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This is a list of stuff we do. work wise, and the tools that we use.

CMS Development
We work with PHP-Fusion (this site plus one or two others), WordPress, and also some Flat File CMS systems. We keep gravitating back to PHP-Fusion, mostly because we have had over ten years experience working with it. The current version is 7.02, but there is a newer version 9.0, which is still immature, and lacking in a few things such as functionality already in 7.02 plus the big showstopper - lack of themes. We'll keep checking in on it, but it would need to drastically take off in development before we think about putting it into production.

We used to have this domain on a WordPress site, but there were too many sticking points. Things would break, themes are not applied equally or easily, and in the overall standings, there are hundreds of bugs still to be fixed by the WP Devs. To me it just feels like a cobbled system which is stuck together with blue tack, staples, chewing gum and glue. To be fair, one of its strengths are the many add-on's, while it is also its major weakness. The management of assets is mostly done through a front-end, particularly posts and pages. Though we can work with WordPress maintenance, it is not a body of work I am chasing.

The concept of the Flat-File CMS is an interesting one; in that there is typically no back-end MySQL database. This is great for smaller blogs that don't contain many pages, but once you start scaling up to many pages and lots of interaction, then the CMS starts coming back to the rest of the field, and where a MySQL databaase becomes valuable. We like the concept, but would only recommend it for certain situations. Some Flat-File systems we have played with include: Redaxscript, SimpleCMS and Grav, though there are many other players out there.

Microsoft Word and PDF's
We do a lot of work with these two tools. They are bread and butter in the Corporate World, and it pays to be skilled up in using them to the fullest of its capability. Having started off using the ancient Word 2.0 then Word 6.0, the Word Processor of choice for many has certainly endured a varied history since the early 90's. Refer our article on the Top 5 Rules of working with MS Word Click here...

PDF tools are now no longer the domain of Adobe. There are plenty of PDF Readers out there in the market, plus PDF Conversion applications. Some are online only, where you can manipulate your PDF, through a website like without breaking the bank. Other recent finds for us include the excellent European app It can do a whole bunch of stuff including creating page flipping PDF's and fillable forms. At first glance, page-flipping seems to be a bit gimmicky, plus the other major drawback to PDF's is the visual rendering on a standard laptop (1368x768 dimension), which is still quite poor by today's standards. Any screen bigger than a laptop is a bonus.

For us the jury is still out on fillable forms. If they are designed correctly (using drop down fields and clickable values) then great. But if you are asking your recipients to manually enter information - say on a smartphone, then that isn't very user friendly at all. Our number one rule for fillable PDF's? Keep it simple, and think about the end user's experience first, and not your own internal mechanism to draw down data.

Having spent a few years in the e-Learning arena, You definitely need a great deal of patience working within this genre of publishing. The software is always on the move, and there are many players out there in the market place; not all of them selling their wares as an application, and none of them cheap. You'll find most software vendors operating in the Subscription market; the biggies including Adobe's Captivate, likewise others including Articulate and Lectora.

For mine, since 2013 I've been using a very creative tool for building learning management system (LMS) courses called Active Presenter, developed by Atomi Systems. It has a very intuitive feel, a capable learning curve, and more importantly, an affordable price-point. That's why we love it!

If you are interested in doing any work on these platforms, drop us a line on our Contact Us page.
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