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Site Review:

ImageThis week we review, a company from Bali, Indonesia specialized in working with open source platforms including Mambo (I'll call it Mambo for now until we have a new name), we conducted an interview with Ric Shreves, one of the company partners to learn more about their experience with Mambo

Read on for the full interview.

Site Designer/Owner Information:

Full Name: Ric Shreves
Nikename: rico!
Company: Water&Stone
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Job: Partner
Site URL:

Mambo - Power in simplicity

1. What is the nature of the site? What is it about?

We build a variety of websites for our clients, but due to our associations and our portfolio, we seem to wind up with a lot of real estate and travel and tourism work. We also do a fair bit of work for non-profits and Galleries.

2. Tell us about your site/company

Water&Stone was started in 1992 in Bangkok, Thailand. The company was inspired, at least in part, by the increasing range of Open Source content management platforms and web application frameworks. One of the partners left the .Net Studio he worked for to start the company; partially from frustration with that platform, partially from seeing the possibilities of Open Source. We’re focused entirely on Open Source and LAMP development. We work primarily on Mambo and osCommerce.

3. Who are your audience?

Our client base is global. They are split pretty evenly between Asia and North America. We have significant price advantages over dev teams with our level of experience in North America and UK, so we see a fair bit of work from those markets. We also have a number of studios who are our clients. We work behind the scenes, as it were, and produce work for them under their brand name. Good for them. Good for us.

4. What are the objectives for your site? List at least one.

Our site,, is all about getting our message out to the world and showcasing our portfolio and capabilities.

5. What were the requirements you had for your site?

We wanted to show people a marketing-oriented site built with Mambo, as opposed to a portal site.

6. Why did you choose Mambo?

We’re promoting our capabilities with the system and wish to practice what we preach. On top of that, we simply like it.

7. What are the Mambo applications you are using for your site?

Our site uses little in the way of components and modules – the nav and the search box are custom built (really just glorified hacks!). We always use custom templates.
Looking at our client work, the most common commercial component we use is Hot Property (again because of our strength in the property market). In terms of other common components and modules, we always use dbAdmin, and often use YANc and Letterman, Poll XTD, DocMan, and a variety of other things. Lately we’ve been experimenting with PHPShop and Community Builder. One area of frustration is photo gallery requests; for basic work we use SPGM, for more advanced stuff we spend hours with integration of G2 or CopperMine – not fun.

8. What integrations if any, have you made with Mambo?

We used to hack everything in sight (or so it felt), then 4.5.2 came along and a lot of the need for that went away. We still get in and mod a lot of stuff to get the custom look and feel we seem to be known for – it’s what allows us to give clients something more - something that doesn’t like it is driven by a CMS.

9. How long did it take for you to implement Mambo?

The first site (which by the way is still up!) took about 2 weeks. Now the design usually takes longer than the build – we love that…

10. What benefits have you gained from using Mambo?

  • I can deploy sites with a high level of functionality without a large programming team and without having to go through lengthy functional design reviews and extensive prototyping and testing. I love the fact that I can build a site with better functionality by myself in a week than I could have built with an entire team of .Net programmers in a month. The bottom line: Profitability.
  • I can hack it without fear. Mambo is robust – I beat it up all the time and it is very forgiving and rarely falls over.
  • There’s a lot of interest in the product right now and that is good for business.


11. What would you like to see from Mambo?

In the past, the rapid appearance of new versions was a nightmare. We manage over a dozen mambo sites, so when an upgrade or a patch comes out, you can hear the groans all through the office.

We would love to see a few key components stabilize / upgrade. Lack of a good Gallery is a constant pain. PHPShop is making good headway – we’ll be very glad when it is 100% (we need an alternative to osCommerce!) and there are other useful components with problems – but we won’t name names…

In terms of the core, first, Mambo still needs to be more robust in regards to user management. This is well known, but important. Second, version control (and rollback) is also be on our wishlist as lack of that feature makes it hard to convince enterprise clients to consider Mambo. And finally, in our experience Mambo makes a large number of HTTP requests which results in some sites running slower than they should. We’d love to see this performance bottleneck removed.

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