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Meet Kurtis Stewart

Photo of Kurtis StewartThere’s a new duck in the house! We’ve put our wings together to welcome Kurtis Stewart as a full-time Project Manager. A native of this city, Kurtis epitomizes the Vancouver lifestyle in its most active form: he juggles a multitude of volunteer positions, teaches digital photography at Langara College, plays ultimate, and gets everywhere he needs to be on his bike, Monterey.

At Hop Studios, Kurtis is excited to design a more centralized approach to Project Management (“historically” Hop’s developers and designers have also done their own project management). He’s well-qualified for this task, since he arrives at Hop fresh from completing the Advanced Project Management Certificate Program at Langara. During his years working with the City of Vancouver, VRX Studios, the BC Ultimate Society, and other organizations, Kurtis found himself gravitating toward roles that required lots of hands-on knowledge, team coordination, and management. When a friend suggested he become a project manager, he discovered that his “jack of all trades” style of diving into his work was perfectly fitted to the role of a project manager and he went right off to get his “license to organize”. His many years as a freelance photographer make him particularly well-suited to web design, since he’s long accustomed transforming ideas into strong visual communication.

Kurtis is a self-professed communication junkie: “I. Love. Email!” His goal in his role at Hop is to ensure that clients are always in the loop on the status of their project. Kurtis believes every interaction should be like a game of tennis: quick, short, and to the point. We think his approach is a great match for both Hop Studios and our clients. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team!

You can reach Kurtis at the main office number 604.408.5722, or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Kurtis riding his bike, Monterey


Starting Up an Instagram Account Boosts Audience Interaction Across the Board

Rose's first post to Instagram Hop Studios has had the privilege and pleasure of working with cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum for a very long time. Working with Rose is a joy (although looking at all those photos of wonderful desserts and breads can be torture in the late afternoon). The very quality that makes Rose such an inspired cook and great Hop Studios client also contributes to her online success—she loves to try new things.

A month ago Rose signed up for Instagram, the popular photo and video sharing tool (available for iOS and Android). Rose had heard that using Instagram could help her to connect with more people online, and was especially interested in simultaneously sharing Instagram photos to her Facebook page and her Twitter feed, where she has reaching her readers for some time. When the first photo she shared on Instagram got its first batch of hearts in under a minute, Rose was hooked!

Over the past few weeks, Rose has posted a buffet of mouthwatering photos—freshly picked cherries, a grilled tomahawk steak I personally would give my right arm to have right now, iced cappuccino... In short, she’s posting cheesecake shots for the food lovers, if you can forgive the pun. And we aren’t the only ones ogling Rose’s photos, either. Already, Rose has earned many favorites, many comments, and more than 170 followers.

Image showing percentage improvementBut Instagram followers aren’t the only ones excited about these new photos from Rose. As she has shared her foodie adventures on Instagram, she has simultaneously been sharing them on Facebook and Twitter. Thrillingly, the result has been a skyrocketing response across all her social media platforms: there was a significant percentage improvement in Facebook social interaction during the week of her first Instagram post. Her Facebook engagement is way up, as are shares and retweets of her posts. Rose is hearing more from her readers and fans, and is excited to have feedback and interaction on these smaller tidbits of her life that likely couldn’t become a full blog post.

In 2015, it’s no secret that social media is a great way to extend your brand and increase its audience, and luckily, it’s sometimes loads of fun, too. Congrats, Rose!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, for some reason I’m craving cake and I’ve got to go find some.


Watch For It: Mountee Update 2.7.5

Users of the ExpressionEngine add-on Mountee—which allows developers to edit templates and snippets as regular files, outside of the EE control panel—will be pleased to know that there will be a new version available in the next week. This update fixes some bugs that were affecting other add-ons, and preventing people from using Coda to edit templates.

Mountee allows you to access your templates as local files, which really speeds up the development process, as well as allowing you to quickly populate templates in new ExpressionEngine installations. You can learn more about Mountee, download the update, and sign up to be notified about future updates on the Hop Studios Mountee page.

As always, suggestions for future additions are welcome!


Dealing with Outdated EE Add-Ons

At Hop Studios, we all love ExpressionEngine’s wonderful community of developers. They come from diverse backgrounds, and have created so many excellent and powerful modules, extensions and add-ons. But sometimes those developers stop supporting their add-ons for one reason or another. The result? You end up frozen at the version of EE that works with your add-on, or you have to give up the add-on and re-develop your site in order to upgrade ExpressionEngine.

Neither of these solutions is healthy for your site. Postponing the upgrade only pushes the problem to some point in the future when you will be forced by a security concern or a necessary improvement to upgrade, this time under time pressure. And everyone gets irritated when you go back to remove code that used to work just fine, either giving up that functionality entirely, or switching to an alternate method that might be less efficient or simply a big investment of time.

We don’t think you should have to choose between two bad options, especially not when there’s another alternative: have us bring that unsupported add-on back to life. Put our years of experience with ExpressionEngine development to work for you. We’ll happily revise your unsupported add-on to be compatible with the upgrade you want to make, no compromise necessary. And we can help you keep that add-on current with future versions of EE as well.

We’ve built a multitude of ExpressionEngine sites, and we’ve created quite a few of those ExpressionEngine add-ons ourselves, so we get it: you should be able to have and eat your cake! [Editor’s note: Yes, I am saying that hiring us means you get to eat cake. Go ahead, we don’t mind a bit.]


Introducing: Hop Super Pulldown

Standard pulldown menus make it easy to re-use common data quickly, and without a mistake. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could also dynamically add an item to an existing dropdown menu? With Hop Super Pulldown, you can!

The Hop Super Pulldown add-on works within the ExpressionEngine entry editing screen. Quickly select one of the existing choices, or create a new one right then and there. Usually with computers you have to trade flexibility for consistency, but not this time. Build your dropdown menu options as you go, and then start using those new options in the next entry you create.

How would you use this functionality? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Example of Hop Super Pulldown in use

  • Create a Hop Super Pulldown menu that contains photo credits you commonly use, but quickly add new ones as necessary.
  • Create a menu with names of neighborhoods, and let people add new ones.
  • Make a poll where people can vote for the best team name, or write in their own suggestions.
  • What about a menu where you can enter a flavor, but you don’t know at the outset what flavors will be? Use this menu, and let the choices grow over time.

We’ve gone the extra mile to make sure Hop Super Pulldown works with Grid and Matrix. And yes, you can include HTML in your list!

Hop Super Pulldown is available on Devot:ee for $6 and is compatible with ExpressionEngine 2.8 and up. Try it today—you’ll wonder how you did without it!

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Web Design and ExpressionEngine Development Consulting - Vancouver (BC) Canada