Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Microsoft Visual Studio (VS) – Good Website Tool or Not?

I’ve been with DSCallards since 2007.  As the Marketing Manager one of my key roles is to ensure that our website presence reflects our culture, technical brilliance as well as the services and products that we offer.

As we are a technical organisation, the Development Team have had a say in the types of tools we use to develop our websites.  In the early days we used DreamWeaver, then Open Source Joomla seemed like a good idea, then we moved onto pure HTML because of the potential security threats, then back to DreamWeaver.

Having gone full circle, and with the task of creating a brand new website, the Development Team suggested we used MS Visual Studio and a series of Bootstraps.  At first Marketing was a little hesitant having been sent around the houses over the course of nearly a decade.

According to Wikipedia, Microsoft Visual Studio:

“Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs for Microsoft Windows, as well as web sites, web applications and web services. Visual Studio uses Microsoft software development platforms such as Windows API, Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Store and Microsoft Silverlight. It can produce both native code and managed code.

Visual Studio supports different programming languages and allows the code editor and debugger to support (to varying degrees) nearly any programming language, provided a language-specific service exists. Built-in languages include C,[5] C++ and C++/CLI (via Visual C++), VB.NET (via Visual Basic .NET), C# (via Visual C#), and F# (as of Visual Studio 2010[6]). Support for other languages such as M, Python, and Ruby among others is available via language services installed separately. It also supports XML/XSLT, HTML/XHTML, JavaScript and CSS. Java (and J#) were supported in the past.”
This was all well and good but what about the design element? 

The Development Team had an answer for this.  By using a Bootstrap design template, we should be able to design and develop a website to be proud of.

Marketing put together a Website Brief and sent it to a number of web design agencies. The responses we received weren’t particularly impressive especially given the many thousands of pounds it was going to cost us. 

We finally decided to run with the in-house MS Visual Studio idea to develop a website that promoted the SAP Business Objects element of our business:  The Business Objects People.

Here’s the outcome:

We were very happy with what we had developed in-house utilising both our technical Microsoft expertise and knowledge of our business and what we were trying to say.

In fact, we were so pleased, we went on to redevelop a new site to promote our Development services:

I am now in the process of working with our Development Team to redevelop our corporate website – – from a pure HTML website to MS Visual Studio.

We have kept to the same bootstrap and look and feel for an integrated branding approach across our offerings.  Hits to the websites are good and it is easy to incorporate the SEO requirements from Google to keep our sites at the top of the organic listings. Also, via the Bootstrap template technologies available, the sites are mobile friendly – another Google SEO requirement.

Having tried many different website designs, tools and technologies and having looked at outsourcing to third parties, I believe that so far the MS Visual Studio approach has been the most successful for us as a company. 

The reasons are:
  • Design tools are intuitive
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to update
  • Excellent design facility utilising bootstrap technology
  • SEO friendly

So, moving forward, I’m looking forward to launching our new DSCallards site over the next month or two.  I’ll then embark upon redeveloping the rest of our portfolio of websites.  So, you could say that after a bit of a reluctant start I’m now a fully-fledged MS Visual Studio convert!

Written by Adriane Gillies, Marketing Manager, DSCallards

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