Blog Details

Speed

In keeping with the theme, this is going to be a quick post. We reached a milestone today on a project for a Chicago-based client:  complete development on their new DotNetNuke (DNN) website in two and a half weeks. They still have a bit of content to enter, but we're done with the programming and setup. Sometime next week, we'll be zipping up the site for deployment to the hosting infrastructure.

It's always good to complete a website development project, but this one feels especially good because the development phase lasted a mere two and a half weeks. Shortly after this month started, we received the home page design and started working on HTML and CSS. In quick succession, we created the homepage DNN skin, and did the same for the designs that followed.

But this wasn't merely a DNN skinning exercise.

Functionality

This is a very functional website: it has recipes, blogs, bios, news, research articles, videos, and some basic community functionality. All of these items are "dynamic" in the sense that they reside in a central data repository and can be seen in different lists and detail views (in other words, they are not simply DNN pages with Text/HTML modules). Plus, the website had a lot of design variety: a list of news releases looks different than a list of people (bios), for instance.

How, you ask?

The site looks great and the client is thrilled by how quickly things have been completed. They are sold on the power of DNN, and now we've got new friends just a few blocks away from us in Chicago. So how did it happen? What made the speed possible?

Well, there will be a case study to answer that question soon, but I'm excited enough today to share a couple of thoughts:

  1. Our client's project manager was extremely capable and had a strong vision of what the website would be, and was knowledgeable about web content management system (WCMS or CMS) concepts.
  2. We had a strong set of web development tools: DotNetNuke (DNN) and our own suite of modules, Constellation, that we knew extremely well. This set of tools matched the clients needs perfectly.
  3. The project was oriented around speed. We were asked what features could be delivered quickly, and these were the features that were included in first phase. Everything else was put on the back burner, to wait until phase 2.
  4. This, I think, is the key ingredient: the client's project manager made sure that the site designs (and wireframes) conformed to the standard templates available in our Constellation and the other DNN modules we put to use. This was not too difficult a task, as we have a lot of templates to choose from and our template system is very flexible, so it was easy to make little tweaks. In every case, the modules that were deployed were tweaked to reflect the site design, but this wasn't a big deal because the layout still conformed with the original templates.

The last thing I'll add is that this was a very comfortable timeline. No one had to work an 80-hour week to make this happen. The client was able to fly down to Texas in the middle of the project to attend SXSW, and we were able to attend the St. Patrick's day festivities back here in Chicago. Easy peasy.

If your organization is dedicated to speed as well, contact us to see how quickly we can build a website for you.

And that's it for now. Gotta fly.

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