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Web Platform

Enterprise standards for small business. The web is a rapidly evolving mashup of technologies. It’s tricky business knowing which to adopt as there are so many competing technologies. One of the greatest and worst thing about the web is no one owns the standards. Consortiums, working groups, big companies, and even some small ones are all pressing forward, molding how the web works.

Standards-based Design

As we build web sites we are very sensitive to the past, present, and future web. The past because not every computer on the Internet is in the present and the future because forward thinking web development isn’t more expensive to produce now and will provide value moving forward.

We are not bound to any one HTML/XHTML/CSS standard. Rather we select standards based on project requirements. In general we look at the following when determining the appropriate standards to follow:

  • Cross-browser compatibility / target market browser preference
  • Smart phone / mobile web development
  • Semantic and logical markup for maintainability and accessibility


JavaScript is a client-side scripting language that runs inside your web browser. It enables many of the dynamic features on web pages from animation to instant calculations. JavaScript is often confused with Java, but is in fact totally different. JavaScript can be a great ally in building a better user experience (read: happier customers).

We rely on a variety of open source and licensed libraries and technologies to reduce cost, development time, and deliver more responsive user interfaces. They include:

  • Ajax
  • jQuery
  • Sencha Ext JS

Data Exchange

Common data structures:

  • XML (eXtensible markup language)
  • JSON (JavaScript object notation)

Mapping / geographic annotation data:

  • KML (Keyhole markup language), used in conjunction with Google Earth

Development Tools

PHP and MySQL are the standard programming and database platforms at Unified Media. They were chosen for a number of factors including:

  • Both are mature technologies in continuous development
  • Both are free and open source
  • They pair well with the Apache web server and Linux environment
  • Both are actively developed by large communities and have backing by major corporations
  • There are thousands of free and open source projects based on these technologies
  • Documentation is plentiful

PHP is a server-side scripting language used to build web pages and process data. MySQL is a powerful database commonly paired with PHP and as such is well supported.

Content Management

One size doesn’t fit all. Spend about an hour researching which content management system (CMS) is right for your business and you’ll feel like every web professional has at one point in his or her career. The landscape is vast. It would seem that no one knew that hundreds of these systems existed already before they started building their own. They come in all shapes and sizes, any technology you can imagine, and range in cost from free to millions of dollars.

Lucky for you, we’ve done all the work already. In most cases we deploy an open source community supported PHP/MySQL-based CMS which has been customized to meet your business needs. In some cases we will write a custom CMS to support a specialized workflow.

Each CMS we support has been selected for its unique feature set. Most commonly we use:

  • Drupal
  • Wordpress
  • Joomla
  • Typo3