Adventures in WordPress – A Year in Review

by Tony Gamble

wordpress-logoLooking back on 2013, I can say that it was an exciting year in web development for Jester. The year started off with a huge undertaking, a rebuild of the website for the popular Flagstick golfing magazine. There are no cookie-cutter templates involved here. As with all of our sites, Flagstick was custom designed from the ground up, built on a template of my own construction. Jam-packed with special features and functionality, the new site brought together over a half dozen separate blogs under the umbrella of a single multisite installation of WordPress. This meant that administrators could easily manage a whole network of sites from a single login, making maintenance a painless, one-click experience.

Of course, not every site we do is so monolithic. Canadian Community Support Foundation, eQuinelle Golf Club and Textile Waste Diversion are just a few examples of sites with a singular focus and simple, elegant designs. The power of WordPress was not wasted on these, though. With a brilliantly customizable backend interface, it was easy to train the proud owners to maintain their new website and easily change and add content.

South-East Ottawa Community Health CentreWe didn’t stop there. The year still had a few major websites to come our way. South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre experienced a significant overhaul to bring their services and bilingual content to a diverse audience in a clean and accessible interface. The WordPress Multilingual plugin made this a painless experience for both myself and the proud administrators. The world of creating side-by-side sites for each language is so 1990’s. Now, each page and post is partnered up with its translated version, brought up with a simple flick of a switch.

ScienceBorealis.caLater, we pushed the power of the WordPress plugin architecture to the max with a fully customized RSS feed aggregator on the Canadian Science Publishing website Science Borealis. This site pulls in stories from trusted science blogs throughout Canada, organizing them into easily sortable and searchable categories. Also built on the multisite architecture, Science Borealis has been built with the potential to grow into what we know will be the go-to source for Canadian science information.

The one thing that all of these websites have in common is the platform upon which they were built: WordPress. This powerful framework has matured a lot since its beginnings as a simple blogging platform. On May 27th of 2013, WordPress celebrated its 10th Anniversary with celebrations in over 670 cities around the globe. But they’ve not rested on their laurels. In October, version 3.7 “Basie” was released with a major advancement: automatic security updates. Then in December, version 3.8 “Parker” hit the Web with a complete overhaul of the admin dashboard, bringing simplicity and modern design to the forefront.

As the lead developer at Jester Creative, I cannot crow enough about the power and elegance of WordPress. In fact, I’ve turned into such a WordPress geek that our friends at Eliquo gave me a chance to preach the gospel with Creating & Maintaining a WordPress Website, a 1-day course that teaches you how to install, configure and manage a website built on this incredible platform. Our next class is February 14th 2014, so register today!

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