Starting Crowd Favorite in Australia

I’m happy to announce a partnership between myself and Crowd Favorite (US) to launch the Crowd Favourite brand into Australia.

As Managing Director of the Australian company, I’m responsible for growing the Crowd Favorite brand in Australia & Asia Pacific. From working with existing clients in the region to new business development, I’m looking forward to working on more enterprise WordPress development projects.

Over the last five years at Alyte, we’ve been fortunate enough to work on some really large enterprise projects for ASX500 companies and Australian Government departments. But it’s not our core business model.

Ultimately, Alyte is not structured for enterprise style projects. By starting Crowd Favorite, it allows Alyte to continue to work in the SMB WordPress development space, without the distraction of larger projects that we don’t have the structure to consistently do well at the same time as working with SMBs.

Getting to know and spend time with Crowd Favorite over the last six months while we’ve negotiated this deal, it became clear that the Crowd Favorite management and I share a lot of common values and think the same way on a number of things, so it’s really a great fit.

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Database migrations & deployments with WordPress

One of the most common reasons new developers and perhaps existing WordPress developers resent WordPress sometimes is because of how it stores so much application configuration in the database, and most commonly, stored in different structures and in different locations.

More traditional web applications would be coded up and the database is essentially stateless. By that I mean the database only contains content, and users. It means traditionally, you could run a web app locally and on the production server, and not really have to sync the database and forth (unless there were schema updates etc).

This isn’t completely WordPress’ fault. Most developers are are comparing an application built in a framework like Laravel, to an application built on top of WordPress with a CMS included. This is an entirely different argument, one that is best left for another day.

The point remains, that if you do professional WordPress development, you’re going to have to deal with database migrations. … 

Speaking at WordCamp Auckland 2014

Last week I flew over to New Zealand to speak at WordCamp Auckland 2014 – an event I’d been keeping my eye on for a little while.

The Auckland WordCamp was put on by the same people who run the WordPress meet up over there. I was told early on in the piece, that the group was built up of a lot more power users / users / newcomers compared to say Sydney and Melbourne where there is probably a closer ratio of WordPress developers compared to WordPress users.

It’s a pretty big trip to make to present a 30 minute talk, but I really do like Auckland – it’s one of my favourite cities, so I had no issues in making the trip across the Tasman. … 

The meaning of life

Back in February, I went to the Webstock conference, which I really enjoyed. One of the best talks was the closing keynote. The closing Keynote was by Derek Sivers and was on the meaning of life.

Now, this had nothing to do with web, or tech, or design – but still one of the best talks at a conference I’ve been able to witness. A pretty applicable subject to all, with a lot of thought provoking questions.

When is WordPress NOT the answer?

As of late, we’ve had a couple of large web application projects where the deliverables did not include any CMS functionality. That is, they were purely a functionality based web application.

I’ve been reflecting on both of these projects, and how we approached each one for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, did we make the right choice with the underlying framework?

Secondly, further to the first point, could we have done it faster/better/smarter if we did it another way.

Thirdly, what is our business, should we be building non WordPress projects, and if we do non WordPress, do we end up doing 100 different frameworks so-so, rather than doing one really well? …