Caterham Granite – Making Estimating Easier

We’ve just finished a project with our friends from CIC for the well known Caterham company, manufacturers of quality fireplaces normally, but in this case for their very high quality granite kitchen worktops business. Basically they needed a nice website to showcase the different types of granite available to their customers, so we provided a CMS solution in Joomla that uses the Yoo Tools plugin with some mods to make for a fluid user experience. But it didn’t stop there. The client wanted a nifty estimating system for reps on the road and third party distributors to use. For the front end we created a login area where they can go and create full blown estimates. The layout again controlled by a modified Yoo Tools set up, this time with a neat javascript accordian so that each step of the process is clear to follow. Once the estimate is complete, the user can save, print or email the estimate for the customer. Real easy. We had to write a full PHP component for this in the Joomla admin section so that Caterham could then manage the quotes, and store them in MySQL. The whole process for an estimate now takes a couple of minutes, and its really user friendly. Using Joomla for projects like this gives our clients the flexibility and customisation they need without breaking the bank. We find that most business problems can be solved with some custom programming, in many cases providing business transformation for clients.

iPhone and iPad Development at Star Digital

Well we said we would get into app development. it’s a natural progression for us as digital marketers and web developers. James Bache, who looks after the Page Flip brand over here at STAR Digital hooked up with Xerox, one of his clients to produce an app for MK Electric, part of the Honeywell group of companies. The goal, to produce an app that allowed Distributors to search and view tech spec for their quite frankly enormous product range using an iPhone or iPad. James got under the bonnet of Xcode with the developers and they produced a great looking, smooth functioning app and got it listed on the app store. Whole process start to finish, 3 months. Done. Since then we’ve started work on quite a few more, and the next one to launch is actually part of a Chinese initiative called ‘The Charitarian’ and we are producing a magazine app for them for the iPhone and iPad that allows them to easily and cost effectively add their quarterly magazine covering Corporate Social Responsibility in China to the app. That will be launching soon, and if you want to get into the iPad publishing market give James a shout, he’s really motoring with iPad Magazine Publishing apps now.

Magento ecommerce – Aggressive Health

You may or may not know Mike Nash, author of the Health & Wellness book Aggressive Health, but this guy is a bit of a personality in the wellness world, and walks the talk. We’ve been working with Mike for a few years now helping him with his digital strategy, and his ecommerce. Until recently he was using ePages, which in fairness was a great estore package for its day (3 yrs ago) but since we’ve started working with Magento, we’ve been transferring clients across at the earliest opportunity. Well anyway, I had a chat with mike and mentioned this Magento thing, and he said ‘OK, sounds interesting’ can you do me a demo? Knowing that Mike likes to ‘get under the bonnet’ I said ‘I’ll go one better, I’ll put you a complete install on one our servers for you to play with’. Well Mike went nuts!!! Get me on this platform now! I need this in my life! So we transferred the product catalogue out of epages into Magento and we set to work to create a pleasing CSS structure for the template. Mike worked with our lead Magento developer Jake Rudkin-Wilson, and boy did they work, (Jake’s a fitness freak too, so they had a lot in common!) sometimes Mike was mailing me at like 3 in the morning with questions, ‘Can it do this, can it do that?’  and I’d be like ‘Yep, plugin for that, we can code that in, bit of PHP work here and there, couple of tweaks to mySQL, and in no time, and I’m talking 5 weeks end to end we launch the new Aggressive Health Shop web site, and wow! Its doing brisk business with its one page checkout plugin and social bookmarking facilities. Mike phoned me yesterday and said, ‘I am totally delighted with this Magento store Roj, its completely surpassed my expectations, only problem is I’m working 24/7 to deal with ther uplift in orders!’. I said ‘Nice problem to have!’ Good luck Mike, you are a Magento evangalist and we love it!!! Check out the Aggressive Health Shop site yourself here, some of the products on here are awesome!