UPDATED 2023: CMS vs Hard Coded Website: Which one is right for you?

Categories: Web Design

So, you need a website, and you’re not even sure what the title of this post means! That’s okay, let us break it down for you.

When it comes to websites there are so many options that it can seem overwhelming. For simplicity sake, we’ve broken them down into two options: Content Management System (CMS) + Hard Coded.

What’s the Difference?

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UPDATED 2023: Your Guide to FREE Stock Images – Part 1/3

Categories: Web Design

You’ve seen websites, magazines and ads, and there was a part of you that connected to it. There was a big beautiful crisp image that caught your attention, followed by the text that got you thinking about what the business wanted you to focus on. Simply put, the correct image can be a captivating and powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

If you’re anything like our clients (or any business owner for that matter), you’ve wanted to emote the same response in your marketing. To Google you go, but where to start? It can be easy to get lost in the online ocean. Don’t worry, we’re going to let you in on a few of our secrets.

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Oracast Proud to be Named a Top Canadian Software Development Platform by Clutch

Categories: Oracast News

Here at Oracast, we know it can seem next to impossible to streamline your company’s processes while also creating high quality solutions for your convenience. That’s why we’re here to help. We’re a made-to-measure digital partner that features over seventeen years of high-quality web and mobile app development, professional web development, branding, and targeted digital marketing. We’ve helped countless clients thrive, and find their unique path to digital success.

In light of our contributions and efforts, we’ve earned a spot Clutch’s list of 2020 leaders!

Top App Developers by Clutch

We’d like to take this time to thank our stellar clients for helping us get this far! They took part in client interviews with Clutch analysts to assess our impact and value to their business projects. We were graded along the lines of quality of services and deliverables, adherence to project timelines, and overall project management skill, just to name a few. In reflection of that data, we’re happy to announce we’ve received a wonderful five out of five stars! Take a look at a recent review below:

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as one of the leading app developers in Canada by Clutch! We couldn’t have done it without our amazing team and valued clients.”                                                                                                                 – Jes Herman, President of Oracast

For those unaware, Clutch is a B2B market research firm that leverages a unique ratings methodology to evaluate and identify leaders among various service sectors. We’ve also been recognized by The Manifest, Clutch’s sister site that’s a business blog platform. They name us a top Canadian Software development firm on their comprehensive leaders’ matrix.

We’re proud to receive this award and vow to keep our clients happy with groundbreaking technologies. Please drop us a line if you’d like to collaborate on a project with Oracast today.

Software App To Help People With Brain Injuries

Categories: Oracast News

Oracast’s team of app developers are in the process of building MoonCEP; a web-based software application that Dr. Christina Limmer will use in her Brain Coaching school to help people of all walks of life re-learn how to use their brain to its full capacity.

What happens when a person’s brain has suffered an injury? Or when a person is faced with Dyslexia? Well, typically that person has a wide variety of societal barriers to face and overcome. A brain injured person may not have the recall or thought process of a healthy brain and will face challenges in getting and maintaining employment, creating healthy relationships, or even may not be able to live on their own.

Unfortunately, people with brain injuries are grossly over-represented in prison populations and homelessness, and often turn to self-medication to ease their suffering. Is there a better way to approach an injured brain? Christina has dedicated over a decade to re-learn how to use her brain, which was severely damaged in an accident, and now spends her time teaching others who suffer from brain injuries or Dyslexia a wide variety of skills that can help them learn how to navigate the world with a brain injury.

Want to learn more about Dr. Limmer and MoonCEP? Visit her website here: https://re-engineeredbrain.ca/

5 Easy Steps to Gutenberg

Categories: Web Design

What is Gutenberg?

Unless you are a WordPress developer you may not have heard of Gutenberg or possibly you have seen the download Gutenberg message on your WordPress Dashboard. Unless you’re a nerd or enjoy dry reading, you probably have no idea what it is.

WordPress is completely overhauling their content editor and the new editor is called Gutenberg. The editing experience has been rebuilt for rich media pages and posts with the flexibility of blocks. If none of this makes sense that is okay. In simple terms, the way you created pages and posts in WordPress in the past is changing to be more flexible but there is a learning curve.

When and will my site break?

As of the time of this writing Gutenberg is not a core part of WordPress but available to try through a downloadable plugin and will be released as a core element in WordPress 5.0 (current WordPress version is 4.9.8). The date is still not set but we are expecting this to be late 2018.

Upon the release of WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, you may have to install and activate the optional “Classic Editor” plugin to disable the new Gutenberg interface so your website can remain the same and will not need any adjustments to continue working correctly.

Ideally, this will be a worst-case scenario but it will be a tool we have in our back-pocket to address issues that are found after the major change occurs.

How can I Prepare?

With the release of WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, your best option is caution. Although most sites will migrate to the new interface with little to no problems there is a concern when thinking about plugin compatibility. If your website has a lot of plugins there is a larger chance that you could have issues with your website.

  1. Test Out the Gutenberg Editor Plugin BEFORE WordPress 5.0.

    Once you update to WordPress 5.0, your post editor automatically updates to Gutenberg.

    Talk to your hosting provider about setting up a staging development or staging site (Costs may apply here) and install the Gutenberg plugin. This will not only allow you to see any issues that could be caused by the update to Gutenberg but will also give you time to get familiar with the new content editor and WordPress interface. Test and play as much as you can.

  2. Backup Your Website

    Creating backups of your website on a regular basis is always a good idea. It allows you to protect your website if anything goes wrong. You are able to restore to a backup and only lose content created between the time of the error and the backup. Before updating to WordPress 5 we recommend having a complete backup of your site and database.

  3. Keep your WordPress Plugins and core up to date

    By updating your plugins regularly you decrease the likelihood that a plugin will be incompatible with WordPress 5.0.
    Best Practice:
    Always update plugins before updating the WordPress Core.

  4. Make sure your server is running at least PHP 5.6+, MySQL 5.6+. If you are not using the latest version this could be the reason why your plugins are not working correctly. If you are hosted on our servers you are likely already running PHP 7+.

  5. Audit your site. A regular audit of your website is always a good idea but in preparation for WordPress Gutenberg, it is a great idea. Review plugins and remove any that are not being used or offer similar functionality to other plugins being used. Popular plugins tend to be updated more regularly and are more likely to be Gutenberg compatible. Once you have removed all of the plugins you do not need look at the plugins that are left. Check the plugin to see when it was last updated, what version of WordPress it was last tested with. If the plugin isn’t updated regularly look for an alternative plugin that can accomplish the same functionality that is more current.

We are here to help. If you have questions or concerns please contact our team at [email protected].

CSS Flexbox and Grid: The Future of Website Layouts

Categories: Web Design

Gone are the restrictive days! The days when websites were bound to the shackles of a limiting CSS framework. Enter CSS Flexbox and Grid!!! (we’re a little excited)

First things first though… what IS a CSS Flexbox and Grid?

We Believe the easiest way to think of Flexbox is to imagine all of your elements are floating inside of a container, using the Flexbox code you are able to position, scale and order the elements of your website. Making it very fluid and customizable.

The Grid CSS is similar to the Flexbox, but more structured. You are still able to position and order the elements of your website, but within a grid system.  Think of how sections appear in a newspaper, this is the same with a Grid CSS, we are able to position elements position elements within customizable rows and columns.

Rethinking Website Layouts

With the CSS Flexbox and Grid now in play, we’re no longer constricted to the old symmetrical layout of websites. This allows a new generation of websites to push the envelope through innovative designs beyond what has ever been possible before.  Look for brand personalities being expressed with abstract, a-symmetrical or even chaotic layouts.

You Guide to FREE Stock Images – Part 3/3

Categories: Web Design

What would a FREE Stock Image Guide be without giving you a list of our favorite websites?! No guide at all, that’s why we’ve done the legwork and have listed out Top 10 FREE Stock Image Websites.

But before you read on, if you haven’t seen the first two parts of this guide make sure you check them out too:

  1. Licensing Rights: what you need to know to make sure your images are used within their legal allowances
  2. Sizing: What are you going to use this image for, and what size should you buy?


Oracast’s Top 10 FREE Stock Image Websites

1. Pixabay – pixabay.com 

a.  Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.

b.  Over 4100 high quality vector graphics & images

2. Pexels – www.pexels.com

a. Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All photos are conveniently tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through their discover pages.

b. Over 30,000 free stock photos

c. 3,000+ new images added every month

3. StockSnap – stocksnap.io

a. All photos uploaded on StockSnap are released for free under CC0 and do not require attribution.

4. Unsplash – unsplash.com

b. Over 200,000 free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

5. Kaboompics – kaboompics.com

a. Photos from Kaboompics appear on sites like BBC, CNN, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, iSpot, BuzzFeed, Hubspot, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker (Polish: Onet, WP, Eska, Polskie Radio, Antyweb) and even PornHub (thankfully that was an April Fools’ joke).

Kaboompics is one of the most popular source of free images for lifestyle, interior design and specialized bloggers in World.

b. Not allowed to sell images without consent.

6. Gratisography – Gratisography.com

a. Images created by experimental visual artist Ryan.

i. Model Releases

ii. Commercial and personal use

iii. Ability to adapt and modify.

iv. Cannot sell the images.

v. Cannot redistribute, claim ownership or imply endorsement.

7. ISO Republic – isorepublic.com

a. ISO Republic provides free stock photos for creative professionals. This website was founded in 2014 by Tom Eversley, a designer and photographer from England. Since their launch, ISO Republic has published over 3,000 free images, with more being added on a daily basis.

b. Free for commercial and personal use

c. No attribution required but appreciated

d. Model release not provided

8. Pic Jumbo – picjumbo.com

a. In 2013 Viktor Hanacek created this stock photo site called Pic Jumbo with free pictures that are today used by millions of bloggers, designers and marketers all around the world

i. Free for personal and commercial use

ii. Redistribution not allowed

9.  Burst – burst.shopify.com

a. Burst is a free stock photo site that is powered by Shopify. They have 1000s of high quality and royalty-free images available and free to download. This includes a wide variety of images ready for you to choose from and create with. They built this site to empower designers, developers, bloggers and entrepreneurs to create stunning websites and marketing campaigns. You can use these pictures for just about anything — hero images on your blog or online store, backgrounds for school projects, shots for social media campaigns, client work, and beyond.

i. Free for personal and commercial use

ii. Attribution not required but encouraged

10. Negative Space – negativespace.co

a. Each of the high-quality photographs you find here has been taken by a photographer from the Negative Space community. They have something for everybody, so be sure to check out our categories: Abstract, Animals, Architecture, Business, Black & White, Food, Landscapes, Nature, People, Sport, Street, Technology, Transport, and Work.

b. CC0 License

Other honorable mentions:







<Read Part 1>
<Read Part 2>

You Guide to FREE Stock Images – Part 2/3

Categories: Web Design

Welcome back to the second section of our 3-part FREE Stock Image Guide. In our previous article, click here, we discussed understanding licensing requirements. Did you miss it? Make sure you have all your bases covered before you choose an image.

Now that you have chosen your image and you’ve double checked the licensing rights, you’re probably wondering “what size am I supposed to download?”

The short answer: the LARGEST file

But there’s more to it than that. Read on…
<Read part 3 now>

We are hiring – Web and Mobile App Developers

Categories: Oracast News

Yep! You read it right. Oracast is hiring a couple full time developers for our Kelowna office. In a perfect world we could find someone with experience in both however one of each mobile app developer and web app developer will work. If you are someone that may fit the bill or know someone else that may fit the bill please send them our way. You can have a look at both complete adds on our website careers section here: https://www.oracast.com/company/careers.php

If the post is still up in the careers section then we are still looking.

Design An App With a Unique Purpose

Categories: Mobile Apps

A comprehensive mobile strategy is paramount for client retention and business growth in 2017. Most people now carry around internet access right in their pockets! People are increasingly using those devices to do anything they would have done on a desktop and much more. In fact, adults who own a smart phone, keep it within arms reach 90% of the time.

By designing a great mobile app, you can stay on the touch screen of those mobile devices at all times too. The engagement levels of mobile apps is huge, and so is the potential for companies to grow their fan base, and brand loyalty.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can achieve this:

Build around existing hardware:


There are many existing functionalities built into most smart phones which you could integrate into your app. Make your app usable and helpful. Consumers want something that can save time, quickly find information or something they’ve lost, save money, or entertain them when they are bored or waiting in line.

Nick Watt suggests a good app “plays to the strengths of mobile”. In his eyes, this consists of five things: Communications, Spontaneous, Geo-sensitive, Short periods of use and Focused activity.

For example, you could build an app that utilizes the flash light on your mobile, use the magnetic north and GPS features, use the phone to help find pipes behind walls and metal studs, and implement the real time / stop watch features.  Yes, it’s possible for the smart phone to do all of that!

Reward Customer Loyalty

starbucks app

Customer loyalty apps can really set your company apart, and help you go the extra mile with customer retention and satisfaction.

The Starbucks app is a great example of a successful customer loyalty app. The dashboard is customized, offering a more personalized experience. Users can also scan to pay, while collecting reward points. There is a gift section in the app that allows users to send gift cards and coupons to friends. Happy customers can spread the word using their mobile app – this is a win-win situation for all!

Interesting Apps to Help You Brainstorm

map my ride app
There are many fascinating and fun apps that have already been developed that may spark an idea you have for your business.

Cycling: My husband rides his bike to work, so one of his favorite apps is MAPMYRIDE. This app allows you to plan, track, analyze and share your ride with other cyclists. It’s a great motivator to ride harder and share your times and routes with others.

Voice Translator: There are voice translation apps that allow you to speak into your phone and immediately translate your phrase into any language you choose. This could be helpful on vacation when you need to ask for directions or order a meal and hit a language barrier.

Conversation Starter: There are conversation starter apps that give you clever ideas on how to start a conversation. You can choose stranger, friend, lover or acquaintance and then choose the type of conversation you’d like to have.

Plant and Flower: One app I think would be nifty is the Name That Flower app. With this app, you take a photo of a flower that you do not know the name of, and it will match it with a flower in the database. It then will provide you with the name, origin and edibility of that plant. Just keep your phone charged when you’re out in the wilderness and wondering if a certain plant is edible! Speaking of which, there is a battery optimizer app that will help you do just that!

Battery Optimizer: The battery optimizer app will help you keep your battery working longer by letting you know which program on your smart phone is draining the most battery, and giving recommendations on how to make the battery last longer.

The list of interesting apps with millions of users goes on. With so many apps already on the market it may feel overwhelming to come up with a great app for your customers. Just like having a great website, the investment into an app that solves even a small problem for clients can be worth the effort. The engagement level of apps is huge, and when companies tap into this to build their brand, the payback is worth it.

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