What is good web design?

Hello! Trends in web design have come and gone over the years, however there have been some recurring indicators that have manifested as good web design in different iterations as styles change, web development technologies change and the internet changes. CSS, HTML and Javascript frameworks have all come a long way in terms of front end development and the tools that the different technologies bring to the table that allow us to implement modern, interesting, artistic, clean and beautiful websites. But what makes good design? That’s the million dollar question! At Shift8, we have offered web design in Toronto for hundreds and hundreds of businesses across all niche markets. Each marketplace or industry has their own unique challenges, however there are common elements and expectations that we have noted happens for the most part across almost all of our projects. I will attempt to break down these challenges in order […]

How to Start an E-commerce Site in Toronto

One of the biggest roadblocks to starting a new business in Toronto is the upfront costs involved with opening a store or even securing office space. With today’s online economy, though, those expenses can be eliminated by opening an E-Commerce Site. These online sites provide you with a great virtual storefront that doesn’t come with a price-per-square-foot. It also allows you to market your products to people across Canada, North America, or even the world. You may actually be able to bring in many more customers and make a larger profit by going with an E-Commerce site instead of a traditional storefront. The biggest question most people have is simply “how to I get started with an E-Commerce site?” It may look like a large project at first, but selling online is actually pretty straightforward.   Become an Official Business It can be tempting to try to skip over registering […]

How to Start a Business in Toronto

Are you thinking about starting your own business in Toronto? There are a number of benefits to owning your own small business. You’re the boss, for one, and you get to make all of the decisions about the company, its products/services, and its direction. While starting a new business in Toronto isn’t difficult, you do need to make sure you do everything correctly so that your business is a legal entity in the city and that it’s a business poised to make a profit.   Refine Your Business Idea Before you start looking at the paperwork to create a business or sign a lease on office space, you need to make certain you know what your business is and what you’ll provide. Spending money to start a business without a clear plan is not likely to end well. You need to do your research to identify a need your business […]

Web Design for Toronto Businesses

Hello! If you are operating a local business in Toronto, one of the most important things you need to do is maintain a web presence. Whether your business is a startup, business services or restaurant : your web presence is key to the fundamental survival and operation of your business. What does it mean to have a web presence? Well the most important aspect that reaches across any niche market or industry, especially in a local market like Toronto, is having your address and phone number indexes properly as a local Google business. We have put together a checklist of steps to ensure that your business is positioned as best as possible and as visible as possible. In a dense city like Toronto, it is more common than not to have very high competition for even basic visibility.   1. Create a Google My Business Account You need to create […]

How to create self-populating “smart” forms in Drupal 8 with Form API

Hello! Many years ago (2015 to be exact), we published an article on how to create self-populating dropdown forms using the Drupal 7 Webform API. Now that the year is 2019 and Drupal 8 has been “Released” for quite some time now, with 8.7.1 as of May 2019, we thought it might be a good idea to update the strategy to do the same or similar action in Drupal 8. What are we trying to do anyways? Well we want a way for people to interact with a Webform in an interactive way. This means we want subsequent dropdown selections to be populated by previous choices. This logic doesn’t have to be restricted to dropdowns, it can be input  boxes, checkboxes or radio buttons. Anything, really. In the example above, you can see “Beverage” is chosen for “Industries”. The “Products” dropdown underneath has the options that you see  populated based […]

Steps to take when designing a logo for a client: From research to presentation.

The method of designing a logo and formulating or refreshing a brand is a practice that I have become much more comfortable with over the years. The identity of a business and how that business is characterized by the world is, at first glance defined by their logo. I’ve put down our experiences collaborating with clients into the form of a ten point list below. 1. Getting to know the client & their nature I find that before we even get started with a project for a client of any type, it’s important to get to know them. This is specifically true when it comes to developing a brand identity or a logo for a client. I usually prepare some questions to ask specifically for each client. These questions can be broad and specific to their industry, what they want the logo to accomplish and about their personal tastes. Every […]

How to craft an XSS payload to create an admin user in WordPress

Hello! XSS (or cross site scripting) attacks are a common method to maliciously execute actions against a website installation. In particular this type of attack vector is useful when dealing with a CMS like WordPress where you have administrative user accounts to target. This means that if you are able to craft an XSS payload that will ultimately be executed by the administrator of that site, you can essentially do whatever you want. In javascript of course. What I’ll go through in this post is exactly how to capitalize on a particular (old) WordPress plugin vulnerability to deliver a persistent XSS injection (not logged into WordPress) that will later be executed by someone logged into WordPress with higher privileges, such as an administrator. Persistent versus Reflected XSS This is debatable, but to simplify things it would be easiest to describe XSS attacks as being two high level methods : persistent […]

New Company Site Launch for Shift8 Web

Hello! We are excited to announce that we have created a brand new website for ourselves! Sometimes its difficult to focus on ourselves when we are so often focused on our clients. With new and exciting projects on the horizon, we thought we would take the opportunity to chip away and eventually launch a new website for ourselves. While previous site was on the Drupal CMS, we decided it would be nice to migrate back to our old friend, WordPress.

Though our site may seem kind of simple, there’s a few interesting things that we did that we wanted to share. Mobile Detection with jQuery Why does anyone ever need to detect for mobile devices anymore? Don’t we just use media queries? Well, yes that is the best practice answer. But throw in multiple layers of caching like Memcache, Page caching, Object caching and Varnish caching and you will […]

Brand new company site : shift8 + django

Hello! We have recently completely re-vamped our company website : www.shift8web.ca. We have decided to move away from a conventional CMS and towards a web framework called django. Some of the challenges encountered were from a systems administration perspective (nginx + varnish + php-fpm). Other challenges faced were migrating all our content / data into a completely different CMS than what we were used to. Django provides many advantages, namely being a very versatile, customizable, scalable and robust web framework. We created a static html template, integrated the content models and tweaked it until we were happy. I’ll break down the aspects from a high level to give a brief overview of whats involved in transitioning to django models We defined models for as much of the website as possible. Models in django are where you define your dynamically changing data (such as a page title). You can define how […]

New corporate site redesign!

We are very proud to announce the complete ground-up redesign of our corporate website! We have completely redesigned all elements, layout and style from the ground up. We hope you like the new site (we do!). Its important to restructure and redesign your website regularly. By regularly I mean every few years. It completely depends on the existing design and how dated it is, however this is something that is beneficial to your company’s image as well as the organic ranking and traffic that your site may potentially receive after a redesign. There’s nothing like a “refresh” or an “update” to a look, to modernize and take advantage of today’s technologies and trends to keep on top of how your organization is perceived by your leads, customers or visitors in general. All of this goes in line with a streamlined strategy for design and branding. Take a look around, drop […]