Code Production News

  • Open letter from Alex Yagolnik

    Monday, March 26, 2018

    Today Adobe announced the discontinuation of Business Catalyst platform with an End of Life on March 26th 2020. Learn our plan for migrating the Business Catalyst sites.

    Dear Business Catalyst partners,

    Some of you may have noticed that starting last week we stopped accepting new projects for development on Business Catalyst CMS. We are sorry for not giving you a real reason due to an earlier (NDA).

    As you may have heard already, today Adobe announced the discontinuation of Business Catalyst platform with an End of Life on March 26th 2020.

    This was very shocking news to us and I am sure to you as well. The platform, despite its flaws, provided a great solution to small online businesses and was a unique solution that had it’s niche in the market.

    And now, hundreds of thousands of sites would need to be transferred to other systems in just a matter of 2 years. This is not to mention that thousands of businesses built their services exclusively around the platform, our business is not the exception.

    We have been a partner for exactly 9 years now, members of Partner Advisory Board, developed 1282 projects on BC, 4 BC apps, created a one-of-a-kind template solution exclusive to BC and it’s very sad for me personally to see all of this work go down the drain... unless it won’t!

    The Business Catalyst Partner community was the strongest side of the platform. Despite all the hardships and challenges the BC Community continued to add significant value to the CMS. I would like to personally thank every partner who contributed their time, energy and resources to improve, extend and grow the potential of BC.

    From the very start, our company was all about serving you and the BC Community, with every service and every product we offered. We want to contribute everything we can to the cause (and we already started to) to help our customers, first of all, as well as every partner out there to define the best alternatives with a smooth and reliable migration process.

    Our goal is to offer you a solution that would turn this “set-up” into opportunity to grow your business beyond the limits you had with BC.

    While the timing of announcement is quite unexpected to say the least and the date of the EoL could have been better for many partners, the end of Business Catalyst era was becoming more and more obvious for most of the community during the last years.

    Due to success of our template solution, in January 2017 we made a strategic decision to have a “spare” CMS that would fit our clients' needs in case something bad happens.

    We conducted research to define the best alternative to Business Catalyst CMS both for our template solution and hundreds of BC projects that we have developed for Code Production customers and we had found one… well thought we did...

    … until Adam Broadway (co-founder of BC, architect of the Web App engine) reached me out presenting Platform OS (aka Near Me) - a new system he developed after leaving BC in 2013.

    Please, join us at BC Sandpile meeting tomorrow, where we will share the first results of our work on Platform-OS and one of their very first Partners to do so!

    Sincerely,
    Alex Yagolnik
    Founder at Code Production
    alexy@codeproduction.co
    facebook.com/alexyag01

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  • Font Awesome upgrade, 5 reasons to switch to version 5 and how to do it.

    Monday, March 05, 2018

    Learn more about the long-awaited update of the most popular icon font and the benefits of the Pro license.

    Let’s talk about icons. And not just some average icons, but the ones that are used on 100,000,000 websites… Still don’t know what I’m talking about? How about the most funded software kickstarter that raised more than One Million USD to update their icon library, fix all the little things and open-source all the tools they developed in the process? How awesome is that? Well, certainly quite as awesome as their kickstarter video - you should go watch it right now if you haven’t seen it yet!

    So, ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you Font Awesome 5!

    Version 5 — Better than Ever!

    Here are the five reasons to switch to Font Awesome 5 right away:

    SVG 1. SVG with JavaScript
    Brand new SVG-based framework gives you all the benefits of using SVG icons on the web without all of the hassle. The syntax was kept simple, as well as the tools for sizing, placement, and styling were built on top of that.

    Ligatures 2. Icon Font Ligatures + auto-accessibility
    Ligatures were added to all icons, so that screen-readers (accessibility) and desktop-designers could finally use them in the right way. A dash of JS adds supporting HTML elements and attributes so that your icons are accessible to the widest audience possible.

    CSS 3. Re-written CSS and SCSS frameworks
    The classic way of using Font Awesome icons - CSS was modernized as well. And using SCSS or Less, you can customize Font Awesome's Web Fonts with CSS method through variables and picking partials to include.

    Redesign 4. Redesigned icons
    Every icon redesigned from scratch on a 16px (same as Bootstrap 4 base font size) grid for better consistency in visual design and readability at smallest size. Font descender was removed for easier vertical positioning.

    Upgrade 5. Easy Upgrades
    You can get the latest styles pretty quickly with the backwards compatibility shim of version 5. And if you like, you get the tech upgrade to SVG with JS too.

    How to upgrade from Version 4

    Speaking of the upgrades, here are the steps you need to take to upgrade to v5:

    1. Remove Version 4 files and references
    You should be replacing the web fonts as well as the CSS assets from Version 4 with Version 5's in your codebase. Also, all references to the old Version 4 assets should be removed from your HTML.

    2. Check out your icons
    Version 5 changed some things. Brand icons are now their own style and references to them use the fab prefix. Also, aliases are no longer - there is one official name for an icon. Speaking of which, some icon names have changed between versions. Also, any icon ending with -o has been moved to the regular style which uses the far prefix.

    3. Double-check on any custom styling
    If you use custom CSS pseudo element styling to render Font Awesome or write some CSS to compliment Version 4's support styling you would need to update any of those instances to make sure they work with Version 5.

    Click here to read a full guide on upgrading from Font Awesome v4 to v5.

    Font Awesome Treepl

    Font Awesome 5 and Pro upgrade for Treepl platform

    Obviously, considering all these improvements and benefits, our team didn't hesitate to upgrade to version 5. And we are now glad to inform you that all of our Treepl templates come with Font Awesome 5 support and a set of free icons.

    Moreover, users of Treepl platform can now take advantage of additional 1,500+ collection of Font Awesome Pro icons when creating the demo sites. The flow of inserting icons remained the same, it's just a couple-step process that anyone can perform quite intuitively. But for those of you who are not familiar with the Treepl platform, here's a short guide for inserting Font Awesome icons into a demo site:


    1. Go to Font Awesome icon library.
    2. ‎Select the icon* you need and copy the short code snippet.
    *Good news! You can now select any icon, including new icon styles (Pro icons), read more about this in the next paragraph. Icon code
    3. ‎Paste the code into desired field in the demo site editing pop-up. Paste code

    Click here to learn more about Treepl platform features and how it can change the way you do business!

    Font Awesome Pro license advantages

    As you may have concluded, we have purchased a Pro license ourselves and would recommend all of you who is already using and loving Font Awesome icons to purchase one as well. There are plenty of reasons to do so, but here's a short list of the main advantages of Font Awesome Pro:
    1. 1,500+ more icons (almost 2.5K in total).
    2. ‎Pro license can be used on unlimited number of projects for as long as you'd like
    3. ‎A year worth of updates and service
    4. Access to different Icon Styles — Solid, Regular & Light.
    5. Private NPM repository for Pro.
    6. Pro license comes with 5 seats, so unless you are a big agency, the license has got you covered.

    The only drawback that we can think at the moment is the fact that there is no Dedicated Pro CDN (especially if comparing with Font Awesome Free, which already has its Free CDN). Though, that's the next item in the list of updates, so it's expected to roll out fairly soon.

    Hats off to the Font Awesome team

    You guys did an awesome job and never stop amazing us till this day. Not to mention that you are keeping most of it free and open-sourced, thus pushing the industry. Keep up the great work!

    Conclusions

    Font Awesome remains the trend-setter in the icon industry and it is likely that nothing will change any time soon, so you better keep up with everything they do. We recommend you to upgrade your sites to Font Awesome 5 and Pro if possible, it may take some resources, but it is certainly something worth doing right away. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you would need any help with the upgrade.

    Also, let us know in the comments what icon sets do you use most often.

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  • PHP integration - BC without limits. The Centratech Systems case

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    Learn about the case of Centereach Systems which proves that PHP integration can push the limits of Business Catalyst system for developing complex custom solutions and integrations.

    It seems that complex custom solutions and integrations that would aim to change the standard modules' logic or something like MLS websites have always been a big struggle for Business Catalyst partners. There are many successful business cases proving that Business Catalyst is perfect solution for delivering and maintaining powerful websites, from small landing pages to big online store. But when it comes down to doing something beyond the default functionality - BC is not that flexible, to say the least. Unless it doesn't have to be this way! BC API allows for PHP integrations that can carry out almost any task you can imagine. The case of Centratech Systems is an excellent example:

    Centratech Systems Pty Ltd (CTS) is an Australian, wireless monitoring and control solutions company which developed a lighting monitoring and control system for a range of open-space facilities in major municipal councils across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne & Darwin.

    Click here to learn how CTS simplifies asset control for municipal facilities.

    Our team along with another experienced BC partner, Beatwave Australia, have assisted CTS to create the Fieldmouse* wireless, monitoring and control system. It took considerable time to fully develop the system, which is undergoing further update and enhancement, to provide the users with the best possible experience. The project development included:

    Chart
    • Storing the switching states in BC web apps and maintaining a CRM with a booking calendar system for the secure, automatic activation/deactivation of lights in nominated locations for authorized users;
    • PHP server, responsible for the server logic (processing the queries for activating/deactivating the lights, automatic triggering of the devices (controllers), CRM management by roles (booking officer, master account, customer, etc.);
    • Gmail account (used through Gmail API) in order to send and receive emails to the SMS-to-Email service;
    • Switches (devices or systems) - activate/deactivate the lights, depending on the command sent via a formatted SMS.
    Booking

    Among the key components, Code Production assisted to developed the BC integration (the interface itself) and PHP, (the business logic and the connection between the Gmail account and BC through API), which is housed in an Amazon Data Centre.

    To clarify this, BC is used as a data repository (devices' states and CRM) and as an interface to interact with the devices and schedule an auto switch on/off of the devices, as well as an interface to manually control the device. This is one of the most efficient and viable ways to use BC, particularly when utilizing the additional benefits of BC's security within the Amazon environment.

    The Fieldmouse* system is being updated regularly and has expanded greatly since the first release. The CTS business is growing rapidly and the site obviously has to meet all of the needs as they occur. With the latest update, support for the MQTT protocol was added, so Fieldmouse* can now manage the AWS IoT devices, which communicate via cellular through the MQTT protocol. AWS IoT device cloud has huge potential and will give a major boost to the business by opening new management possibilities for Fieldmouse*.

    Click here learn how CTS increases productivity of field technicians by 50% using AWS IoT.

    Device

    The biggest challenge was to integrate all of the APIs and services so the connection between them is absolutely stable. But once everything was done, it's amazing how well BC integrates with a range of third party services, providing clients with a limitless range of opportunities for expanding their website.

    PHP provides the interaction to all components according to the business logic. Front-end development was created using AngularJS for an easy output, and in order to reduce development time (the code is more stable, easily expandable and allows easy implementation for quite complex interface solutions).

    Timetable So far, the CTS/Fieldmouse* project is the largest that we have developed on BC, and it is an excellent example of Custom Development service, which shows the variety of possibilities for integrating BC with third party services.

    Designing, developing, implementing and maintaining such complex business logic and workflows is never an easy task, so one should approach it with due responsibility and some previous experience in the field, but it's totally worth it, when you consider all other development options and their cost.

    I hope this article inspired you to push the limits of the websites that you build BC. And let us know in the comments what was the biggest project you've done on BC.

    Oh, and if you want to collaborate with us on a huge custom development project like CTS, let us know by submitting a Custom Development project.

    Fieldmouse* is a registered trademark.

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