating to a new web site they were planning, we decided what better way to start our community project run with something very close to home.
Keep up to date on all the goings on at RMG HQ.
This is where we share our thoughts, ideas and sometimes just enjoy a bit of a chit chat.
Well it has been quite a while since our last post so I wanted to quickly update everyone on what we have been working on and also talk a little bit about MonkeyBones our new boilerplate template/theme for any WordPress projects we undertake, and also an extension we have built for Magento that eases the Google Analytics/Visual Website Optimizer/Affiliates conversion tracking setup and configuration.
So with a new site, comes a new philosophy. Going forward, all Red Monkey Goo’s new websites, be it our clients to our own in house projects, will be responsive by default. We see a lot of businesses still pushing this as a added extra. A nice to have. In this increasingly mobile world we believe it should be standard.
A little while back we had a request for a ‘Sign Up Form’ for a new site that was to launch. The site itself was going to be a lesson in simplicity and clean design so we wanted to keep this theme going in the sign up form which would simply allow users to leave their email address for further information about the site launch date.
From a development perspective we have chosen an e-commerce platform that we believe to easily be the best available at the moment for a LAMP (Linux Apache MySql PHP) environment. We are of course talking about Magento. Why do we consider it to be the best? Well the feature set out of the box is excellent, the enterprise like best practices adhered to when developing Magento (thanks should also go to the Zend Framework underneath of course) make it an excellent platform on which to develop (and upgrade). There is also a great community around Magento with many quality third party extensions and support where needed. Having said that Magento is by it’s nature is quite a large complex beast, especially in comparison to other PHP e-commerce systems. And as such can be a little slower than one might first expect. Both of these points however can be mitigated almost completely by familiarity with the system and intelligent use of caching.
Well it has been a few more weeks than anticipated since our last blog detailing our take on an e-commerce project from start to finish. All the normal reasons of course hold true as to why we hadn’t got the blog out. Busy, busy and busy. But also during this time we have been sitting down at the negotiations table (picture a quaint little table in a French coffee shop close by) working out the details of how MiBolsa (the bag people) teamed up with Red Monkey Goo.
Usually during a Magento e-commerce project we like to revert our Magento databases back to the default throughout the project so that we can ensure when we are importing project data (categories, attributes, products, customers etc) that we haven’t missed anything and everything imports well. We usually do this in sections very similar to the above ie. categories, attributes, products, customers.
Designing – Building From The Wireframes
In our last blog we took the initial project brief and created the wireframes that would guide us in the design.
The brief called for a clean design with a strong emphasis on product images. The goal for this stage was to build in the brand and create an attractive overall design that didn’t compromise the simplicity of the initial wireframes. Of course a few things were tweaked here and there and not all things translated directly from the wireframes to the design. But overall the main ideas were kept in place.