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Informative commentary on the web industry from the experts at Itomic.

April 17, 2014

WordPress 3.9 is now out. Are you ready?

By Izumi Mitsui

The official release of WordPress 3.9 has now been announced.
Dedicated to the jazz legend Jimmy Smith, the main objective is to close the gap between ‘what you see’ and ‘what you get’ to enhance usability. Detailed information here: http://wordpress.org/news/2014/04/smith/  

Most dashboards will now display this notification:

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.07.18 AM

Before you let your trigger happy finger loose on the update, consider the following:

 

  • Am I jumping more than one version of WordPress with this update? 
  • Does my website have custom functionality? (e.g. E-Commerce, Multisite, Members login etc)

If this is you, we recommend contacting your web developer and get some consultation before jumping in.
Seemingly simple updates can clash with other plugins and functionalities of existing features causing the site to break or not operate properly. 

Want to make the update? Or already made the update and it’s broken something?

Keep calm, give us a call. We can help. 

jimmysmith_pointing

 


March 18, 2014

Isn’t WordPress for blogs?

By Izumi Mitsui

If you’ve been anywhere online or looked at getting a website in the recent years ‘WordPress’ is probably a common term you’ve heard thrown around even if you’re not web savvy.  

Wordpress specialists perth - itomic

Itomic – WordPress specialists perth

Contrary to popular belief WordPress is much more than a blogging platform.

Since it’s first release in 2003 (primarily for blogging purposes), the improvements to the architecture over time has allowed websites to have many complex functionalities such as inclusion of shopping carts and accepting automated payments. It currently boasts over 60 million websites globally and the numbers are rapidly increasing every year.

At Itomic we aim to make the most of modern Web Technology available to us, and here is why we think WordPress is so great and decided to become specialists of this platform.

WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS). The CMS allows you to freely add/edit/remove content and pages from a website at anytime. Being an open source platform means there’s a global community contributing to the continual improvement of the system making sure it’s adapting to the digital landscape. (i.e. At the time of writing, WordPress 3.8 is the latest release which identify items such as Social Media integration and mobile responsiveness to be a standard request from end users.)

This agile approach ensures new features and security upgrades are being released on a regular basis to ensure the integrity of the website.

Ok, that’s enough about why we get excited about WordPress. Here are some reasons why it’s great for you and the end users:

WordPress is Open Source

There is no ‘lock-in’ to a vendor, so you are free to take your WordPress website anywhere that supports it.   

WordPress is Simple

WordPress has the ability to take a complex set of features and display them in a user friendly, intuitive format for your users and make it easy for you to administer and monitor performance via the dashboard.

WordPress is Scalable 

When it comes to WordPress development it’s helpful to see it as building blocks. Additional features in the future are easily accommodated without having to start from scratch.  

Like what you’ve read so far? Ready to give WordPress a run for your new project or want to find out more?

We can help, let’s start a conversation!

 


February 22, 2013

Keeping your open source CMS updated with security patches

By Ross Gerring

Arguably the top 3 open source website CMS (Content Management Systems) on the planet are: Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. Unfortunately their huge popularity comes at a price: they’re more attractive to mischief makers (i.e. hackers) than less popular systems. So keeping your site updated with the latest security patches (much like keeping your PC’s anti-virus software up-to-date) is a smart way to minimise the chance of your website – and perhaps the entire server where it’s being hosted – from being abused.

How often, on average, does you Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla site need to be security patched? We spotted a good article on this subject by a bloke called Steve Burge. We’ve re-printing it in full, below, because it’s been retired from the URL http://admincredible.com/blog/item/37-how-often.


If you want a safe website, you have to update it regularly.

Developers need to provide you with security patches and bug-fixes. It might not be enjoyable, but it’s got to be done.

But, how often do you need to update?

I get asked this question a lot. Until now, I’d always had to guess and come up with an approximate answer such as “every 2 months”.

I wanted to give people a more accurate answer, so I sat down to calculate exactly how often people need to update their Joomla, WordPress and Drupal sites.

Here are the results:

How often do sites need updates?

Let’s look at the raw numbers first:

  • WordPress has 62 releases in 87 months between December 2005 and February 2013. That’s an average of 42 days per release.
  • Drupal 6 has 26 releases in 48 months and Drupal 7 has 15 releases in 25 months. That’s an average of 51 days per release.
  • Joomla 1.5 had 27 releases in 26 months, Joomla 2.5 had 20 releases in 25 months and Joomla 3 had 4 releases in 6 months. That’s an average of 36 days per release.

Some notes: I tried to exclude duplicate releases. So I only counted one version whenever Drupal launched a security release and a bug-fix release at the the same time. I also removed a couple of Joomla versions, such as 1.6.6, which were designed only for a small sub-set of users.

How regularly are updates released?

I found that the regularity of releases varies widely with the software.

Note: with the graphs below, the blue area shows the updates and the red area is the trend line that I added.

WordPress releases have been remarkably consisten over time. We mentioned that WordPress release came every 1.4 months. They really have deviated very little from that schedule since 2006.

Drupal 7 in an interesting case and shows a lot of variation. It took 5 months after launch for the release of Drupal 7.1, but there have been 4 releases in the last 5 months.

Drupal 6, Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 all show a clear pattern. There were regular updates in the first year and then updates slowed rapidly over time as the versions became more stable.

With Drupal 6, there were 9 releases in 2008 but only 4 in 2012.

With Joomla 1.5, there were 9 releases in 2008 but only 4 in 2011 and 2012 combined.

With Joomla 2.5, there were 10 releases in 2011, but only 3 in the last 8 months.

So, how often do I need to update my site?

  • WordPress users can expect to update every 42 days. Because this strong pattern has shown for 7 years, it’s reasonable to predict that it will continue.
  • Drupal users can expect to update every 51 days. Drupal 6 users can now expect relatively few updates, but Drupal 7 is harder to predict.
  • Joomla users can expect to update every 36 days, although that number is increasing. Joomla 2.5 users can now expect relatively few updates, but Joomla 3 is harder to predict particularly given that it’s been out for the shortest length of time amongst our examples.

Is this all there is to the story?

Simply, no.

On the one hand, it’s now easy to understand why more than two-thirds of Joomla, WordPress and Drupal sites are out-of-date. Updating about every 6 weeks is hard for busy people.

On the other hand, the frequency of updates alone doesn’t tell the whole story. I can think of least five important points that we didn’t include in this blog, but which impact how hard it is to keep a site up-to-date.

We didn’t talk about:

  1. How often sites need to update their plugins / extensions / modules / templates / themes. Because sites vary on which and how many add-ons they have installed, I’m thinking this would be harder to calculate. If anyone has any good ideas on how this could be calculated accurately, I’d love to hear it.
  2. How stable or buggy the releases were.
  3. How easy the updates are to apply.
  4. How easy it is to move between major versions such as Drupal 6 and 7 or Joomla 1.5 and 2.5.
  5. How many of these releases were security releases (where quick updates were essential) and bug-fix releases (where users don’t have to move so quickly).

Do you need help keeping your Drupal or WordPress site regularly patched? If so, give Itomic a call, 24/7, on 1300 ITOMIC.