Well, it’s been an arduous road to getting Rapidsite to a position somewhere near a release state. But a couple of months of hard work since the last blog post has seen numerous additions, updates and integrations for the Site Building tool from Customer Street.

The Form Plugin

The software has a new plugin in the way of a form, that can easily be added to a page simply by choosing the form plugin to be enabled and changing the page type to a form. There are three different form layouts to choose from and the form itself is editable by way of a click, where the fields that the form contains can be chosen from a set list.

For the front end the form submits it’s data to the E-Mail address provided from the package details of the customer, or to an alternate E-Mail address that can be specified in the site settings section of the software. There is some javascript validation to process the form before it is sent to the server, and also some on the back-end in case javascript has been disabled.

Content Analyser

Rapidsite now has it’s own Content Analyser tool that will parse the whole page (by page) and analyse it based on a set number of factors set by our SEO guru Lee Johnson. The tool gives you a score based on a number of factors such as the keyword density of the page, and on the pages editor this score is reflected for each page so you can easily see which pages pass, and which fail.

Along with this comes the ability to analyse content on the fly. As new content is typed into a page via the page editor, each time a text section is saved the analyser runs, updates the page, and the score is reflected in a small section at the bottom left of the screen. This means you can see your score as you type. To compliment this your page keyphrases are available below the text editor so it is more easy to see which words you should be focussing content on.

Sidebar Plugin

A new section to the system is the sidebar plugin, which was agreed should be made available to all to fill in the big gap left on the left or right-hand-side of the page when there are no sub pages to build a navigation from. The sidebar console has a link on the main admin area and drag and drop functionality in the console to allow ease of use, built in javascript using the YUI Library by Yahoo. The order that plugins appear reflects the order they will appear on the live site. At the moment there are three to choose from (or any combination of these can be used);

  • Sidebar Links – Allows your own links to be added to the sidebar and visible on each page of the site
  • Local Weather – This plugin shows the weather from a local region of the UK. Needs a little more work but works very well
  • Contact Details – Displays the contact details of the customer based on the address details from the CRM

Testing, Testing, Testing

Throughout the whole creation process, the Rapidsite Software has been thoroughly tested for consistency and it’s ability to work in a number of various environments. Major recent efforts have been made ensure the site works in all browsers and it has now come to a point where it can be accessed from any browser and is completely usable in all. There are a few style variations in some of the older versions of IE, which doesn’t support certain attributes, but these have been catered for in other ways to maintain the usability.

All of the tools that have been created have also been thoroughly tested by the developers and by a number of people from different areas to make sure that usability is flawless and there are no technical difficulties to be found. There are a few gray areas that are still under development, but the system works completely and can be used to create sites quickly and easily.

The other development stage is the theme creation process and the ability for all the created themes to work in all browsers without problems or display issues. The design team here at Customer Street have put in a great effort to ensure this and despite being told to make changes constantly have coped really well with learning CSS and have created some very nice looking themes for the customer to use. There are now over 115 themes available in a varying array of layouts.

And Now We Go Live…

So, the final process for Rapidsite, which is such a short way off now, is to get the system up and working live and to get some preliminary sites built. The difficult task as the moment is the script that is being written in order to allow customers to upgrade from the old version of Rapidsite to the new, in the easiest possible manner for them. Problems occur where the data storage method for old versions differs to the new, but Louis Judson and Matthew Kellett have started work on what looks set to be a very good script to allow the upgrade with speed and ease, building a new site, adding the pages and the content with just the click of a button by the customer.

Once this stage is complete the system is just about ready to go and we will see the first major release of the software to our teams here at Customer Street and to new customers with existing Rapidsites to upgrade and new customer who will have a much better site than the old system could offer.