The most important part of any complex update or migration is to do a thorough audit of your site and your server environment, so that everybody understands exactly what your 'baseline' starting point is, and where you want to end up. This phase is what we call our 'pre-quote assessment' and is chargeable.
Once we have carried out the assessment, we will be in a position to provide a detailed quote, explaining the process for updating or migrating and highlighting any 'skeletons in the closet' that might need to be dealt with in this process. We base this advice on our knowledge of carrying out many migrations, our in-depth experience of contributing to the Joomla project, and our awareness of the long-term vision for Joomla as a CMS.
Off-the-shelf versus bespoke development
In many of our complex migration projects, complicated issues have arisen due to previous developers trying to hack together multiple different 'off-the-shelf' solutions to meet the needs of the client. While we absolutely understand this can sometimes be the only route the developer could take in certain circumstances, in many cases, we find that this causes a long-term pain point for you, the client.
During our pre-quote assessment, we will review these aspects and will help you decide whether you need a multi-extension set-up or another appropriate alternative. It’s then up to you to decide - you may wish to take our assessment to another developer for a second opinion. We won’t hold you to using our services after a pre-assessment has been carried out - it is a separate process to a full migration project.
Planning your migration
We provide an outline of the expected schedule of works, including when we will require sign-off from your team. We ideally want a weekly update meeting as a minimum for all projects, during which we update you on progress to date, talk through any points requiring clarification that might have arisen, and triage any change requests which sometimes emerge during a project.
We follow a workflow based on Agile principles, which means we will often be working on different areas of the project simultaneously - this enables us to work effectively and get things done in small iterative stages without waiting for big chunks of work to be completed.
We use a variety of different tools to set up the environments required for each project, but generally we require a development, demo and production area. If this is already in place on your live site, we will work in a “sandbox” which allows us to work off-site in our development area and allows you to continue pushing any changes that might be required while we are working on the migration.
Once the migration is complete, we carry out a synchronisation to bring in any data that might have changed before deploying from the demo environment to your live site.
Planning for the future
If you want to avoid the pain of difficult migrations, it is important to look ahead to the future and make sure your website can be easily updated with the minimum of intervention.
We have strict rules which mean we never make any changes to the core Joomla files - and even to third party extensions unless it is absolutely essential to do so. We always ensure our work is fully documented - customers have their own knowledge base on our support portal where we save any tutorials and important information for future reference. If you require an ongoing support contract to ensure your website remains up to date, we can discuss with you after the migration what level of retainer you would need and how much this would cost in terms of time and financial investment.
We can also provide on-site training for your team, if you wish to up-skill them and hand the ongoing maintenance over to them.