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Sirportly

Announcing Sirportly v5

What happened to v3?

Over the last 12 months we've been working on re-imagining the Sirportly user interface to help improve usability and help support staff easily access the functionality they need. We call this Sirportly v3. This has project was an enormous undertaking by our team and involved re-writing much of the front-end code to use a new javascript framework. Unfortunately, after releasing this new version to some beta testers, we found that it was seriously lacking in many ways and, last month, we made the decision to scrap everything we've done on this new interface and go back to the drawing board.

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Introducing Sirportly v5

Sirportly v5 is the latest version of Sirportly which we are currently working on with an estimated launch at the start of June. This new version features an improved user interface and also implements many of the new features which were part of the v3.

While we regret the length of time we "wasted" on v3, we didn't want to release something sub-par and would rather wow you all with an excellent new version. The feedback we received when we ran the beta was extremely valuable and we have used this heavily while designing & building v5.

The most noticeable design changes in v5 are the new ticket interface for support staff. These two pages are shown below.

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In addition to these design changes, we've got a number of other changes including:

  • New ticket creation wizard for staff
  • New contact/address book views for managing your contacts
  • Improvements to the initial set up process and administration tools
  • Many stability & performance improvements

Keep an eye on this blog - we're going to post any updates about v5 as soon as they happen right here.

We're currently looking for Ruby developers to join our team to work on Sirportly. If you fancy a new challenge or know of somebody who is, please get in touch - we're looking for people to work either in our office or from home so geography is no issue.

Finally, I'd like to personally apologise for the lack of communication with everyone over the last 12 months but I do want to assure you that we still have great plans for Sirportly and as soon as v5 is launched, the features will continue to roll in. If anyone would like to discuss any of this, please feel free to get in touch.

So, in summary...

  • We spent 12 months developing Sirportly v3 which didn't work well and has now been abandoned.
  • We're now working on v5 which includes many new features & design tweaks.
  • As soon as v5 is out the of the way (due in June), we'll be getting straight onto adding more innovative features to ensure Sirportly remains a feature-packed & powerful product.
  • We need more developers to speed up development.

Robert Lyall has joined us!

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It's the start of a new week and it's getting even more busy in the office! Meet Robert! Rob is our new front end developer and has been tasked with designing out some of the new websites and landing pages for our marketing campaigns.

Some fun facts about Rob:

  • Loves his bikes...the petrol kind.
  • Really hates hot drinks
  • His height suggests he should have been a basketball player!

You can follow Rob on twitter

Hi Rob!

Welcome Andy to aTech

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This week we're welcoming our new marketing executive Andy to the team. Andy is joining us to take over all of our marketing activities and improve our metrics, starting with a fresh look for Sirportly's website.

Some fun facts about Andy:

  • Loves Card Magic
  • Trained as a 'mentalist' for 6 years
  • Passionate about psychology and spirituality...not the crystal ball kind

You can follow Andy on twitter

Welcome Andy!

A chat with our Head of Development

This month Jack Hayter our Technical Community Manager, sat down with Dan Wentworth to discuss what we've got planned for 2014.

Jack - Hi Dan. Can you please explain for our customers what you do at aTech Media?

Dan - My role as Head of Development is to oversee the maintenance and development of our products, and to decide which features we're going to add.

Jack - What particular part of this do you enjoy the most?

Dan - Probably developing integrations between our apps and the others that our customers use. It's always fun to work with these APIs, but it's a shame that our favourite things are often those we have the least time for.

Jack - In terms of our products, what are you looking forward to the most in 2014?

Dan - I think the most anticipated launch will be the brand new user interface for Sirportly. This is the biggest change to the product since we first launched the product in 2012. The front end has been completely rebuilt using Javascript, which is a completely new way of working for the whole team. It's very cool!

Jack - What are your thoughts about our forthcoming launch of the Viaduct application hosting platform?

Dan - It's an interesting new project that really builds on our strong history of application hosting. There's some very clever container-based virtualisation techniques in use, and a great looking UI. I'm very excited about it, and I know that lots of our existing customers will be too!

Jack - Do you have anything special planned for the Christmas break?

Dan - I'm spending some time with the in-laws actually. I'm looking forward to drinking lots of beer, sherry and port, then falling asleep!

New Logos

For the last months, I have been busy working on re-designing the logos for a number of our brands & companies. I wanted to explain a little of my reasoning for committing us to a company-wide identity change.

Over the years, our logo design has been a little sporadic and we've had more logos for most of our products and our company than I care to remember.

The logos below are those from many years of aTech Media (going all the way to 2005). As you can see, way too many different logos for a company which is only 10 years old!

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Many of these old logos were based on varying ideas of trying to unifiy all brands under a single identity and then seperate them into their own entities. This inconsistency was a failure and I believe it has probably cost us quite a bit in brand recognition over the years.

Going forward, it's my plan to never change logos again. I want everyone who sees them to instantly recognise it from a previous re-production. This seems basic advice but our old logos were far from memorable and changed too often to cash in on this recognition.

So, without further ado, I'd like to present the new logos which I've been working on over the last few weeks. Most of these are now live and some will be launched in the near future.

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While designing these, I formulated some rules to follow which I plan to do on all future logo design projects.

  • Do not try and derive a logo from an existing logo in your portfolio. Each logo can be treated as individual unless part of a suite of products with a similar name.

  • Keep it simple. Do not overcomplicate the logo. Use a maximum of 2/3 colours.

  • Design all logos in black & white before adding any colour.

  • Design all logos in vector formats and ensure they can scale up and down to any side (from 16px to 3000mm+).

  • Ensure the logo works on both light & dark backgrounds.

  • Design lots of versions and keep your iterations. Get advice from friends & colleagues. The image below are some of the rejected logos from our recent re-design process.

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Codebase

All Your Base 2013

We're pleased to announce that we're sponsoring All Your Base Conference again this year having had a great time last year!

All Your Base is an amazing one-day database conference for web developers, taking place in Oxford, UK on 18 October 2013. The line-up of speakers includes Brian Aker of Drizzle, Go-Squared co-founder Geoff Wagstaff, and our keynote speaker Neha Narula, an expert at building scalable, distributed systems. Check out the full line-up and all the details at allyourbaseconf.com.

The organisers have kindly given us a discount code. The first 20 people to enter "ATECH" will receive a discount of £50! Once that has been sold out, you can use the code "ATECH2" to get £30 off.

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