2013: the year in review

A 4 minute read written by Alaine December 19, 2013

2013 year in review

That’s right folks, it’s that time once again: Alaine's annual year-in-review blog post! I know you've been waiting.

By the numbers

Fun stuff

  • We kept on a-growin’ – now at 36 staff and counting
  • There might be something in the water. Lots of babies this year (congratulations Orville, Rab, and Tamer!), and even more to come next year
  • We ate approximately 46kg of Skittles. Seriously.
  • Phil challenged Raoul’s photoshoppinsupremacy. Better watch out, Raoul.
  • Our 2012 class photo was finally finished, sometime in late 2013.
  • Our YVR office got a major makeover, thanks to the genius of Edmonton artist Jill Stanton
  • Happiness is mustard? I guess you had to be there.
  • The YP YEG fitness team kicked butt and/or looked ridiculous (mostly Carson) at numerous charity races, like the YMCA Spin-a-Thon and Colour Me Rad.
  • Tamer moved into a beautiful new home, and YP opened a temporary moving company division to help him out
  • Certifications abound this year!
    • Randall and Carson got their PMP designation
    • Erin became an officially certified tester
    • Carson, Tamer, and Farhad became certified Scrum masters
  • Alaine got to speak at her nerd dreamland conference, Confab 2013
  • The YP softball team DOMINATED, coming in second place in their division this year
  • YP hockey team rookie Kim scored her first-ever goal! Just look at that form.
  • Paul and Dave went to OwnerCamp in Arizona. They came back with tans and lots of good ideas.
  • We brought all our staff together for a three day ski trip extravaganza in Revelstoke, thanks to Backside Tours. Very few bones (but quite a few egos) were broken.
  • The YVR office became Rock Band stars.
  • YVR took a sunny Friday afternoon off for a baseball game. We all got heatstroke and ate foot-long hot dogs.
  • The YP Drupal team (11 strong) journeyed to DrupalCon Portland. Sorry Portland.
  • We officially registered the Yellow Pencil tartan!

Serious business stuff

And oh yeah, we also made Internet. Here are some of our proudest moments this year:

Big investments in data centres

“Big data centres?” you say. “Aren’t you a web design company?” Yes we are. Kinda. On top of all that other cool stuff we do, we also provide 24/7/365 support for our Service Level Agreement (SLA) customers.

We’ve spent a big chunk of the year working to migrate to the very best data centres in Canada. Now, in addition to boasting great support, high availability, and constant improvement, we can offer SAS-70 and PCI compliance. We also offer real time failover across geodiverse locations, and it’s all based in Canada.

Content strategy: level up!

I started as YP’s first content strategist three years ago, working to define our core content strategy processes and adapt them to our Responsive Design Process. These days I’m working on adapting our CMS development practices to focus on better user interfaces for content authors.

In 2013, we added Keith Shengili-Roberts, author of Core CSS and a world-renowned expert on Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). Keith has boosted our expertise within the Content Strategy team to include Information Architecture and DITA. He’s been working with our team to expand the complexity of problems we can tackle. And finally, we’re very pleased to welcome Christian Walker, who has worked with both Oracle and OpenText, and consulted for Fortune 50 companies in Enterprise Content Management, Information Governance, and Records Management.

We’ve got a fully rounded content strategy practice now, from editorial and social content strategy, information architecture and taxonomy, right up to enterprise content governance and information standards. We’re ready to take over the (content) world!

Oracle FTW!

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Oracle is the biggest software company in the world, and they create some of the world’s most used products. We partnered with Eclipsys, Canada’s largest Oracle reseller, to provide comprehensive expertise in the Oracle WebCenter platform, Oracle’s document management, portal, and web content suite.

We’ve been working all year on a big big project… check back in early-ish 2014 for news.

OpenText RQL API

We’ve been working with the OpenText Web Site Management platform since 2005. We’ve got the largest OpenText WSM Certified team in the world (we’re pretty sure), and in 2011 we were their global Partner of the Year. But this year, we finally got to build reusable software and plug-ins for the WSM platform.

We’ve spend a few years working with the API that powers OpenText, and we’re excited to announce our internal beta of the Yellow Pencil RQL API. It’s allowing us to build some pretty powerful stuff into the product, such as external and custom content editing environments, migration tools for deploying code between Dev, UAT, and Prod, and application automation.

Project Octave

Octave is our new content migration platform. We spend mountains of time doing content inventories and content migration, so why not build a tool to do them for us?

We’re running our system today on some very large projects and it’s helping us turn manual content inventory and migration from a month(s) long slog into a day(s) long procedure. We’ve currently worked on integrations into Oracle Sites, OpenText WSM, Drupal, and Terminal 4. More CMS platforms to come (next is probably Sitecore).

We’re hoping to have the industry standard platform for pulling unstructured content from a variety of sources and bringing it into a target CMS platform, all chunked up and ready for responsive design. Interested? Of course you are. Email Paul for more info.


Thanks to everyone that helped us make the web a little more awesome in 2013. Here’s to many more adventures in the new year. Happy holidays from all of us at Yellow Pencil.