Another late Tuesday update!
I’ve spent most of the day installing a stand-alone web server environment on my laptop so I can actually work at Sid’s photo studio, where I share space a couple of days out of each week. The only problem with the studio is that there’s NO INTERNET ACCESS, which makes developing websites that require PHP and MySQL practically impossible. I have it largely working now, but that’s a different post.
Current Agenceum projects are rolling forward, but I am running them like regular design projects, which means they are taking a lot of time for very little income. I am, however, logging the time it takes to do each job and noting where greater efficiencies can be gained.
The biggest hurdle right now is how to provide inexpensive website maintenance. Making the website templates themselves is relatively simple; it’s the content integration that takes a long time. I’ve delivered websites to some Agenceum clients as ZIP archives of the files, inviting the more inquisitive to try editing the HTML themselves. I don’t think, however, this is a good solution because no one in their right mind should want to edit HTML. I am starting to think that I need to create an online solution based on some simple form entry that’s capable of talking to other hosts. Otherwise, I would have to host the websites myself. So I am starting to look into more generic PHP frameworks like CodeIgniter, which is also the basis of the new version of Expression Engine. Since I use Expression Engine for my davidseah.com site, I figure it might be worthwhile to look into; what I want are really simple database-driven websites, and I am afraid that tools like ModX and WordPress are even too complicated for what I’m envisioning. I’ll have to think about this some more.
So that’s where we are right now. I’m closing the current projects as quickly as I can, but I am not happy with the idea of delivering static HTML files as the final deliverable. This is not a real business solution.