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Word up! Tickbox technical director Daryl Phillips explains recent changes to WordPress and Tickbox’s approach to upgrading your site

It’s been a week (or so) since WordPress 5.0 (Bebo) was released. Some of you may have seen, upgraded or received an update notification about it.

WordPress 5.0 “Bebo”, say Hello to the new Gutenberg editor

WordPress 5.0 “Bebo”, say Hello to the new Gutenberg editor

It’s the biggest update so far for WordPress. The main focal point centred around the rich content editor. This has been completely overhauled the enhance the user experience.

The new editor is named “Gutenberg“. Gutenberg replaces the original WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get Editor) editor in WordPress, and sooner or later it will be the preferred editor in all WordPress themes. It will also provide more functionality than a standard WYSIWYG so in most cases it won’t be necessary to install page builders or content editors – saving users potential fees or costs in the future. It’s currently unclear what price template developers will set for their Gutenberg themes.

If you are wondering whether you should upgrade or not, the answer – as simply as we can put it – is Yes. WordPress 5.0 doesn’t just contain feature richer functionality, it also includes security and bug fixes. A major new version such as this does carry its own risks, but at Tickbox we’re specialised enough to take care of this upgrade for you. If there are problems, we can fix them before we deploy to your live site: You’ll get all of the features but none of the risk!

Introducing WordPress 5.0 “Bebo”

 

Things to consider

If you are considering upgrading your website or simply updating then there are a few things to consider:

Use the latest PHP Version

PHP you say? PHP is a scripting language that powers WordPress and the vast majority of websites across the world. Using an outdated version not only carries risks for conflicts (resulting in a “buggerific” experience) but also security risks.

The best approach is to use the recommended version that the WordPress is designed to run on – 7.2+. Not only will you get speed and maintenance improvements by switching but the risk of being exposed to security vulnerabilities in WordPress reduces dramatically.

 

Update all plugins to latest versions

Most plugins, themes and components in WordPress should already be compatible, but it is always worth checking before upgrading. That plugin may no longer be supported, so it is always best to find an alternative, just in case. If it there is no alternative, that isn’t the end of the world. The plugin may already work. The same applies to plugins you are no longer using. There is no need in having a resource attached, if it’s unused.

 

Decide whether to use Classic Editor or Gutenberg Editor

The new Gutenberg editor won’t be for everyone. so don’t worry, if you’re happy with the current one, just choose the Classic Editor. If you want to try the new and reportedly easier Gutenberg editing experience, then go with that.

If you use a custom PageBuilder, some of these tools may still work. You may need to do some digging but one we use regularly Page Builder, by SiteOrigin, has kept their plugin going, so all is not lost. Upgrading the Plugin/Theme may actually fix layout issues within WordPress. It will all depend on the developers who’ve built it and whether it’s being maintained.

 

Be Prepared/Vigilant

Spend some time getting used to the new features. It won’t be easy, but in the long run, it may make you more productive!

 

So, what is Tickbox’s roll out plan?

At Tickbox we won’t roll out any updates without your consent. However, you may have already been contacted about upgrading. Whether that is WordPress or moving you up a PHP version. If it’s the latter, it is definitely worth doing sooner rather than later. You wouldn’t miss your MOT date after all – and your website needs that same care as your car does.

Before any updates are done to a live environment, we will backup not only your website but your database and copy your website to a testing site. There is nothing worse in updating a site and then something breaks on a live site. That’s one risk we never take.

We’ll the investigate upgrading PHP and WordPress to see if there are any issues: 90% of issues will be minor but it’s always worth checking them out first. Tests will confirm if we can proceed – more advanced websites, or those with payments – will need to be tested more extensively before we can accurately sign them off. Once signed off by Tickbox, a date/time will be scheduled, with you, to deploy all changes. Some clients prefer control and that’s fine. We’ll work to whatever you need.

Software never sleeps. Neither does software maintenance. But no matter what, we encourage everyone to test WordPress 5.0 on a staging environment before upgrading.

 

What are the next steps?

If you’d like a quote for upgrading please contact us on 0117 3250091 or email our support team.

Now recruiting: Junior Web Developer

Junior Website Developer

Tickbox Marketing are currently expanding our development team to support our growing client base and looking for a self motivated and enthusiastic coder to join our team.

JOB OVERVIEW

The role would suit a recent graduate, young or experienced developer of who will be directly involved in updating existing clients’ websites, providing general support as well as new functional web development to existing solutions. Current solutions may include frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony and Codeigniter, experience of MVC based architectures would be desirable.

As a small team at a point of significant growth, we need someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and embraces the challenge of playing a key role in helping make something special happen.

We’re looking for someone who is self-motivated, creative and an excellent communicator within a team. We encourage you to share and help develop creative ideas and are looking for someone who has the ambition to develop themselves and their role to match our plans for growth over the coming years.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES

  • Turning design templates/mock-ups into HTML/CSS
  • Website and internal quality system controls – Checklists, maintenance and retainers
  • Monitor, maintain and action client queries via the Support Portal
  • Development of CMS systems, back-end functionality, API’s and/or testing (including automated)
  • Maintain and administer systems
  • Client liaison via email and telephone with regards to support and/or development
  • Report to Technical Director on development/support duties

 

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES

Essential:
Sets high standards of performance for oneself.
Uses good judgement in what and how to communicate with clients.
Seeks input from mentors and supervisors.
Actively applies feedback received to day-to-day work and strives to improve performance.
Listens to others and accepts input from team members.
Clearly articulate ideas and thoughts verbally.

Desirable:
Demonstrates flexibility in day-to-day work.
Accurately prepares written business correspondence that is coherent, grammatically correct, effective and professional.

 

KNOWLEDGE
Essential:
XHTML/HTML5
CSS (including CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap or Foundation)
PHP
MySQL
Basic server administration

Desirable:
Development frameworks (Laravel, Codeigniter)

Understanding of MVC architecture and deployment

GIT or Version control systems

Design
Advanced experience of LAMP server environment
iPhone Development Platform

SKILLS
Essential:
Confidently writes the four basic SQL statements.
Exhibits proficiency in HTML and PHP.
Independence in problem investigation and solving.

LAMP

Desirable:
Recognizes the fundamental differences between the various internet browsers.
knowledge of XML/XSL.
Knowledge and experience in REST and SOAP system interaction.
Ability to hand-code both HTML and PHP.
Taking and dealing with technical support requests

EXPERIENCE
Essential:
Turning design template/mock-up into HTML/CSS web page.
Taking and processing user-imputed data from web pages.
Storing data in databases
Retrieving, formatting and displaying data from databases.

Desirable:
Taking requirements from clients and preparing briefs and specifications
Following brief or specification in creation of design or system
Experience with integrating eCommerce Payment Portals
Experience with Content Management Systems, using or building

Applicants should send covering letter, CV, portfolio or links to previous projects, and examples of code work to info@tickboxmarketing.co.uk. The work examples should include HTML/PHP/MYSQL or demonstrate a solution to a problem which the applicant is proud of, be it complex or elegantly simple. Please include comments or notes with thought processes and reasons why certain methods were chosen.

 

Strictly no agencies.

 

 

Volunteer Makers rises to university’s challenge

Oxford and Cambridge have long been associated with students – but it was Volunteer Makers’ message that was being studied there in a busy month for Volunteer Makers and the Tickbox team.

May began with a training day for staff at University of Cambridge Museums. The organisation runs eight separate highly regarded museums as well as a world-famous botanical garden. Continue reading

Google security changes mean you may need an SSL certificate

Changes to how Google Chrome treats standard HTTP websites mean that sites which collect any form of data – even simple contact forms or site search – will need a security certificate or risk being labelled as “not secure”.

Currently, where a site runs without an SSL security certificate, Google flags pages that collect client information using a “i” before the URL in the browser URL field.

SSL certificates have traditionally been used for sites that collect sensitive personal and financial data, to ensure that any data is encrypted and secure. Many websites that collect non-sensitive information have operated without SSL certificates, and simply had the pages that include forms etc subtly marked by Google Chrome.

However, all that is about to change as Google ramps up its security requirements. From July, sites that currently have any pages marked as not secure will have a stronger warning posted in the URL field across the whole site (see image below)

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 11.29.58

Google is likely to take this further in future. Alongside this change, any site that has an SSL certificate from cybersecurity software company Symantec will not only be labelled as insecure but any links in Google will take the user straight to a warning page, rather than the site itself.

It is suspected that Google will eventually treat all “non secure” sites in this way.

Certification applies not only to websites but also applications such as webmail and online CMS systems.

We are recommending that all clients who have any form of data capture on their site should now purchase an SSL certificate.

You can check if you have a certificate in a couple of ways:

Call your site up in Google Chrome and check whether there is a “i” in place before your URL. If there is, you will need to get an SSL certificate.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 11.43.04

 

 

If you already have a certificate you should see a padlock symbol instead.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 11.41.34

 

Get in touch with us on 0117 3250091 or email us  if you think you  may need to get an SSL certificate installed on your site.

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National arboretum website builds on community engagement

Our new website for Friends Of Westonbirt Arboretum puts the organisations community at the heart of its online activity, with public fundraising tools and online resources for members.

The responsive website includes a number of tools for engaging supporters, including a community fundraising platform that allows members of the public to set up their own fundraising pages in support of the arboretum.

User-friendly membership and the sale of “virtual products’ including the ability to adopt parts of the arboretum via an interactive map are helping to drive fundraising and income generation for the national arboretum’s charity body by providing more focussed online engagement with their 30,000 members.

The site also brings the charity’s popular monthly magazine fully online, with a dedicated magazine and archive section included in the website’s blogging platform.

Visit FOWA’s website >>