WordCampUK 2009 presentation

I made an hour long presentation on WordPress CMS based website development at the WordCampUK 2009 conference. This focused on the development cycle of a WordPress CMS based website, from planning right through to go-live. you can view the slides below.

View more documents from wordcampuk.

Final comments

There is a couple of things I’d like to pick-up again briefly that doesn’t really come across from just viewing the presentation:

Getting sign-off at certain stages before proceeding will help the client understand where the project is at and save you time. Trying to get ahead of the game on web development projects often doesn’t help and can waste a-lot of resources.

Defining roles early on, and ensure clients responsibilities are being fulfilled as well as your own!

SEO is something that every web developer has a responsibility to understand to a reasonable level. The structure of code and content can have a large impact on this, so it’s important that you get this right in the planning/proposal stages. Well structured websites with good content that are updated regularly are always going to index better!

Remember to comment out your code whilst in the flat XHTML/CSS stages of the website design. If you put in comments like ‘sidebar start’ and ‘sidebar end’ it will make it easier to edit and really quick to move your design into a WordPress theme once the client has signed this off.

The job doesn’t end when the site goes live – it’s actually only just begun! Checking everything is working correctly (ie search engine indexing, client using WordPress/CMS functionality correctly) early on can save a-lot of issues, and the first quarter review is the perfect time to revisit the project with the client and assess how it is being used (ie refine structure, content and functionality).

Links and resources

  • Blueprint CSS framework – Think you don’t need a framework for CSS… think again! Using Blueprint will save you a-lot of time and be very flexible.
  • BOKS – A fantastic new Air application that helps setup custom Blueprint grids (main site down at moment).
  • CSS Edit – The ultimate MacOS CSS editor – perfect live editing, great functionality.
  • VMWare Fusion – The most robust way to run multiple operating systems on a Mac (great for testing Windows compatibility or running IETester etc).
  • IE Tester – Test your website CSS in multiple versions of Internet Explorer in one simple application – essential for all web developers.
  • Firebug – A Firefox add-on for diagnosing issues with web design/CSS/coding.
  • Web Developers toolbar – Another Firefox add-on for web design analysis.

WordPress reference

Essential plugins

  • Maintenance Mode – Only allow logged-in users to see WordPress site, can be easily adapted to show any alternative content or site.
  • Role Manager – Powerful role management.
  • Role ScoperMichael Kimb Jones suggested this plugin, looks very promising allowing control of category/post edit privleges.
  • WP‐CMS Post Control – My own plugin allowing admins to simplify the write post panel for authors.
  • WP‐DBManager – An automated database backup tool, with email capabilities.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – Essential SEO optimisation for deep content indexing.
  • Cforms – A flexible multi-form generator, including attachments.
  • Akismet – The best anti-spam tool for comment moderation.

Posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2009 at 4:33 pm, filed under WordCampUK

8 Comments »

  1. Than you very much! A comprehensive insight into the project lifespan, you should write a book on this!

    Comment by Johan Dahlstrom — July 21, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  2. Cheers Johan for your kind words, it was great to see that people were prepared to travel so far to WordCampUK and we hope to see you again next year. It’s great to hear that people found this useful – It was a shame that I was not able to cover some areas a-little more fully, but I only had an hour so something had to give!

    Comment by Jonny — July 22, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  3. Manu thanks for the informative session at Cardiff – agree about getting clients to sign off at specific stages during projects.

    See you at WordCamp 2010!

    Comment by Tony Scott — July 22, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  4. Cheers Tony – and thanks for your hard work this year!

    Yes, the sign-off stages save a-lot of trouble, it keeps everything running along smoothly and ensures the client is happy throughout the process.

    Comment by Jonny — July 23, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  5. Your Google XML sitemaps link is broken!

    Comment by Andrew — July 23, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  6. …but a fantastic resource. Thanks.

    Comment by Andrew — July 23, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  7. Absolutely agree with commenting your code. But be beware. I have a massive problem once with comments at the top of a theme php page. It was fine in FF and Safari but IE sent all the content to the left even though the container was centred. Couldn’t work it out for days. By chance I noticed that I had a comment directly at the top of my home.php page (it was a “begin home.php” comment). Once this was removed it worked fine. Very weird but very annoying.

    I often find commenting code critical as you may have created a custom query or function and then when you come back to it 2 months later you can’t for the life of you remember what it does – unless you have comments there!

    Regarding your WP-CMS Post Control plugin. Is is compatible with WordPress 2.8? I am currently working on a site where posts are not needed at all and therefore would love to use the plugin to turn them off.

    Comment by Mark — July 24, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

  8. @Andrew – oops, should have used my link checker! The Google Sitemaps plugin link is now fixed.

    @Mark – I have never encountered this strange bug – but will certainly watch out for it! WP-CMS Post Control is currently not compatible with WordPress 2.8 (although almost all features do work still). However, it won’t hide away the posts panel, it simply hides elements of the write post/page panels and allows various controls to be applied (ie force disable Flash uploader). You could use either the Role Manager or Role Scoper plugin to achieve what you are after.

    Comment by Jonny — July 25, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

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