Stop Building Sites In Subfolders? I disagree.

Drew McLellan wrote an interesting article on March 9, 2011. Of course a year later, comments are closed (as they should be unless you want to get daily viagra offers) and I couldn’t add my thoughts, so I thought I would explain why I build sites in a subfolder on the live server.

Drew specifically talks about Perch. I’ve never worked with Perch or any CMS other than WordPress, so perhaps his article is spot on. But when developing WordPress sites, I favour developing in a subfolder on the client’s server.

If the client has an existing site, I create a new subfolder, set up a fresh installation of WordPress, including a database and start working there. I’m a big fan of the BackWPup plugin and set that up during development as well, that way there’s a backup of the theme and database if anything goes wrong.

When it’s time to go live, WordPress provides a simple step to give WordPress it’s own directory. No files but two need to be moved to the root directory and WordPress takes care of the urls. So there’s no danger or messing about with links and losing any page relationships.

By working on a temporary server, I’ve learned the hard way that no two servers are the same. Just last week, I proceeded to set up WordPress on a client’s hosting provider only to find out that they are running a lower version of PHP than required. I’m glad I found that out sooner rather than prior to launching. Now the client has time to look into new hosting.

Additionally, you might not believe this, but clients sometimes disappear and never provide copy. Gasp! Shocking I know. This happens to me at least once a year. I set up the site, make sure everything is ready to go, give the keys to the client and then wait until they tell me they are ready to go live and everything goes quiet. By having them on a subfolder on their live server, the ball is in the court and I don’t have to maintain a temporary site on my server.

I build on average 50 WordPress sites a year and this is my workflow. It makes sense when working with WordPress. What are your thoughts?

Is WordPress a Content Management Solution?

I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Cameron Cavers and Dave Zille this weekend at
WordCamp Vancouver, and discussed the merits of using WordPress as a CMS.

Some of you might have disagreed with me when I answered No to the question ” Is WordPress a CMS?” I probably should have said Yes AND No…

I’ve been using WordPress for a number of years now. Version 1.2 might have been the first version I worked with. Originally built as a blogging platform, WordPress 1.2 mainly focused on Posts. The ability to display anything but your blog posts on your home page didn’t exist and I’m not even sure Pages were around. When compared to larger CMS built by Oracle, IBM and Microsoft some would argue that WordPress isn’t a CMS mainly because of the lack of approval process. Content types in WordPress are also limited, but WordPress 3.0, due for release anytime soon, is about to change that. Custom post type and menu management will offer us much more flexibility to manipulate content and thus enhance WordPress’s CMS ability. No changes in approval processes are expected for WordPress, but personally I don’t think that there’s a need for this. If this is all that it takes for WordPress to gain the title CMS, then I think it can do without. Organizations and companies looking for sophisticated approval processes usually have many layers of bureaucracy and probably won’t be looking for a free CMS anyway.

Looking back at an older versions of WordPress, it’s interesting to see how the platform and community has evolved. I’m not sure that Matt and the folks at Automattic perceived that one day WordPress would become much more than a blogging platform and be used as a CMS. I can only see great improvements and exciting features when I look at WordPress’s evolution and I won’t be looking at another CMS solution for a long time.

WordCamp Vancouver 2010
Panel Discussion: WordPress as a CMS

With only a week away from the sold out WordCamp Vancouver, Cameron Cavers, Dave Zille and I have been preparing our slides and questions for our upcoming panel. As you’ve probably heard me say before, WordPress is not only for blogs and we hope to demonstrate what can be achieved during our panel.

Having said that, we’d like to make sure that our presentation meets the audience’s needs. If you have your ticket for WordCamp Vancouver, are interested in learning more about how to use WordPress as a CMS and have a question, please leave a comment below or on the WordCamp blog post.

See you next weekend.

The Challenge Series built on WordPress

I was very pleased to read a recent article on the WordPress blog about Ford choosing the WordPress platform for their new website: “The Ford Story“. This new website aims to show Ford’s commitment towards getting new, high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks on the road and uses WordPress as a CMS to deliver a wide variety of static content, videos, photos, and dynamic updates.

I recently came to the same decision when building a website for the Challenge Series which is a celebration of the planning, design and building of Vancouver’s first sustainable neighbourhood – Millennium Water: The Southeast False Creek Olympic Village.

Screenshot of the Challenge Series website homepage

Published as an online book, the first of eight chapters was recently launched and, just like The Ford Story, uses WordPress as a CMS to deliver a wide variety of static content, downloadable documents and photos. Future issues will also include videos. When I was first introduced to this project, I instantly thought of WordPress as the CMS for this website, but wondered if perhaps Drupal or some other CMS might be a better platform. The design of the home page alone proved somewhat challenging and uses a large number of custom fields, but with proper training and the use of simple HTML, I think that the website is fairly easy to maintain and look forward to seeing how it progresses and develops. Finding out that companies like Ford also choose WordPress has convinced me that I’ve made a good decision.

It’s time to get active

Active CommunitiesI’ve been swamped lately and frantically trying to stay afloat. As a result blog postings have been few and far between and I apologize. I’m still working like a fiend trying to catch up, but I think that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

As our company grows we’ve managed to secure bigger and bigger clients. Earlier this year, we’ve not only signed on to work on a government project, but four. It’s been very exciting to work on large scale projects that require much more planning and strategizing.

Read more…

Karma yoga at Bluelime Media

ChakravibeOne of my New Year’s resolution this year was to deepen my yoga practice and integrate yoga philosophy in my daily activities. I was already practicing 5 times a week, so I’ve now increased to 6 and sometimes 7, I attend workshops whenever I can with visiting teachers and went to my first yoga retreat a few weeks ago. I feel better than ever, but I still haven’t found an way to involve yoga in my Web work.

Ideally my goal would be to develop and create sites dedicated to yoga. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Barbara from Bluecitrus for many years now. When I first met her, she had just launched Chakravibe, an e-commerce website selling yoga jewelery based on the chakra colours. Built using OS-Commerce platform, the website functioned very well, but was difficult to update and maintain and the code was a complete nightmare to decipher. When Barbara approached me earlier this year and asked me to help her move the static pages to WordPress, I decided that if I wanted to get involved in the yoga community, this was a great first move.

Om Power NecklaceJoseph and Ben took responsibility of the OS-Commerce component and moved everything to a sub-folder. I took care of re-creating the design using up-to-date HTML/CSS and removed all of the tables and set up the WordPress templates. I doubt that many people have noticed that the website has changed. Except for a few pixel adjustments here and there and the changes in url, the website is identical. We’ve also added a blog allowing Barbara and Teresa, to write posts and tell us what’s new. So far the results have been very positive. Barbara is very pleased that she can update the content and post new images and Teresa has been writing great posts.

Bluelime Media may need to rebrand…

One of the biggest changes that we’ve seen this year is that clients are no longer asking for a static website but instead want to maintain their own site. This has been great, but now I think that we’ll have to change our name to something like WordPressLime Media. The number of WordPress (WP) sites we’re churning out is huge. The exciting thing about working with WP is seeing how far we can push the design. We work with a lot of different graphic designers here and it’s been challenging at times figuring out how we can convert their ideas into WP templates. Here are the latest ones we’ve been working on:

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