Chicago Web Design & Business Catalyst Experts

| Call (312) 489-8422

Tools & Tips to Speed Up Website Development

- posted by



In our latest Chicago Business Catalyst User Group meeting (we know it has been a little while since the last) Brian Mulholland, our Senior Web Designer, shared practical tools and tips you can use to decrease the amount of time it takes to build a website. This presentation was focused on building websites using Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Business Catalyst and the Foundation Framework. With the use of these tips and tools you can build a custom responsive landing page in less than ten minutes! 

Foundation Framework if you are unfamiliar is an advanced responsive front-end framework. Foundation also makes it easier/faster for designers and engineers to code. Their three main taglines are its faster for users, faster to code and faster to learn. 

Faster for Users: Allows you to create optimized sites by letting you selectively load entire sections based o the client device type. 

Faster to Code: By popular demand Foundation now includes a medium grid. You can leverage, nestled between the small and large grids that you are used to. This means a lot less custom code for you to write! 

Faster to Learn: The new Getting Started guide makes it easier and faster to get up to speed with the framework. 

An essential toolkit for web-developers would be Emmet. With Emmet you can quickly write a bunch of code, wrap code with new tags, quickly traverse and select important cod parts and oh so much more! Emmet uses dynamic snippets and each abbreviation is transformed in runtime. Which slightly changes its name to get a different result.

Here is an example of the mage in action:

  • First type in a CSS- like abbreviation


  • Next run "Expand Abbreviation" action to expand it into HTML


By watching the link provided above through Emmet you could get a more in-depth explanation with examples.

Hopefully these tips and tools will help you with a speedier development process! We will be holding these User Group meeting every third Monday of the month and hope to see you there! Find out more information on what topics will be held and become a member to get updated information!

Muse. Business Catalyst. Together.

- posted by

Chicago Adobe Business Catalyst User Group Meeting

In this month's meeting of the Chicago Adobe Business Catalyst User Group, James Speers from Base Zero Productions gave the group valuable insight into how Adobe Muse and Adobe Business Catalyst can be used to deliver successful websites for small businesses. This post will contain an overview of the topics and tips discussed during the meeting.

How do Adobe Muse and Adobe Business Catalyst Work Together?


Adobe Muse is a website publishing tool with a similar user experience to Adobe InDesign. Traditionally Business Catalyst websites are designed in Photoshop, coded in Dreamweaver, then integrated into the Business Catalyst Content Management System. Muse provides designers a different path for creating websites. The structure, layout and design of the website is put together in Muse. When everything is all set the site can be deployed to Business Catalyst directly without the need of coding. From a Muse perspective, Adobe Business Catalyst is the cloud based hosting environment for Muse projects. This visual process of building websites is really exciting for designers.

One Way Publishing

The integration with Adobe Muse and Adobe Business Catalyst is a one way push of data from Muse to Business Catalyst (at the time of writing). Build you site in Muse, then deploy the site to Business Catalyst. If you want to incorporate Business Catalyst modules into your Muse Site you can insert Business Catalyst module tags into your Muse templates inside of Muse. If you make changes to your templates, stylesheets or other files in Business Catalyst these changes are not synced back with your Muse files. This means that if you redeploy your Muse site to Business Catalyst again in the future it could override changes you made in Business Catalyst.

Muse/BC Tips

Global.css

Don't touch this file in Business Catalyst since this file is controlled by Muse and will be overwritten by Muse.

muse_manifest.xml

When there are major updates to Muse it is a good idea to delete this file before redeploying your Muse site to BC. An example, when Muse went from templates to different versions of templates for "Desktop", "Tablet", and "Mobile".

Accessing BC CMS Features on Muse Sites

If you ever wondered where all the Business Catalyst features went when working with a website that was published by Muse? Chances are that the "Enable online content editing (incompatible with Muse)" checkbox is unchecked. To access this, go to "My Details" found under your name in the top right. See screenshot below for location on the page.

Chicago Adobe Business Catalyst User Group

This group gets together on the second Tuesday of every month at Prasino in Wicker Park, Chicago, IL. For more information about the group and to view upcoming events, please visit the meetup page.


Adobe Business Catalyst Holiday Party

- posted by

Come celebrate the holidays with Chicago Digital and Adobe Business Catalyst Users

It's that time of year again to celebrate! Come along and network with fellow Business Catalyst Partners and users. Talk shop, relax, and let your hair down. This event is free to attend and is bound to be lots of fun!

Event Details

WHERE: Prasino - 1846 West Division Street, Chicago, IL
WHEN: December 11th from 6PM - 9PM
COST: FREE
FOOD/DRINK: Provided until our tab runs out, so come early!!

A reason to celebrate

The future holds some amazing things for Business Catalyst and this has been a very exiting year. Some of the most notable Adobe BC milestones include:

  • Inclusion in the Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Dreamweaver CS6 Integration
  • Muse Integration
  • Level 1 PCI Compliance
  • First Adobe BC Partner Events (Australia and US)
  • Rise of Adobe BC User Groups
  • BC Townhall Meetings
  • New support system and documentation
  • Modules inside Email Marketing
  • V3 Interface becomes standard

Event Sponsors

This event is made possible by sponsors: Adobe Business Catalyst, Chicago Digital, and BC Academe.

Chicago BC User Group

2012 marks the first year of the official Adobe Community Group: "Chicago BC User Group". 5 events were held in the first year and heading into 2013 we will be holding events every month. The location, time, and date is standardized to make it easier for everyone to attend. The 2nd Tuesday of every month we meet at Prasino in Wicker Park from 6 - 8 PM.

Join the Chicago BC User Group

To stay up to date on the latest meetings, please visit our Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-BC/

For those who could not attend this historic event that took place in Chicago on March 28th, 2012 at Depaul University, I have provided a recap of the meeting and a brief background on what brought the 24 of us together on this evening.

 

Welcome-Adobe-Business-Catalyst-Meeting

 

Setting the Stage

The group was formed to educate, support, and inspire local business owners, website designers/developers, online marketers, and students around the topic of building and promoting businesses online with Adobe Business Catalyst. This group is a first step in building a local community around a product that I am extremely passionate about and use everyday. I look forward to learning from, teaching and networking with passionate, talented individuals in the Chicagoland area.

 

Welcome to the Meeting

At this meeting we welcomed 18 attendees who consisted of the following:

  • Current Business Owners who use Business Catalyst
  • Day-to-day Users of Business Catalyst
  • Aspiring Entrepreneurs
  • Online Marketers
  • Non BC Developers interested in learning about BC

Presentation: Landing Page Optimization

Presenter: Kelly Muldoon - Connect to Patients

To kickoff the event, I introduced Kelly Muldoon, a woman who has been successfully helping dentists bring more patients through their door, around the clock, for the past 8 years. Kelly's unique approach is the culmination of her online marketing expertise, experience, and research.

Kelly-Muldoon-online-marketing

Traffic + Conversion = Profits

Kelly highlighted various techniques on how to convert the traffic once they get to your website. She discussed the many types of people who visit your website and how focusing on the often neglected groups can increase your conversions and profits in the long run. The 4 different types of people who may visit your website include:

  • People who are interested and ready to commit now
  • People who are interested but are not ready to commit now
  • People who are somewhat interested but need further information/persuasion
  • People who are not interested at all

You can ignore group #4. The most opportunity to differentiate you from competitors is in groups 2 and 3. If someone is not immediately ready to take your desired step, you should have a plan to move people from groups 2 and 3 to group 1. Practical examples from Kelly’s presentation:

  • Weekly Dental Hygiene Tips Email Marketing Campaign
    • This campaign provides useful information to the potential patient, constantly reinforces the dentists brand, and keeps the patient coming back to the website. This strategy works well for people in both groups 2 and 3.
  • Information Packet Download
    • After giving up basic information, the user can download a PDF that contains more information about the service (such as sedation dentistry). This appeals to the 3rd group who may be ready to commit if they become convinced that Sedation Dentistry is right for them.

Presentation: Building a BC Website in 30 Minutes

Presenter: Scott Shefler - Chicago Digital

Next I introduced seasoned BC Developer and cofounder of Chicago Digital, Scott Shefler. In just 30 minutes Scott gave the audience a demonstration on how to put together a basic website in Business Catalyst. The audience discovered how templates, content holders, photo galleries, dynamic menus, and web apps can be built with ease. The developers in the room were excited to see that this functionality works right within HTML and CSS.

scott-shefler-BC-developer

Business Catalyst Resources

BC-gurus Tribe-Vita

BC Gurus (left)

BC Gurus has emerged as one the industry's leading blogs. Their Pro Community is a fantastic resource for Business Catalyst Partners who are looking to take their business to the next level. Brent Weaver and team provide valuable information around various topics including sales, design, and development (just to name a few).

http://www.bcgurus.com

Kiyuco (not pictured)

Kiyuco is the go-to resource for development tips and tricks. Jason Tinnin provides videos along with code snippets to create an enjoyable learning experience.

http://www.kiyuco.com

TribeVita (right)

TribeVita provides websites ready to go, out of the box. TribeVita goes beyond a traditional template resource by providing full integration with Business Catalyst. All attendees of the meeting received a discount code good for 20% off any template purchase.

http://www.tribevita.com

Others

Do you have a great resource for the Adobe Business Catalyst community? Please let me know.

Q&A

  • Is Business Catalyst compatible with HTML5?
    • Since Business Catalyst works natively within HTML and CSS, Business Catalyst is compatible with HTML5. You would write your HTML5 code as you normally would and insert the BC tags within the HTML.
  • Is Business Catalyst scalable?
    • No server or database setups allow for easy replication of websites. Also, these websites are hosted on Adobe's cloud infrastructure, meaning you do not have to migrate servers as your website's traffic and bandwidth grows.
  • How BC is Setup (If you are a business owner and want to get a website built with BC, what kinds of people or skill sets do you need to hire)?
    • This question depends on whether you go the custom or templated route. The Adobe Paradigm for the custom route is a simple 3 step process:
      1. Design your website in Photoshop (need a designer for this)
      2. Code your website in Dreamweaver (need a front end developer for this)
      3. Integrate, Host, Manage, and Run your website in Business Catalyst (need a BC Partner for this)
  • Existence of plugins or app marketplaces?
    • The global BC community is still in its infancy and there are only a few resources out there. As of today there are not any common app marketplaces (to my knowledge) as you would think about this in the context of other systems: like WordPress, Salesforce, etc.

Networking

business-catalyst-networking

Before and after the event attendees networked while enjoying food and beverages. I had the pleasure of conversing with a variety of people and I look forward to seeing both familiar and unfamiliar faces at our monthly meetings.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this exciting event and I am extremely pleased to see people coming together to enhance our collective knowledge.

To stay up to date on the latest meetings, please visit our Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-BC/