Interview with Jacob and Beat regarding new Joomlapolis template

As seasoned Joomlapolitans are probably already aware, our “city” has recently been given a new paintjob. Yes, we are talking about a brand new template for our website. The template was constructed by Jacob with the continuous scrutiny of Beat and me (Nick, aka Nant). The CB Team, in an effort to inform (and maybe educate) the Joomlapolis community regarding the construction process related with this template project, and in parallel thank Jacob for his generous contribution, has written this article in the form of a question and answer interview session.

I (Nick, aka Nant) will play the role of the (stupid) reporter. Jacob and Beat can be themselves. Here is goes …

Nick: Jacob, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Jacob: Sure. My educational background goes back to 1998. I completed a Graphic Design diploma at the International Academy of Design located in Toronto ON Canada. Shortly after I was hired by the school as a Teacher Assistant in their Graphic Design department, I also had a few ‘gigs’ as an “Onsite Instructor” teaching Photoshop/Illustrator/QuarkXPress to individuals at IT companies. A few years later I found a job at iPix ( creating Virtual Tours for the Real Estate market in Canada and US. I stumbled upon Mambo (then Joomla of course) in 2002 while doing a contract job for a client who requested a site using that CMS. Since then my freelance work has been 99% focused on Joomla, creating custom designed template and full web sites. To date I’ve completed between 300-400 projects using Joomla and my clientele list keeps growing on daily basis. 

Nick: Jacob, I understand that you were also involved in the design and implementation of the previous Joomlapolis template. Do you remember how you first got hooked up with the CB Team to design its first Joomlapolis site template? 

Jacob: I first met Nick when contacted me during the Pre Joomla days asking for a custom template for his family tree website. We chatted a lot and I later found out about CB and his role on the CB team. Nick offered the opportunity to work on the original Joomlapolis site template. Having used CB myself on many projects it was hard to say no - it was “an offer I couldn’t resist”. 

Nick: And now, almost 2 years later, the CB Team has once again contacted you to help with a new template. What has changed in the area of template projects in this 2 year time period? 

Jacob: A lot has changed. We moved away from ‘table’ based templates and into the light weight, quick loading “tableless’ (div/css) templates. The template also validates to W3C standards and is XHTML+CSS validated, all these factors not only provide for a better quality and a faster loading template but also impact SEO rankings. Speaking of SEO, search engines spiders read pages top to bottom left to right. To ensure spiders pickup the main/important Joomlapolis content first, we decided to load the ‘mainbody’ first (via CSS) before the left column although visually you still see the left column appearing first. The purpose of this is to let the spider see the content first and not the Main Menu or other modules in left column. 

Nick: Can you please describe the project process you use in order to fulfill such template requests. I am really curious as to how you handle the remote aspect – since you never really meet your client. 

Jacob: That is correct, %99.9 of my clients are online based. Once the project has been commenced, I ask my customers to send any photos, logos and reference to other sites they like and of course colour scheme. The template is created and sent as a flat JPEG image within 24 hours. Unlike other companies, I do not charge for a revision, which means my customers can make as many changes as necessary to the layout, each time a new JPEG is created and sent for feedback. Once the customer approves the design, the coding process begins and resumes for about 2-3 more days. The final template is light weight, table-less, XHTML+CSS validated and of course cross browser tested. All my customers receive “60 day FREE support”, no questions asked.  

Nick: Jacob, what can you say about Beat and Nick when viewed as end customers and developers? 

Jacob: It was a real pleasure working with both Nick and Beat. Their collaboration on this project was flawless and communication was crystal clear. These two factors not only made my life easier but helped get the project moving in the right direction. I hope to be a part of any future projects they may have for me. 

Nick: Beat, can you summarize the end result of this new Joomlapolis template project from a technical perspective? 

Beat: Actually for us, besides a great unique look-and-feel through a custom exclusive template, the standards-compliance, usability and SEO optimizations were key, together with great flexibility, as we will be deploying this template in variations over the next time on many CB-related projects going on. So we wanted the template to be table-less, have main content of the page outputed in the HTML before the side-columns, running on a large range of browsers, we wanted it non-flickering/moving around while being constructed in modern browsers, with and without Javascript, and a few more standard things, like fluid and fixed-widths, with side columns staying fixed-width. It hears pretty standard requirements, but looking at many standard templates, none matched the full set of requirements we had. So we gave Jacob a challenge that he accepted as cooperation, and it was fun and interesting to cooperate with Jacob, to find solutions to meet all our criteria. It was very challenging and took quite some time to develop, but the result is now visible on Joomlapolis, and more of it will be visible soon. I would like to thank very much Jacob for his great work on this, and also the CB team for their continuous tests and improvement feedbacks.  

Nick: Jacob, it sounds like you put a lot of effort into this work. Why? I mean, what’s in it for you? 

Jacob: First and foremost, I use CB myself and love it so it was a no brainer taking this project on. CB is a quality extension with a great community and developer team, having my name and company linked in any way shape or form would only be greatly beneficial. The hard work comes from my work ethics. It is very important for me to make my customer is happy with their product!  If it means spending more time then initially anticipated, so be it. 

Nick: Jacob, do you have any final words you wish to pass on to the Joomlapolis community? 

Jacob: I hope everyone likes and enjoy the new look and feel of Joomlapolis. Let’s keep on supporting this great extension for years to come!

Nick: I would like to thank you both for taking the time to discuss this nice project with the rest of the Joomlapolitans. Jacob, I would like to personally thank you for your cool work and your support during these 2 years. Lets hope that you will become the preferred template designer of all Joomlapolitans!



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn