Much of our current work is connected with web marketing, a rapidly growing sector within the broader sphere of marketing and advertising. It is notable that agencies that have developed significant skills in digital areas have survived the recession in better shape than their more traditional rivals. This trend is likely to continue for some time yet as online sales continue to grow much faster than more traditional routes to market. For a general description of web marketing issues, a good source is Wikipedia.
Although some developments are in purely English speaking areas, it is often necessary to develop web material in other languages, sometimes with a choice for sites that aim at an audience with more than one language. A large, developed market where this is typically a consideration is Europe, where many organisations have sophisticated campaigns.
Our involvement is typically in the technical issues created by considerations of language. Web servers, such as Apache, are well able to handle a variety of languages, including those that require different character sets. Browsers are also quite flexible now. Unfortunately, the PHP language that is our primary development tool has not yet fully embraced these issues. In almost all cases, it is nowadays best to employ UTF-8 as the character encoding that is capable of handling more or less any known language. PHP5 does not fully support this, although tools are available that allow its use. PHP6 was planned to be fully capable of dealing with UTF-8 but remained in development for a long time now. There is now no commitment to whether the next major release will be 5.4 or 6, and no date is offered.
By contrast, developments in the US frequently require only English language, and the history of computing has been concentrated among English speakers, which results in the implementation of English language in computer systems being relatively simple. For comprehensive web development services for the US market, we partner with galley.net.
Another issue is to show different content in different geographies. This is nowadays relatively easy to achieve, given the existence of geolocation services. They typically use the IP address to determine the location of the user. This is not reliable down to exact locations, but is quite effective in determining countries and major regions. The Aliro CMS written by Martin Bramton and described in his book “PHP5 CMS Framework Development” provides integrated handling of geolocation mechanisms, so that text blocks can be shown selectively by country.