The “We’re 18 months into a 2-month project” joke was getting old. So, here it is, the new wavemotiondigital.com, or, as it is now known, wmd.dev.
This new site could not have been created without the wonderful WMD support crew and all of our clients. For the longest time we never focused on our own site after working on everyone else’s all day. As the saying goes, “there is a reason the cobbler’s children go barefoot.” At the end of the day the last thing we want to do is develop our own site. Which explains why our site looked horrible for a long, long time.
We are finally ready to unveil the new site and I hope you are as excited to use it as we have been to build it. The entire team has worked tirelessly over the last year and a half to make sure everything is perfect, though I am quite confident it will not be. So we are going to go for a few weeks with a “quiet launch”, mostly because I hate the term “beta”. TBH, everything that is being constantly developed is in perpetual beta. [end rant]
If you are a client and have yet to register kindly do so now so you can play with all of the cool toys.
The first thing you probably notice is that this isn’t WordPress. Well, not entirely. It depends on where you are reading this post. If it is at the blog.wmd.dev URL then yes, it is WordPress. But the main site is a custom Symfony build.
We will have blog posts about the new features but I wanted to give you a quick rundown of some of the new and exciting features of the site:
The new site is powered by several technologies:
- The “brochure” pages – About Us, Work, Services, etc. are static Symfony pages.
- Blog posts and some of the pages are actually served from WordPress but rendered through the Symfony app.
- The Dashboard and other features of the site are custom built apps.
Minimizing external resources
Throughout this process we have attempted to reduce the reliance on outside technologies. Nowhere on the site will you find a Facebook pixel or any Google tracking code. There are only a few external libraries loaded:
- Tracking through our own private stats tracker, Matomo at stats.wavemotiondigital.net
- FontAwesome via their CDN
- Vimeo video hosting
- Twilio/Authy for two-factor authentication (2FA)
You will notice that fonts and other typical third party resources are hosted internally.
The Dashboard is radically new with more offerings for you to manage your WMD services:
- Manage our agreements
- Pay invoices
- Manage, renew and purchase domain names
- All IP addresses in one place
- A new robust support system
- Monitor servers
- Reboot and power off servers
- Register and manage domain names
- Send us large files
- Send us sensitive information that never leaves the server
- Create short URLs that you can monitor without your data being sold
The last bullet point above is our new URL shortener, wmd.to. We got lucky with that domain name.
The wmd.to URL shortener does exactly what other shorteners do with a couple of features:
- We do not selling data to marketers. We keep it all internally.
- You can use a disposable URL. So if you want to send something with a sensitive key/token/URL you can select the option to burn the URL after it is used.
- WMD clients have the opportunity to create their own short-links, such as wmd.dev/search (sorry, that is taken) instead of using a random string.
- Clients can also create URLs for marketing purposes and track the performance of those URLs from the dashboard.
We often are asked if we can provide access to DNS records to which we have to respond, “no” because it would put other clients DNS information at risk of being exposed.
That is why we built our own DNS management system to allow you to edit your own DNS records where they be at NameCheap, DigitalOcean, Vultr, CloudFlare or, yes, even GoDaddy.
We have been using it for the past year to make changes to DNS records for all of our clients. And to make it accessible to others we are spinning it off as its own site at wmddns.net.
Along with management we want to make sure your DNS records are safe. So when you need to provide access to either all or just a small subset of your DNS records you can create a DNS Pass. These passes are valid for 1 week or 1 month and allow anyone with them and your domain name to manage all of just a few of your DNS records. That way other sensitive records such as email servers, etc. are not exposed. And you do not have to share your account credentials with others.
Finally, we have a DNS history. So any changes you make to DNS records are recorded with the previous value in case anything gets screwed up.
Since DNS records are very sensitive we are requiring two-factor authentication for them and server management. So best to go ahead and download Authy by Twilio.
We have long preached about “free” online services such as those provided by Google (the worst privacy offender) and their privacy violations. Now we have others to add to that such as MailChimp (Intuit) and Slack (SalesForce) just to name a few.
This is why we have researched, tested and use alternative applications for ourselves: they guarantee privacy and give us absolute control of all of our data.
A few of the programs we are hosting that we use:
- Zimbra (Email, Calendar, Tasks, etc)
- MatterMost (Slack alternative)
- Mailtrain (MailChimp alternative)
- BitWarden (Self-hosted)
- Jitsi (video conferencing)
- OnlyOffice (Google Docs/Sheets alternative)
And we have found that they are just as good if not better than their better-known commercial alternatives.
There is a lot under the hood. And a lot that is going to be unveiled in the coming weeks. And yes, we realize there may be some bugs still in the system.
We will do an official unveiling in a few weeks (via MailTrain). In the meantime, I bet you find something wrong with it. If you do, PLEASE LET US KNOW! Contact form, email, whatever. I do hope you click around the site and enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed building it.