D. Agency - Knowledge Tonic

Middleweight Drupal Developer Vacancy

D. Agency Hiring Drupal Developer

US

We are one of the UK’s fastest growing Digital Agencies delivering exciting projects using the Drupal framework.

We believe users around the world should enjoy more compelling online experiences and Drupal helps us deliver on that vision.

Our team contributes regularly to the community, and we are in the process of launching our first distribution called DRUMA (Drupal for musical artists).

We’re Drupal through-and-through, and keen to talk to developers with a demonstrable track record on medium to large scale projects over the last 3-years.

If you’re worked with Drupal already that’s an advantage. If you haven’t, we can fast track you through our D. Academy but we’ll need to see the right passion for the product and the community.

YOU

Ideally situated in Bournemouth, Southampton, Poole or at least in daily commuting distance to Bournemouth, you’ll have a solid programming background.

You might not have a degree in Computer Science, so if you don’t, Zend Certification or similar will help, and you’ll have been developing in PHP for 3-years.

Brownie points will be scored for Drupal Organisation Membership, Contributions to the Community, experience working on Acquia Cloud, and Acquia Certified Developer status.

Above all though, you’ll have the potential to stretch your legs and solve real world client challenges with the most appropriate solutions.

Desirable

  • Drupal 7 Site building experience
  • Drupal 7 module and theme development
  • Responsive theming using HTML5 + CSS3
  • JavaScript / jQuery development
  • Experience with version control systems, particlarly GIT
  • Scrum and Agile workflow experience
     

Drupal Developer Skills

OUR STUDIO

We have just expanded into larger studios within The Picture House, a converted cinema and retro hub of like-minded creative businesses.

It’s a chilled environment, with a luxury kitchen, dining area and private shower. Bournemouth train station is a 20-minute walk; we are on the main bus route from town, and a 35-minute drive in from Southampton.

D. Agency Studio

 

OUR AMBITIONS

We are an ambitious agency set to double in size during 2014. We work on a diverse portfolio of projects for international businesses’ and are keen to make our mark around the world.

There’s a lot of respect for our people and we are big on maximising potential. We are building one of the most comprehensively skilled Drupal teams in the world and look forward to seeing how you’d expect to help us achieve that.

BENEFITS

  • Competitive salary – dependent on experience, with 6-monthly ramp-ups
  • Staff bonus scheme
  • Continuous professional development
  • Personal accreditation programmes funded
  • Prestigious environment

 

WHAT NEXT?

If you are looking for a move and think you fit our profile, get in touch now.

Even if you’re not desperately seeking to move right now, get on our radar because we are moving fast and you never know how things may change.

We don’t do formal interviews straight away. Our Studio Director Phil Allen prefers to meet up for an informal chat over a coffee or a beer.

If the vibe is right, we can take things further.

 

SORRY: ABSOLUTELY NO AGENCIES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES – IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS POSITION BUT ASK AN AGENCY TO APPROACH US ON YOUR BEHALF, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONSIDER YOUR APPLICATION

Can Drupal Sites Run Effectively on a Windows Server?

Windows Server Drupal Hosting

It’s not uncommon for us to receive requests to build, maintain and/or host Drupal websites on Windows servers.

Here are the main reasons why:

Familiarity – The client is aware of the Windows brand and trusts it.

Experience – The client has existing IT staff, well versed in administrating and maintaining Windows servers.

Costs – The client wants to make use of their existing Windows environment to save costs.

Integration – The project needs integration between a Drupal solution and Windows specific software such as a back-end office, ERP or CRM.

Considerations

Setting up Drupal on Windows server might seem like the logical solution, but here are a few things to consider when considering deploying Drupal on a platform that is not naturally optimized for this use:

  • If set-up, deployment, development and testing tasks take longer, then development costs will be higher.
  • If core updates, security patches and contributed module work takes longer to implement, then ongoing maintenance costs will be higher. If these tasks are skipped because they’re difficult to implement efficiently, then the chances of a security breach are increased.
  • Drupal is a big beast and performance optimization is essential to a successful project. Slow loading pages increase friction, create stress, cause abandonment, and may affect your visibility in Google search.

Challenges

1. Development Skills Crossover

The Drupal community now numbers over a million individuals (based on active drupal.org member accounts).  Let’s be conservative and say that a quarter of that number is developers. 

That’s a pretty healthy talent pool to dip into but is dwarfed by the number of skilled Windows technicians there are out there.  The problem is that there is not as much overlap as you might hope between the two.

No developers are well versed in every available technology, and most will focus on a number of associated technologies or disciplines, so a Drupal developer is likely to be highly up to speed with PHP, MySQL, Apache, Linux, and quite possibly other CMS’s, programming languages, etc that go together with other parts of that knowledge base, (e.g. Wordpress, node.js, etc). 

Likewise someone who has the skills to administrate a Windows server is quite likely to have experience with .NET, SQL Server, IIS, etc.

Unfortunately, the reverse is also true… An individual that’s dedicated a large amount of their career to open source development (which is probably the case if they’ve ended up being a Drupal Developer) is less likely to have the same skills as a Microsoft certified technician and vice versa.

Now I’m being careful to use words such as ‘likely’ here, since there will be many exceptions; highly talented and technologically agnostic individuals who can fit into both sets of shoes, but it’s safe to say these are very much a minority. 

Which means that the large talent pool we were looking at before has now shrunk significantly.  There’s no reliable source of numbers here but I’m guessing that you’d be looking at most a few thousand individuals worldwide… many of whom will not be available to contract in.

You can imagine that it will be difficult to find the right people and probably more costly when you do.

If you do already have any tame Drupal Developers who are also Windows server administrators on the side then you’re in a fortunate position, but bear in mind that you would be in the same position if they become unavailable or the relationship breaks down.

2. Robustness

Drupal can and does run on Windows… There are almost certainly examples of Drupal sites on Windows out there.  

However installations on Windows will be a significant minority.  Again it's difficult to get hard numbers on this but I wouldn't be surprised if less that 1% of Drupal sites run on Windows.  

If the proportion is 1% then that means only 1% of site building and maintenance time is occurring on Windows based builds, and if we assume that Windows sites get the same average traffic then only 1% of end user interaction occurs on Windows hosted sites.

In addition, the vast majority of development of the code within Drupal itself and contributed modules and themes is likely to have been done on a LINUX/UNIX based operating system running Apache.

The upshot of this is that if there are issues with Drupal (or it's modules/themes) that only appear on one operating system or server software then they are far more likely to have been found and solved already on say a LAMP stack then on Windows/IIS.

3. Optimization

During the process of putting together any software, including content systems such as Drupal, hard decisions have to be made based on performance.  

An optimization that might improve performance in one set of circumstances could reduce it in another, and sometimes in these situations the developers end up join deciding that the improvement for the many trumps the degradation for the few.  In the case of Windows / Linux / Anything else, it's pretty easy to imagine which system will end up getting the most benefit from optimization.

The individual decisions may not make much difference on their own, but the combined effect of many such performance decreases across a system as large as Drupal will likely be significant.

Additionally, there's far more chance that performance issues that exist in Drupal on Windows may not have been identified / isolated / resolved purely because of the much smaller amount of time that can go into testing and developing on Windows.

4. Support

I'm talking about support from Drupal core developers, module maintainers and the community in general here.

If you encounter an issue that occurs in Drupal on Windows and is down to some low level difference in the way that Windows or IIS works, and it cannot be solved without Drupal core or a module being modified then you may find it difficult to get the help you need.

This could be because the relevant people (e.g. the maintainer of the module in question) don't…

Have the relevant experience in the differences that are causing the issue to identify or resolve it

Have the facilities readily available and set up to replicate it

Regard it as a priority… This may seem churlish but in reality if they have an issue queue with 20 open issues which could all effect 99% of users then how much priority do you think they will give to issues that only effect 1%?

Summary

Whilst Drupal can run on Windows, it may not be possible to run your particular project as efficiently on Windows over a Drupal tuned hosting stack or cloud instance such as Acquia.

If you can’t, then less efficiency means more development and maintenance cost, less reliability in certain instances, and a potential increase in friction between everyone involved in making the project a success.

Just to be clear, we don't have any kind of anti-Windows agenda here. There’s no suggestion that Windows is in any way inferior as a hosting environment, you just need a very unique combination of expertise to match what’s possible with a Drupal specific environment that’s been designed to make workflow, performance and security as good as it can be.

Resources

Acquia Drupal HostingAcquia
Cloud based Drupal hosting with network support and a suite of performance and security optimization tools. Acquia was founded by Dries Buyert, the inventor of Drupal, and is a specifically optimized product than runs on the AWS Cloud (Amazon Web Services).

 

 

Pantheon Drupal HostingPantheon
Pantheon is a logical alternative to Acquia. It’s also a Drupal tuned environment that uses Rackspace at its core. It’s a different configuration but a real alternative. Unfortunately, at the time of writing there are no Pantheon servers in the EU.

 

 

Rackspace Drupal HostingRackspace
If you want to lease a dedicated server, or even investigate Hybrid Cloud hosting, then Rackspace is an alternative. They also offer ‘Fanatical Support’ and have plenty of advocacy to back this up.

 

INFOGRAPHIC: State of Digital Marketing in 2014 - Report By Webmarketing 123

 

2014 State of Digital Marketing – An infographic by the team at Webmarketing123

 

Read what our customers say about D. Agency

speech-1D.’s ability to produce and maintain a website that meets our needs is outstanding! The understanding of our requirements, the flexibility of change and the responsive communication makes D. Agency a leader in their field."

Milestones Garage

 

speech-1D.'s consistently great service coupled with their incisive understanding of the needs of our businesses have combined to produce a lengthy and successful business relationship." 

Gold Track Driving Club

 

speech-1Your professional approach and the way you planned to not just build a brochure on the Internet, but a site that would be tailored to my clientele and would actually work for me was a completely different approach from companies I'd dealt with previously. True to your word, our first lead was generated the day after launch."

Boyland Windows

 

speech-1Phil’s team were integral in making this project work, we all pulled off an amazing project in very little time, within budget. It works, we won & it is a thing of beauty! Early Symptoms Alzheimer’s, I couldn’t have done it without them! It has been a pleasure working together - I highly recommend them."

Tudor Reilly

 

 

Why You Need an Inbound Marketing Website

You will doubtless have noticed an increase in focus on the subject of Content Marketing over the last year or so.

In fact, Content Marketing has become such a buzz, its given rise to a whole new area of career development for savvy marketers. It’s not uncommon to see job roles such as Content Strategist and Content Marketer making up a digital team now.

In this article, I’d like to explore what’s behind the move towards Content Marketing as fundamental part of Digital Strategy, but first, let’s look at the difference between an Organisation Centric culture and a Customer Centric culture:

Organisation Centric Culture Vs Customer Centric Culture

You can see that an Organisation Centric culture puts most of its trust and faith in product and service feature sets. There may be a sprinkling of perceived benefits thrown in, and a lot of time will be spent crafting the business introduction and About Us sections of the site to try and demonstrate differentiation.

This strategy worked fine when competition in the digital landscape was less fierce, but now that it is, we have to look at engaging audiences much earlier in the sales cycle.

The following diagram demonstrates a typical search journey with an overlay of two very important factors:

Search Journey

Key Factor 1: 80% of users start their search journey in this way

Key Factor 2: By the time a prospect engages a business for comparative pricing, they are more than 70% commited to a single prospective vendor. This is one of the main reasons a business may witness lower lead or sale conversion rates.

The second statistic is particularly important. The majority of users will compare at least three suppliers to benchmark price and value in the final stages of purchase. However, the typical user who is completing this search journey will already be showing a 70% intent to a preferred vendor.

So targeting customers in the Tracker Phase with an Organisation Centric culture can be highly ineffective because you are relying on countering the feeling of trust, integrity, reputation and value that has been fostered by a more effective Customer Centric culture in this scenario.

Organisation Centric versus Customer Centric Web Development and Content Curating Strategies

See how this translates into two different approaches to website development and content curation:

Organisation Centric Vs Customer Centric Web Development

 

Six Steps To Adopting a Customer Centric Culture

If you are interested in exploring the benefits of a customer centric culture for your next project, here are six steps to get you started:

1. BENCHMARKING  »  2. PERSONAS  »  3. USER JOURNEY  »  4. CONTENT  »  5. CAMPAIGN  »  6. MEASUREMENT

1. BENCHMARKING

Help your board members and stakeholders make decisions based on metrics...

  • Produce a Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard to agree which metrics and KPI’s are most relevant to your organisation
  • Produce a central hub of KPI metrics that can be recorded on a month-by-month basis. Ensure you have a column for MOM Growth, and group your metrics based on RACE (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage)
  • Use advanced Google analytics to help curate metrics for above
  • Integrate an advanced metrics dashboard into your Website CMS reporting

 

2. PERSONAS

Ditch assumption and use real data to profile your audience and create accurate personas...

  • Segment your market
  • Discover your persona goals
  • Discover how your customers learn
  • Discover their goals
  • Discover their challenges and frustrations
  • Discover their preferences

 

3. USER JOURNEYS

Armed with a factual in-depth understanding of the issues, needs and challenges your audience faces you can now define the following with greater accuracy:

  • Key user journeys or the ‘red routes’ your audience needs to follow
  • The information they need
  • Content and functional requirements that will drive engagement
  • Rich media elements that will provide a more compelling experience

User journeys can be mapped on schematic diagrams or static wireframes, but by far the most effective way of demonstrating this in a Rapid Prototype.

A Rapid Prototype is a clickable version of an intended Website. Prototypes can by built quickly and tested in various ways to ensure the requirements of the market segmentation and persona requirements are managed effectively.

 

4. CONTENT

Consider what content needs to be available for the different stages of the buying process and define this in a Content Strategy.

What content will answer the questions and concerns your audience has around whether to buy your product or service?

You’ll need to earn your audiences permission to speak to them by whichever channel they prefer (telephone, contact submission, quote request, product demo, whitepaper request etc.) – how will the content on your website achieve this?

What content can you publish to demonstrate your knowledge leadership and how easily can your different audience types get to it?

 

5. CAMPAIGN

Here is a logical flow charting the lead and sale generation process:

UNAWARE>INTERESTED>ENGAGED>OPPORTUNITY

So armed with knowledge about your audience personas and the kind of content that will engage them, you will be able to plan refinements to the structure and content in your current Website, or drive a better outcome for a new Design & Build.

Now it’s time to develop inbound marketing initiatives such as SEO, Paid Search, and Social Media Marketing:

  • Benchmark your Digital Marketing Capability with a score based situation analysis
  • Produce a Digital Marketing SWOT adapted to recognise Strategies
  • Produce a Digital Marketing Plan Summary
  • Produce a Digital Strategy Summary
  • Prioritise digital marketing initiatives
  • Develop a long-term strategic initiative roadmap

You can search the web for free resources to help with Digital Marketing Planning, team up with a web agency that can help in this area, or choose to work with a dedicated inbound marketing agency.

The skills you currently have in-house, and the scale of your business operations will govern the choice of approach.
 

6. MEASUREMENT

"What's measured improves." - Peter F. Drucker

Analytics is the cornerstone of inbound marketing strategy and armed with your Benchmarking tools you can quickly…

  • Demonstrate the impact of incremental increases in Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • Help departments assign budgets based on ROI rather than percentages of last year’s turnover
  • Help to join up what can be a disjointed picture of your online activities
  • Help react quickly to changes in customer behaviour
  • Help sales and marketing departments align in more efficient ways

Summary

The appeal of inbound marketing as a cultural change is driven primarily by its ability to deliver increases in online performance that can have a dramatic effect on sales revenue.

Moreover, this lift in sales revenue comes at a lower cost than traditional marketing methods so the effect can be felt directly on the bottom line.

Adopting an inbound strategy is easier than you think, once your team is on-board. Actions and transactions can be tracked, measured and optimised to increase the value of your online efforts.

No more neglecting the real potential of your Website, or struggling to understand how the digital landscape can all be made to fit together.

Just a clear actionable strategy that will bring management, sales and marketing together in a new customer centric culture.

Pages

Free Updates

Stay informed on our latest news!

Subscribe to Free Updates feed

Tags

Authors

Archive

Latest tweets