The Advantages of Open Source Technology

There are many advantages to using open-sourced technology for constructing your website(s). One of the biggest advantages is price, as it is possible to use software that is developed to be shared, that is basically free, with donations accepted, usually one-time and very small compared to commercial software. Another advantage is versatility and adaptation, as the software shared within the community continues to develop and improve over time. With open-source, the features possible are literally limitless, and every developer to welcome to improve upon someone’s plug-in, allowing you the opportunity to write in features specifically for you.

The disadvantage with open-source solutions are not ready out of the box, and require some experience to really get the most out of what they have to offer. There are many features available within the community, but some are certainly better than others, and not all of them will everything you desire. So there is a fair amount of experimentation and testing that goes into finding stable plug-ins that do what you expect.

There are open-source designers and developers, however, that can do the necessary work to establish a site with useful and stable features. They have done this experimentation to a high degree and can offer packages that allow the website owner to take control of their site once it is designed and configured by the developer. These sites will cost more up front for the website/business owner, but will cost less in the long-run vs. a packaged website product from a large, national company.

Once a site is built, there may be other features that can be added later on. Website owners may learn how to add additional plug-ins to their site, or may ask their original developer to install the new feature. There would be a charge for installing the feature, but again, no other fees endure upon the life of the site. All costs for development can be one-time expenses as the site increase in size, features, or both, as long as the day-to-day updates can be taken care of by the owners of the site.

At Outward Image, we strive to ensure that all the sites we build are easy for the owners to edit, especially those areas they designate as crucial for the better functioning of their core business. A website should be an aid to business, and any site that is useful, is usually one in which the content is updated regularly.

So don’t get trapped in paying “low” monthly fees to a large website company. Get the versatility of an open-source designed and built specifically for you. The extra expense at the beginning will be offset in no time by a lack of those monthly fees. And you will end up with a more custom, fitting solution to your specific business.

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Outward Image Print Services

Outward Image has evolved from working almost exclusively on website projects, to a balanced design solution for both web, and print materials. Our experience in the area of print is extensive, and that experience pays off to you in receiving high-quality print jobs that are done correctly.

Another advantage of using Outward Image is price. Our prices often rival the prices at most D-I-Y online print outfits, yet the work you get from Outward Image will not be from cookie-cutter templates. Your designs will match your identity with high-quality custom work.

We work with our customers to ensure they are happy with the final product. You see the designs before you commit to the final job. You don’t pay anything until you are happy with the digital files that will represent your final, finished job. You simply can’t go wrong, so give us a try today.

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WordPress as a Website Platform

WordPress as a platform for Web design and development allows an intermediate option between a static site comprised of html files with css style sheets — and a custom programmed site where features necessary are beyond standard plug-in modules that allow for specific functions. For instance, if a business would like to be able to collect email addresses of interested site visitors, and then be able to distribute information about the business to those who wish to receive them. Joining the list is totally voluntary on the part of the visitor, and they will be able to unsubscribe at any time.

Another one may be a Calendar of Events that can post general future events, or more specific schedules for subgroups within the organization. Schedules can be printed out in calendar form, so it may not be necessary to the distribution of printed calendars. And since printed lists can get lost, it is nice to always have the current schedule at your fingertips, even on your phone.

As for design, the history of WordPress has been that it is a bit challenging when it comes to specific design requirements. Theme developers are able to create their own static html and combine it with WordPress to acheive truly unique designs. But another alternative has developed in the form of versatile themes that have adjustable wireframes, commonly desired website options with easy-to-use check boxes and other input fields, and the ability to create css code to override existing settings. This enables an infinite array of designs that can originate from a single theme. Using a theme like this, along with a substantial knowledge of html and css goes along way of achieve truly unique looks and interesting visual interfaces.

The versatility of function that can be achieved in a WordPress site is a direct product of a vast number of plug-in modules developed by individuals or small enterprises, and shared with anyone who is working with WordPress. This number increases daily, and other plug-ins are being modified and enhanced. These modules can offer a very pleasant smorgasbord to someone with a desire to add real functionality to their site without the programming knowledge to do so by scratch. These modules are limited, however, to the frailties of their authors, and some are indeed, better than others. Ratings are provided to help a designer choose more reliable plug-ins.

I always recommend trying a new plug-in on a test site before incorporating into a published site. A new WordPress site can be created in seconds, allowing an easy avenue for experimenting with different plug-ins. Experimentation can tell us how the plug-ins operate, whether they are user-friendly and useful or cumbersome and confusing, and whether it plays well with other plug-ins. If you are planning a site with a specific combination of functions that you have not tried out before, it would be wise to see them all function on a test-site first. And always make a backup before installing new plug-ins so if disaster strikes, it won’t be a nightmare of rebuilding an entire site!

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