Wednesday, 19 December 2012

We have moved to larger offices

First of all we should probably apologise for the complete lack of blogging over the last 6 months! As web developers we are constantly telling our clients that they should keep their blogs up to date and it seems we have been ignoring our own advice.

That being said, we have been very busy moving offices and helping our new host QV Offices setup their new business. As well as all the moving we have not been sitting on our hands, we have built the new site for DairyMaster over in Ireland as well as a separate private website for their global distributor network.

As Umbraco Gold Partners we have found more and more that we are working on projects where we are the silent development partners, so although we cannot talk publicly about a lot of the sites we develop, we have some real beauties now in our portfolio :)

Now that the dust has settled in our new office ( and has been hovered up! ) we are read for the new year and are looking forward to working on some exciting projects that are currently in the pipeline.

We are also intending to run some Hacking sessions for Umbraco as we now have lots of space for developers to come and work with us, so if you have any ideas of a theme for an Umbraco Hackathon then do let us know.

And with that it just remains to say Happy Christmas to you all and see you in the new year!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Allen for Umbraco with location EXIF meta data

The latest version of Allen for Umbraco has now hit the Apple App store, we have managed to add some nice improvements to this version that include:
  • Storing location and direction information when photos are taken within the App
  • Embedding EXIF data into the images when they are upload
  • Background Uploading
  • Pull to refresh the media tree

Location and Direction

By default when the camera is used within an application the location and direction that the camera is pointing is not stored within the image meta data. We have now added full support so that this data is now added. We have added a setting which allows you to prevent this data from being uploaded to your website if you do not want the location data to be sent you can turn it off within Allen,

Note: Please don't forget that location services do need to be turned on to allow the app to access the images in the phone's asset library.

We have had quite a few ideas from users already for using this location data, including logging free parking in Denmark to geo-tagging holiday photos and linking the photos to Google street view.

Embedding EXIF data

We now embed all the meta data available on the iPhone into the image when it is uploaded to your server, this allows you to pull the data out and use it within your site. Have a look at Cultiv's Photo Meta Data package for great example code that allows you to automatically pull this data out and populate properties on your Umbraco media item.

We slightly modified the source code of this package to allow the package to always extract the image data, as the default package requires a property to allow the data to be extracted, it's an easy change, if you get stuck add a comment to this post.

Background Uploading

If you try to upload multiple images and need to start doing something else on your phone, you can now click the home button and the application will continue to upload your images in the background. As soon as it has finished you will receive a standard Apple notification.

Pull to Refresh

Our final enhancement has been to add "Pull to refresh" to the media trees, just pull the tree downwards with your finger and it will refresh, this is useful if you are adding items to your media tree while testing your site with Allen for Umbraco.

Future enhancements.. your ideas?

If you have any ideas for future enhancement feel free to add a comment below!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Allen for Umbraco - Upload photos from your iPhone - iPad and iPod Touch

At last year's UK Umbraco Festival we gave a demo of our alpha version of Allen for Umbraco, at that stage the application only worked on an iPhone and was a very quick prototype to see what people thought.

When we returned to our office the next day, we decided if we were going to release Allen for Umbraco into the wild we really should start again from scratch, the main two reasons for this were;
  • First to ensure it was a truly Universal application ( i.e. it can be installed on an iPhone, iPad or iPod ) which looks and behaves differently depending on the device. 
  • The second reason was we really wanted the application to be the foundations of more than just image uploading for Umbraco, for this to be the case we ensured the new version was built following proven design patterns and with lots of unit tests so that we can easily extended it.
We have lots of plans for future versions of Allen for Umbraco including adding iCloud support to keep all your settings in sync across your multiple Apple devices. We are also working on support for Umbraco 5 which should be release soon.

When you download the App and setup your site, make sure you have a look at the Image Resizing settings, by default we have set these to resize your images to 512 pixels wide, however you can choose from a variety of different resizing methods (by Height, Width, Fit within a frame or the full size image).

Also, by default when you select a photo you will see that the image is named with it's date and time stamp of when the photograph was taken (or the current date and time if the original date is not stored in your image). If you click on this name you can edit the name of your photo before it is uploaded.

Finally, we are really keep to get your feedback, so within the App help section you will find a way to submit Suggestions and if needed, you can send up Support emails from within the App :)

We hope you enjoy the first version of Allen for Umbraco and we look forward to bringing you lots of exciting additional functionality in the future!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Umbraco Gold Partner going from strength to strength.

It is amazing how time flies when you are having fun and we certainly have been having an interesting year at Vizioz, I thought it was about time I wrote another blog post and shared some of our news.

Over the last 6 months we have:

a) Had the pleasure of working with some great clients from the USA, Ireland and the UK
b) Built some interesting and complex sites for Multi-national brands (under NDA's, you'd be impressed if you knew!)
c) Converted the Umbraco Users Manual to a free iBook for all those iPad owning Umbraco users.
d) We have hired three new employees (Sam, Pearl & Zaara)
e) We have given our notice on our current office (see below)

And on the horizon:

a) We have submitted Allen for Umbraco to the Apple App store for approval (hopefully this will be available very soon!)
b) We are about to sign a new office lease for a new office that is twice the size of our current office, so we will have room for a meeting room, a chill out room and some more employees!

So it's exciting times at Vizioz, thank you to all our fantastic clients for making this possible, we look forward to working with you all over the years to come.

One thing we don't shout about as much as we probably should, we also renewed our Umbraco Gold Partner status for the second year, showing our commitment to the Umbraco CMS, if you are looking for a great Umbraco partner with experienced developers to build your new site, or to take over the on-going maintenance of an existing site, then pick up the phone and give us a call, we would love to add you to our list of happy customers!

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