Shipping pier near Altnau on Lake Constance (Switzerland)

How do you get pictures for your own website?

How do you get pictures for your own website?


6. January 2021In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw6 Minutes

Anyone who has a website knows the challenge: You always need images so that the message, the product and the presentation succeed. Communicate, emotionalize, explain and sell images. But where do you get these photos from?

The Kursiv picture agency existed from 1997 to 2018. For more than 20 years we have bought pictures worldwide and licensed them to many customers mainly in Switzerland. A standard requirement was the image search. In the good years we searched hundreds of thousands of images every day for customer inquiries. It was about the topic, the imagery sought, the available budget and much more.

Today anyone who has a website is faced with image searches. Almost overnight, images became relevant to anyone who runs a website. No text can do without a picture. But where do these images come from? Obtaining images is new territory for many people.

Image acquisition

Anyone who wants to keep a website alive needs new texts and new pictures on a regular basis. The keyword “regularly” shows that it would be good if you had something like an “image source” to which you can fall back.

The requirement is not new and the following methods have worked well:

  1. Take photos yourself
  2. Picture agencies
  3. Photographer.

Of course, if you want to take photos yourself, you have to have the necessary equipment and experience. For some, that’s a possibility. If it does not concern a private website, but the presentation of your own company, you need good quality and appealing and consistent imagery. This increases the requirements. Image agencies can offer something like this, but this is associated with financial costs. If you need unmistakable pictures or lots of pictures, a photographer is the cheapest option.

Know-how about images

There is a blog on the subject of stock photography on our own website kursiv.com. Many topics related to image acquisition are clarified here. The last post is about the question

In the article, various reference options are presented and weighed against each other. An important statement is that pictures are not available for free and that supposed “free pictures” also come with a price.

Planning the website

Once you have a website, that’s the starting signal for further development. Anyone who wants to have long-term success with a website needs some planning. It is always about the question of what would be interesting for the visitor to your own website. Which topics best reflect your own service? What questions do my customers have? What do visitors need to find when they land on the website?

Each subject includes both text and images. Thinking about it is especially important when you have no ideas. Planning makes it possible to call someone for advice, get ideas and then gradually get closer to your own goal.

Typical characteristics of good websites are:

  • Topicality
  • Relevance (for the purpose of the website)
  • Information.

The visuals play a big role in all of these things. Our world and our communication today are primarily visual. When choosing photos, it comes down to keywords such as:

  • theme
  • Imagery (its own, unmistakable visual identity)
  • Emotionality.

Imagery

There is no such thing as a single good imagery. The visual language should be adapted to your own website and topic. You can think generously. It’s not about the individual picture, but about the appearance of the website as a whole. Do the pictures match? Does it seem personal or more distant?

No two websites are the same. The requirements for insurance are different from those of a bakery. The website of a daily newspaper shines with reportage photos, while an automobile manufacturer skillfully emotionalizes the technology with outstanding photography.

How do you come up with a visual language? The first step is to become aware that your own visual language is part of communication. It is already now. It is always communicated. Communication is often better with good visual language. This has a direct effect on the acceptance of the website and plays a role in the customer’s trust in the service offered.

Get the right pictures

It doesn’t matter what type of image acquisition you use. The decisive factor is whether you are pursuing a good strategy that contributes to the success of your own company. You should not only consider the image price, but also, for example, the effort required to search for an image. The effort can be significantly higher than the price of the image itself. Legally correct usage rights should be guaranteed in any case.

Further articles on photography and image acquisition can be found here: kursiv.com . Are you looking for advice on the subject? Here is the> Contact .

Photo credits: Lake Constance near Altnau. © Karsten Risseeuw.


Markzware products adapted to Big Sur and Apple Silicon

In MacOS Big Sur Apple has included some landscapes as illustrations for the desktop.

Markzware products adapted to Big Sur and Apple Silicon


20. November 2020In PublishingBy Karsten Risseeuw1 Minutes

Markzware adapts the latest products. IDMarkz and QXPMarkz now run on both Big Sur and Apple Silicon Macs.

Apple has announced some groundbreaking new technologies. The MacOS 11 Big Sur operating system is now supported by QXPMarkz and IDMarkz. Also supported are the new Apple Silicon machines, which are being shipped these days for the first time.

Both products are now Universal Binary, which means that they are compatible with both older systems and the new hardware line.

Other Markzware products are PDF2DTP and FlightCheck Pro. Here, it can be assumed that the adjustments will be made as soon as new versions are released. For PDF2DTP it is obvious that there will be a similar standalone product like QXPMarkz or IDMarkz. FlightCheck Pro is no longer under development and hopefully a new version will be released.

Markzware has been continuously developing products for well over 20 years now. Occasionally old products were discontinued to make room for new products. Reliable product development looks like this. You can be curious about the things that are in preparation.

IDMarkz and QXPMarkz run on MacOS 11 Big Sur.

If you have a current license for QXPMarkz or IDMarkz, you can download the latest version via your personal license URL


Image optimization now part of WordPress support

Image optimization now part of WordPress support

Your website will be faster


6. November 2020In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw4 Minutes

Every website needs regular maintenance. That’s why there is the WordPress support subscription from Kursiv. In this service we package many services that together ensure the operation of a WordPress-based website. This includes regular updates of all components, external backups, caching to increase performance, security optimization and much more. Now there is a new service: image optimization.

Why image optimization?

Modern websites use a lot of images. Generous images are emotional, communicate well and are a business card for the company. Good pictures are essential today. There is, however, a downside: very large pictures are “difficult”. Their file size slows down the website. In extreme cases, the website becomes slow, which has an immediate effect on acceptance by the viewer. Google also rates fast websites better than slow websites.

It’s like a letterbox – if the letter doesn’t fit in there, it has to be deposited as a package in front of the door. Not everyone is on the go with fast internet. This is comparable to the size of a letter box. The lighter and narrower the letter, the more mailboxes can be served.

Image optimization can help here. The image size can be reduced, for example, by increasing the compression or by removing unnecessary information (e.g. EXIF data in the files). This makes the images smaller and the website automatically becomes faster. It’s not that easy, because you need a balance between optimization and appearance. If the compression is too high, the file size will be reduced, but it will also reduce the image quality. Here you need good tools for the result to be successful.

Online optimization with ShortPixel

An image optimization can be achieved with the help of specialized tools before the images are uploaded. The alternative is an optimization directly in the website. This last option is significantly easier than the manual optimization before and also more consistent.

I’ve been looking for a good solution for a long time. With ShortPixel I have now found what I am looking for. The service is now part of the Kursiv support subscription for WordPress. The solution has been extensively tested and the results are outstanding. My photography website is an example ( karstenrisseeuw.ch ) that lives from high quality images. The page became extremely much faster, with the same image quality. Depending on the website and images, between 30% and 80% of the image sizes are saved. Other italic websites have also seen major improvements, including kursiv-software.com and fmstarter.com .

Update for all customers

The image optimization will now be implemented gradually for all customers in line with this experience. The implementation is harmless and one of several optimizations that are implemented anyway. There are only benefits associated with it. If you have special requirements, we will first contact you, for example if you sell high-resolution images (for example photographers or picture agencies).

The support subscription for WordPress now includes:

  1. Regular updates of all website components (5–7 times a week)
  2. Additional external backups
  3. Optimized caching
  4. Optimizing security
  5. Optimization of the images (new).

If you have any questions, we are> here available for you.


How do the Markzware licenses work?

How do the Markzware licenses work?

What is the difference between an annual license and a perpetual license?


2. November 2020In PublishingBy Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

Markzware products are reliable helpers in everyday publishing. But what about the licenses? Markzware distinguishes between an annual license and an unlimited license. What are the differences?

Markzware products are reliable. They have been continuously developed and adapted for decades. This is a great value. But it also requires continuous development and product maintenance. This is not for free. Unlike some other companies, Markzware does not try to lure customers into a subscription trap. The solution is as simple as it is ingenious and already exists for many products as a choice:

Perpetual license

A perpetual license is valid indefinitely, but there are no updates for new document formats. For example, if you order a QXPMarkz in 2020, you purchase the product with the QuarkXPress 2020 document format customisation, and if Quark makes customisations during the year, these customisations will be provided as updates free of charge. However, if a 2021 document format is released next year, it will not automatically be updated.

Annual license

The annual license is, as the name suggests, a license for a single year. Since the price for the product is probably already recovered after 1 or 2 conversions, this should not be a hindrance. But for updates you have great advantages: Regardless of when you purchased the annual license, you can download all updates and upgrades for 365 days. So you are always up to date, even if a new document format is released next year. If you want to renew your license, you buy another annual license and can convert for another year without worries, whatever comes along. However, if the license expires, access to the software is also terminated. Simple!

Markzware conversion solutions can be used where documents need to be converted from one software solution to another. This does not imply a constant exchange, but a one-time conversion.


FM Registrations 1.5 released

FM Registrations 1.5 released

The update is primarily aimed at simplifying the user interface


21. October 2020In Filemaker, Filemaker, Filemaker, FilemakerBy Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

What’s new?

Kursiv launches a new version of FM Registrations. Version 1.5 of the tool for FileMaker developers is now available and creates license codes for your own FileMaker-based products.

The current update is primarily aimed at a better user interface and a simplification of the workflow. In addition, the manuals (English / German) have been rewritten and the introductory videos have been completely rewritten (English / German).

Date processing has also been improved. A definite end date for a license is now saved as a number so that processing on a date also works with different file locations and system settings.

Create licenses for your FileMaker-based products

FM Registrations can be used to generate activation codes for your FileMaker solutions. This enables you to sell standard products that you have created with FileMaker worldwide. FM Registrations is a FileMaker development and can be used to generate and manage licenses. The codes can be used as access codes, but are also used to configure your solution.

FM Registrations consists of two parts: A code generator, which is used to create customer addresses, create software profiles and generate unique activation codes, and a sample file that shows how to decrypt the license codes.

FM Registrations makes it possible to sell your own FileMaker applications and to provide each customer with an activation code. Such a code can

  • Unlock
  • Allow configurations
  • Unlock functions
  • Define the number of users
  • Determine the end date of a license or subscription period
  • etc.

FM Registrations is a marketing tool that enables flexible pricing. For example, you can create prices based on the number of users or configure different versions of the same file using an activation code.

FM Registrations encrypts and decrypts all information. The implementation is up to you. The possibilities are endless.

Detailed descriptions

A more detailed description of this update, as well as new manuals and all introductory videos can be found on the website fmstarter.com .

FM Registrations is sold with free updates for one year. The last version can then be downloaded directly from your own account at kursiv-software.com.

similar products


How to evaluate workflows

How to evaluate workflows

Well-thought-out workflows are more important than ever


12. October 2020In ConsultingBy Karsten Risseeuw7 Minutes

Starting signal and continued development

You can look at everyday working life from different angles. One perspective is that of the workflow. Workflows are the routes one takes to achieve a good result with the present challenges. Often workflows are created on the basis of experience. There was once a beginning for this, a starting signal so to speak. Ever since then, the work process needs to prove its worth. Does it? It probably does for a while, but does a workflow also prove itself over a longer period of time?

As an example: There are still companies that create important workflows based on Excel lists. Others, however, have suitable software systems in use. Those who switch from Excel to a database solution, for example, do this to optimize existing workflows. Although both solutions (Excel on the one hand and database solutions on the other) often work, there are big differences. If one relies on database solutions, this often results in considerable time savings and it can also be worked on in a team, for example.

How we work is not set in stone. It was determined at some point, based on the requirements and possibilities at the time. Since then, workflows have to prove themselves in ever new situations until the solution no longer meets the requirements or better methods and approaches become available.

Gaining some distance

Technology is nothing but a means. That is why technology should not be overrated. Work processes can only be illustrated with the help of technology. However, creating good workflows requires analysis and careful consideration. To do this, it is often helpful to take a few steps back and look at the everyday challenges from a distance.

From a distance, you can see processes better. Questions can be asked. Are there known obstacles? Where are the most likely to get stuck? Are there new requirements that are not included? What is done by hand? These and other questions serve to evaluate the existing processes. Concrete requirements simplify the considerations. However, regular evaluation can also be used as an indicator of the health of current systems.

An important question is, for example, where is the experience available? It may lie with the employees, but what happens when employees leave? If this leads to the loss of important expertise, this is a tangible risk for the company. How can such a risk be minimized? Suitable workflows can aim to make essential building blocks of experience available to the entire team – for example, through suitable database systems.

Evaluation is not about starting from current success, but rather to look for possible weaknesses. These can be seen as valuable feedback for the development of better workflows.

Change is the constant

Work processes are usually made possible by technical aids. However, they are not identical. If the technology changes, this can have a very positive influence on the workflows. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that existing workflows are occasionally evaluated. Suggestions can be obtained from colleagues, thanks to a coach or through reflection in the team.

I have been distributing software for over 25 years. It is exciting to see how hardware and software have developed and how completely new workflows have been created because of this.

10 years ago there were still many complex systems. Then came the smartphones with apps, often focused on a few tasks. That was a paradigm shift. It has changed the way we think about software or workflows. Modular approaches, Software As A Service (SAAS) and more and more cloud-based solutions were added.

Technically, many things have become more sophisticated. However, from the perspective of design, some things have been greatly simplified. Google came with a single search field for Internet searches. Apple reduced the complexity by an outstanding design. The English company Serif has so far released three software products for graphic designers that work together seamlessly (in the same interface). They called it StudioLink, a new approach to intuitive workflows.

The expandability of current solutions, through the integration of various web services, is demonstrated, for example, by the Apple subsidiary Claris with the product FileMaker Pro. What was once a database solution is now a development environment with a multitude of options. A single data format  runs on multiple platforms. In addition, there are now add-ons, completely new possibilities for FileMaker developers to integrate complex tools in a most simple way.

Markzware is currently renewing its product range. All the converting solutions were available in the last years only as Plug-In or XTension. Now they are gradually becoming stand-alone software products. To open documents from InDesign or XPress, these software solutions are no longer needed. All products from Markzware become independent software solutions and you can export to various formats.

Many things become easier. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Starting your own evaluation

Sometimes it helps to evaluate work processes together. Kursiv offers assistance for self-help. This can be consulting and evaluation of existing workflows, or project support, training or development of concrete solutions. You can find out more about this via the following link:

Further information: Kursiv Services


An ecosystem for FileMaker developers

An ecosystem for FileMaker developers

The FM Developer Bundle includes everything you need to start a new FileMaker project.


9. July 2020By Karsten Risseeuw5 Minutes

FileMaker developers face new challenges with every project. Meanwhile, there are also recurring challenges. Can’t these “same challenges over and over again” be elegantly wrapped into one simple starter solution? This article is about ways to do that.

Developed in italics for developers

Developed in italics for developers and those who want to become one. The FM Developer Bundle is a new product bundle with three proven components. Together they offer something like a quick start for new FileMaker projects or a turbo start for budding FileMaker developers. The maxim is to keep everything as simple as possible. So no complex systems, but tried and tested simple structures. There are also modular development approaches and clearly defined tasks.

Start file, design templates, licensing models

Three products stand for three tasks. FM starter is the versatile and tidy start-up file for new FileMaker projects. The new FM designer is a collection of FileMaker designs, already perfectly tailored for FM Starter. For everyone who would like to sell their software as a standard solution, there is FM registrations. This enables activation codes to be generated for standard solutions. These three products together make that FM Developer Bundle.

Learning by doing

FileMaker developers are usually career changers. You come to FileMaker because it’s incredibly easy to create solutions for your needs. With increasing competence, the requirements naturally also increase. And vice versa: If the requirements for a project are high, you may have to strengthen and expand your own skills.

The simplest solution is not always the best. Most of the developers I know have learned their way around FileMaker. However, building experience takes time. Couldn’t you look over the shoulder of another developer to see how he or she did it? That could make the process easier.

For many FileMaker developers, learning by doing is part of everyday life. Those who can fall back on the experience and working methods of other developers not only benefit from the know-how of the other person, but also from the experience they have gained. FM Starter is such an «experience file». It shortens training and shows proven ways of working with FileMaker.

As is well known, many roads lead to Rome and no developer has combined all truth or experience in himself. So there are many possible solutions. FM Starter wants to be as open as possible and does not introduce a programming style, but rather project structures. Project structures can be recorded intuitively and the already built-in functionalities can be configured almost completely via a separate user interface. Such ideas and solutions accelerate the learning process immensely.

The basis and further development

The FM Developer Bundle provides a solid basis for new FileMaker projects and offers standard functionalities that are easy to use. A simple user administration is included as well as a 100% dynamic navigation. The start file is also multilingual. If you want to incorporate things like this later, it is very time-consuming, if not impossible. However, if there are already well-integrated components in the start file, this greatly simplifies new projects. That is the power of FM starter Solution.

The further development can therefore begin right from the start. The foundation is laid, via FM designer you can also import and apply new color schemes and designs in no time at all. A completely new project with proven basics is created in a flash. It’s that easy. The development of the actual tasks can now begin with practically no delay.

Does the need arise to create a product from one project? That is also possible! If you want to be able to sell the same product to multiple customers, then this helps FM registrations with it. The program file can be on a website and it can be activated using registration codes that are sent to the buyer after the purchase. The decryption of the codes is already built into FM Starter. If the processing of license codes is now switched on in FM Starter (just check the box), you can start soon. A new software product is defined in FM Registrations and the secret keys are transferred to the start file. Complex processes are already implemented and clearly documented.

This is what a vertical start with FileMaker can look like.


FM Designer - designing FileMaker projects made easy

FM Designer - designing FileMaker projects made easy

10 themes for FileMaker Pro


Kursiv Software has just launched a new product for FileMaker developers. FM Designer is a collection of 10 themes for FileMaker Pro that work together perfectly. But FM Designer is also an elegant tool for creating your own designs.

Development is not just technical

Apple showed the way: Good products not only convince with their functionality, but also with their excellent design. The design often determines whether a product is classified as good, simple or interesting. An elegant design always brings the essentials to the point. It’s an art.

FileMaker developers are always faced with design, because FileMaker Pro combines functionality with layouts and objects. That’s why FileMaker developers always play the role of designer. As a developer, however, you do not always have the knowledge or the time to develop a good design. How do you solve the dilemma?

10 FileMaker Designs

FileMaker Pro isn’t layout software, but it does offer a lot of design aids. For example, there is a grid and auxiliary lines that can be displayed on the page and used for positioning objects. In addition, objects can be defined with style templates. A set of style templates that are coordinated with one another can be saved as a “design” (“theme”). These designs simplify and standardize the layout. These designs can best be compared with CSS templates – the design descriptions, which are also used for websites. FileMaker has given this description of object properties a nice interface so that anyone can work with it.

FM Designer comprises 10 carefully put together designs, in which numerous variants are available for each object. The designs are compatible with each other. For example, if a layout was created with a certain design from this series, the design can be switched to another design with just a few clicks.

FM Designer and FM Developer Bundle

A new product bundle, the FM Developer Bundle, was also presented together with FM Designer. This package is a complete solution for new FileMaker projects and includes:

  1. FM Starter, the comprehensive starter file for new FileMaker projects
  2. FM Registrations, with which license codes for your own FileMaker solutions can be created
  3. FM Designer, a collection of FileMaker designs and tools for creating your own themes.

FM Designer was created on the basis of the FM Starter Design. Anyone who already works with FM Starter can now simply import designs from FM Designer and immediately switch to a new look.

Documents, videos and manuals

FM Designer comes with a detailed manual (German and English) and videos (German and English). The complete documentation can be found on fmstarter.com. The sale runs via kursiv-software.com.

FM Designer is a FileMaker file. In order to use the solution, a full version of FileMaker Pro is required (recommended: FileMaker Pro 18 or newer). The file itself is monolingual English, but the documents are multilingual.


QXPMarkz: Markzware launches the successor of ID2Q

QXPMarkz: Markzware launches the successor of ID2Q

QXPMarkz replaces the previous ID2Q


5. June 2020In PublishingBy Karsten Risseeuw3 Minutes

Markzware has just launched QXPMarkz, a software for converting QuarkXPress documents. The new tool replaces the previous Q2ID, which was available as a plug-in for InDesign.

A new generation

A new generation of Markzware tools is created. Previous plug-ins are gradually being transformed into standalone products. After IDMarkz, QXPMarkz has now been released. While IDMarkz converts InDesign documents, QXPMarkz enables the conversion of XPress documents. Such a development is logical and has several advantages.

First, it no longer requires any additional software. ID2Q was previously a plug-in for Adobe InDesign and could only be used in conjunction with InDesign. Current solutions are stand-alone software solutions.

Secondly, the functionality becomes more versatile. When an XPress document is opened with QXPMarkz, it can be saved in IDML, PDF or one of several image formats. In addition, these formats allow the converted file to be opened directly in another software. This allows an XPress file to be edited directly in Affinity Publisher, but just as easily in Adobe InDesign.

 

Universal tool for Xpress documents

QXPMarkz is a universal tool for XPress documents. You do not need an XPress license to open original XPress documents. You get a preview (directly from the document data) and some more information about the document. The preview even allows you to flip through all pages of the document. This is something like a mini-preflighting function. Afterwards, the document can be converted in several formats and also be opened directly in popular software solutions.

QXPMarkz is a cost-effective and flexible way to convert any XPress document on demand. Very old documents may need to be converted to a newer XPress format using Quark’s own free conversion solution before they can be opened in QXPMarkz.

 

The cryptic names remain

Markzware produces real tongue twisters with the product names. Although all names are logical, it takes special attention when using them. However, the trend towards renewal seems to offer some benefits here as well:

  • ID2Q has been dropped, in its place IDMarkz appeared
  • Q2ID has been removed, in whose place QXPMarkz was just released.

The name is mission statement: IDMarkz opens and converts InDesign documents. QXPMarkz opens and converts QuarkXPress documents. Currently, only one plug-in remains, namely PDF2DTP. If there were a successor, what would the name of the new product be?

 

Annual license or continuous license

QXPMarkz can be purchased either as an annual license including all updates, or as an unlimited license without updates. When purchasing, the preferred version can be specified. The annual license is not a subscription and you do not have to renew it. The license expires automatically, but you can renew the license at any time.


FM Starter 2.15 released

FM Starter 2.15 released

Bug fixes and improvements


3. June 2020By Karsten Risseeuw3 Minutes

Kursiv has just released a new version of FM Starter. Version 2.15 fixed a few bugs and brought a few new features. It’s an important update that will bring significant improvements for some users. All changes for version 2.13, 2.14 and 2.15 are now activated. The focus of this update is on the following topics:

  1. The standard theme has been expanded. The style sheets have been renamed and some new styles have been added. A third page was also integrated, on which all object styles were mapped with their own object. So there is now something like a style catalog with all style definitions.
  2. Landing pages for user groups. User groups now receive a target page for each platform (desktop / iPhone / iPad / web) that is accessed after logging in. So far there has only been a single “landing page” for this.
  3. Backup of program settings. Up to now, program settings have only been managed in global fields. However, if you develop a file on the server, you cannot permanently store any information here. There is now a backup function that reloads the correct data in the startup script.
  4. Language settings of the user are now correctly activated when the program starts.

These and other adjustments are listed in detail in the ToDo module and can be built into existing solutions if necessary.

Download and updates

All customers who bought or renewed FM Starter in the last year can download the update from their account on kursiv-software.com.

Advance notice FM Designer

Soon there will be growth: We are currently working on the completion of a new product called “FM Designer”. FM Designer offers 10 optimized design templates for FileMaker development that are perfectly tailored to FM Starter. The adjustments to the design templates in FM Starter 2.15 serve to prepare for the new FM Designer.

FM Designer will be released in June 2020.

What is FM Starter?

FM Starter is a start-up file for new FileMaker projects. The file includes basic modules for navigation, user administration, multilingual text labels and the like. Further information is available at fmstarter.com .