All in the <head> – Ponderings and code by Drew McLellan –

Launch Week

I’m in the fortunate position these days of being able to see lots of my work go live all the time. We work on lots of projects for a whole range of clients, and we’re shipping stuff constantly. That’s great, but what’s even better is when it’s your own projects that you’re shipping.

This week (and it’s only Tuesday) has been a mammoth week for launching some of the stuff we’ve been working on lately. First up, yesterday we shipped a new version of our little CMS product Perch. Version 1.6 includes lots of big new features, many of which are centred on improving user confidence when making edits to their sites. Lots of the end users who wind up using Perch are small business owners, administrators, club secretaries, all the sort of people who easily might not be that confident using online software. So we focussed on making them more comfortable. We added multi-level undo, save-as-draft and content preview. We also did some interesting stuff with maps and our app API, as well as fixing small bugs.

If anything, I should have aimed to include fewer features in Perch 1.6, as it became difficult to ship – there was too much in it. Lesson learned.

Once we had the final build of Perch 1.6, we set about updating our online demo. I had ‘designed’ the example site that demo users get to try Perch with back in June of last year, and to be honest, it was pretty bad. It was underselling our product, so we decided it was time to get a designer in on the case. Local designer Andrew Appleton at Float Left came up trumps with a great redesign. You can read about it on his portfolio, or sign up for a demo and try it out yourself.

Today, the third thing we shipped was a refresh of our corporate site Learning to ship early and ship often, there’s still a few finer details we want to iron out in the implementation, but it’s live. It’ll continue to be live and grow over time. We’ve focussed everything down to pretty much a single page-plus-blog.

Tonight sees the return for a sixth year of our popular web design and development periodical 24 ways. We’ve got a really terrific lineup of articles in the works, with, as ever, a new article going live each day from tonight until Christmas. This year, as well as Brian helping out as he has the last few years, Anna Debenham and Owen Gregory have stepped up to help with some of the production practicalities. The assistance is very much appreciated, especially when you consider the fifth thing we have to ship…

… which happens at 10am tomorrow morning over at 24 ways. It’s a collaboration involving more than 30 friends and colleagues, and I think you’re going to like it.