Here is a little bit of the technical side of what we do, for those of you who are interested. Sawtooth Graphics uses modern solutions — tools and technologies — which help hold our costs in line and provide optimal performance. Too often, though, people confuse the end product with the tool used to create it. A good website, a ‘wow!’ brochure design or an attractive book can be produced by less than optimal tools or software — it just takes a little longer. What really matters are the eyes and minds of the developers and designers.
Web Development Technologies
We use the Apache/PHP/MySQL, affectionately known as APM, combination on 90% of the websites we do, taking advantage of its modern technology and cost-effectiveness.
Apache is the premier HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol — the language of the World Wide Web) server. Although software giant Microsoft® has an entry in this category in their Windows Server System™, they are more focused on enterprise-sized intranets. Apache is currently used on over 90% of active website servers.
PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) is the most popular technology for advanced applications. A robust scripting language, it is uniquely suited (and indeed, was developed for) small- and mid-sized web development projects.
MySQL is the most popular relational databasesystem used on the Internet today. It is recognized for its fast, flawless performance and is easily scalable for large or small projects.
This entry from Adobe is a full-featured server and language system that we use occasionally. Due to its high cost of implementation, it is more suited to large-scale applications and specialty development.
When client interaction and updating of site content is called for, Contribute from Adobe is where we turn. It enables clients to timely update their own sites without the necessity of website design knowledge. Its ease of use, scalability for larger organizations, and reasonable cost make it the ideal solution.
Adobe Flash is a web technology created by Adobe, which lets developers create rich content and dynamic applications across various display platforms including computers, PDA’s, and cellular telephones and is the basis for most web animations. Flash claims brand penetration of approximately 98% of internet access devices, and comes preloaded on almost 100% of the new computers sold today. We use Flash graphics and animations in our sites to create attractive, dynamic visual animations.
XML / XSL
XML (Extensible Markup Language) along with its styling component XSL, is the language that XHTML is written in. It is a developable markup language that can be adapted to almost any task from constructing new languages to defining the data characteristics of database implementations. It is used to define a heirarchal structure to datasets based on their inter-relationships. We use the XML / XLS coding technology to represent various graphic elements like charts, trees, site navigation, dynamic lists and other data.
Most development is done on machines running Windows XP Professional. We run an implementation of the APM environment for pre-deployment testing. Workstation equipment includes dual ViewSonic color-corrected monitors, Logitech wireless keyboards and mice, Hewlett-Packard scanning and printing equipment, LinkSys networking hardware, and a T-3 speed cable connection to our Internet Service Provider. We also test web pages on a Macintosh G4.
Adobe Creative Suite (CS)
The Adobe Creative Suite contains the tools we use for graphical design:
Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for image production. This powerful application enables designers to freely create or modify any image they can imagine. It is the premier software application for designing graphics and visual effects. We use it daily, creatinggraphics necessary for our projects – images, pictures, photographic manipulation, visual effects, and site mockups, as well as for all of our print imaging work.
Illustrator is the primary tool we use for creating vector graphics, such as logos and illustrations. Vector graphics are mathematical renderings that are completely scalable without degrading, ideal for graphics that need to be displayed or printed at different physical sizes.
We use Adobe InDesign for page layout work, such as multi-page brochures and flyers, books, magazines and newsletters. Used mainly for projects destined for a printing press, it integrates tightly with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite to ensure a hassle-free workflow in the design industry.
The prime tool for creation of PDF documents is Acrobat. Coming from the creators of the PDF, it is the quintessential tool for development of interactive documents, e-books and presentations as well as the preferred delivery system for print projects.
Adobe Studio MX 2004 Professional
Adobe Studio MX 2004 is a suite of products we use for web site deevelopment. It includes:
The primary application for development of sites. With numerous extensions, it contains the tools we need to speedily and accurately develop sites ranging from simple graphical sites to robust, data-driven e-commerce undertaikings.
Almost everyone has heard of Flash. This authoring tool comes from the inventors of the Flash environment and is the ideal weapon for developing killer Flash content and applications.
Fireworks is the integrated graphical and imaging application within Studio MX. We use it for optimization of web graphics in conjuction with Dreamweaver because of its optimum workflow advantages.
HomeSite is a code editor that also provides interaction with Dreamweaver. Its short startup times and low system overhead make it ideal for quick, down-and-dirty coding changes involved in site maintenance.