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Old 28th December 2011, 07:18 PM   #1
RobFaas
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Default Smart Objects - Wish List

Folks,
Just this past summer (2011) I ventured into the web site design arena and admittedly still have limited expertise. I chose Web Plus as my development platform for its usability ratings in the Top 10 list for Web Design software in the hope that I could design web sites without having to learn HTML and for the most part the product fills this need.

My problem/challenge is that the business that I am venturing into is to develop web sites for clients and to be able to hand basic content management over to each client's designated administrator.

My sites at this stage are of a more basic nature because I am limiting site design to the features and design capabilities of Web Plus.

Over the past 4-5 months I have had several conversations with Serif Technical support staff who have all been very helpful in my initial learning and utilization of Web Plus. At the same time, these conversations have lead me to question the decision to utilize Serif Webplus for a business model such as mine (developing for clients).

With the implementation of the first phase of my first client web site (stjoes-church.ca) I thought it would be a good time to compile a short list of content types which I feel should become Smart Objects available through Serif Web Resources or that they be further enhanced from the perspective of developing for a client.

In reading the Web Plus User Guide for more information on Smart Objects, it seems to position the benefit to Smart Objects being the ability to remotely access specific Smart Objects without requiring access to the PC with Webplus loaded on it. Again, this comes across to me as being from a perspective of one's own web site...

I have deployed 2 Smart Objects with the intention of them being able to be content 'Managed' (Serif Web Resources' term for administration) by my client admin staff but have had to adjust settings to get the functionality desired.
Let me first say here, that getting to this point required several discussions with Serif Technical support staff for what was a readily available solution to finally reveal itself. My frustration is that the language I used (my terminology) didn't seem to 'click' with the thinking of the support staff - I presume being that they don't think of the product from the perspective of developing for a client...

Anyway, here are the 2 Content Types I did deploy and the Smart Objects which more or less got the job done:

1) Bulletin Board (via Blog Smart Object)
- The client wanted the ability to post bulletins and that there be multiple Boards throughout the site, each potentially owned by different groups.
- The Blog Smart Object was deployed but I had to turn off the Public Comments Blog setting and a few others.
- Biggest complaint deploying the Blog, no matter what Blog templates is deployed they seem to have a minimum default size which ends up requiring a lot of space just to display even 2-3 posts (bulletins).

2) Text Box (via News Smart Object)
- The client wants the ability to have editable Text Messages throughout the web site, typically serving as introductions to pages/sections of the site.
- The Problem with the CMS Smart Object is that it requires the physical positioning of the word 'Administration' on the actual web site page where the CMS module is deployed. Where (on the internet) do you ever see a word placed with a content item to allow for external editing?
- Anyway, the News Smart Object seems to do the job
- Only problem is with regards to the placement of an image or Photo into its rich text editor (separate issue below).

So here is my current wish list, that I hope will be addressed soon before having to come to the decision that for even a fairly basic web site (in terms of handing off client administration) I may need to go the route of designing using other more open web development platforms such as Joomla (recommendations I am getting from more experienced designers)...

1) Bulletin Board

- Needs to be its own Smart Object Class
- Intention is to post important announcements
- No need for Comments
- Physical size of each item needs to take up less space

2) Animated Marquee
- This is the ideal tool (which I have deployed within the master page) to serve as the channel through which to draw visitor attention to the most important announcements.
- This is very typical of a few other portal class web sites that I am a subscriber to.
- This content item is currently only available in the designer mode which means it is not able to be externally managed.
- Currently, the client has to contact me once per week with the edits that are required.
- I have to perform a full web site update (60+ pages) for the Marquee to be updated on each page.
- If this content type were to become a Smart Object it could 1) be updated through external access and 2) not require a full site update. With the developer 'inserting' the Smart Object in the Master Page, each of the site's pages would automatically point to the content of the Smart Object sitting on Serif's Web Resources Server - thereby displaying the Object's current content.

3) Rich Text Editors - Attaching Images
- In my deployment of the News Smart Object, its Rich Text Editor allows for the insertion of an image but the image must be physically located on another external server.
- It would be nice if there could be an option to simply browse a PC and upload and embed an image file.

4) Image Box
- Taking the above one step further, it would be ideal to offer an Image Box as a Smart Object. The site developer establishes the Image Box's design and positioning within the site, but a client is able to update the image directly (retaining design elements).

5) Rich Text Editor and Copy / Pasting
- Currently the basic copy / paste (from the clipboard) functionality does not work from within a Smart Object's Rich Text editor. If the text based content item has a lengthy message to be displayed it has to be completely manually retyped even though the text may already exist in an external document. This is not efficient.

Last edited by RobFaas; 28th December 2011 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 28th December 2011, 07:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Smart Objects - Wish List

This thread will be moved to the Product Suggestions forum, Smart Objects thread above.
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