Abracadabra! is a web application that was born out of the need for Hearst Magazines UK’s in-house marketing team to rapidly turn out customised online advertising banners based on a standard set of templates for use on the company’s magazine web portals on a regular basis, in order to allow the promotion of time-limited offers or new editions of the company’s titles.

To achieve this aim, the in-house Flash developers at Phenotype produced a set of template-driven banners that could be customised by supplying new XML and image data. It was my task to develop a web application that would make the creation and editing of such banner data easy for the non-technical staff at Hearst. Using the open source PHP framework CodeIgniter and a MySQL database, I built a simple banner content management system that guided users through the banner creation process in a streamlined, step-by-step manner and allowed for the previewing, editing and deletion of banners.

The success of the project is self-evident, as the system is now used for a very large proportion of the in-house -developed banner advertising that Hearst show on their web portals, including their flagship Cosmopolitan, Handbag and Harper’s Bazaar websites.