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Developing a CMS solution on Mediatemple with the Seagull PHP Framework, including Google Maps

Having just completed the Atalink site, I would like to highlight some of my experiences, frustrations and lessons which I have learnt over the past few months.

Background

I developed the site using the Seagull php framework, using the publisher module (which has recently been superseded by the CMS module).

The publisher module requires a bit of hacking to make it run effectively, especially if the site requires content pages which have different layouts. But, overall the site works well and looks pretty good, even if I say so myself ;).

I have still had a number of difficulties, so for those of you who are planning on building a similar site, here are some of the things which I have learnt:

This is especially relevant if you are going to be using some of the following:

Lessons learned

Tips for using the Seagull publisher module:

If you have various site sections which need to have different layouts, the best way of handling this is to create different content types for each different layout which is required.

Then create a different publisher template for that content type and specify the styling which you want for that particular section.

If you have any exceptions, then use a handler like this:

{if:isEqual(29,articleID)}

{end:}
{if:isEqual(30,articleID)}

{end:}
{if:isEqual(34,articleID)}

{end:}

I will endeavour to write a more in depth tutorial for this and put it on the Seagull wiki. Once I have done so, I will update this post.

Server Issues

The first issue which I encountered was trying to do an installation on a staging sub-domain on a Media Temple Dedicated Virtual Server, where php safe mode was turned on. I have written a post which is a guide on how to successfully remove these restrictions.

Browser Issues

As always, I encountered problems with cross browser compatibility. I discovered huge differences between IE6, IE7 and Firefox. The site looks best in Firefox, Safari and in IE6, but there are a few small differences on IE7.

I used this basic conditional block to include an IE hacks file for when a user views the site using IE.

< !--[if IE] >< style type="text/css" >@import "http://www.atalink.com/ themes/atalink/css/hacks/ie.css";< /style >< ![endif]-- > (Remove spaces)

Google Maps

Although this is not that difficult to implement, I found quite a useful site called:

Google Maps latitude, longitude Popup , which gives you the latitudes and longitude values for a specific location, which you use in the Google supplied javascript

Design

Although a designer may do a really good job and a client signs off a design, one has to be flexible enough to deal with client requests for changing of the layouts. Often the changes requested are quite valid and one should consider each request before just disagreeing.

Content

Again, I have been reminded about how important it is to have content ready and signed off, before beginning with development. It is amazing how much time can be wasted when you are waiting for pieces of content. Details about content should be agreed upon during initial agreements and no matter how difficult it may be, these agreements should be adhered to.

Conclusion

I have enjoyed working on this site and I have learnt a lot, in terms of development and in terms of communicating with clients.

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2 Responses

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  1. I had such work with publisher too. It took a long time to make it avaible for my purposes. But it works well. One of the problem was to reduce this huge queries. Now it seems fine, I will check it on real traffic soon

  2. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.|

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