I am currently finishing up on a couple of really nice WordPress based websites for different clients, including some new custom plugins I have developed for them (fairly bespoke – probably won’t get public releases). I’m also onto a second stage of development of a large WordPressMu (multi user) based site including a visual revamp along with tweaks to functionality following some excellent user feedback. It is so refreshing that a client understands that websites are organic – they can be grown and amended to their hearts content. I’m always around for the long-term with any website project, it’s never a case of ‘go-live and forget’. I like to see clients websites succeed and always offer ongoing consultation.

Speaking of WordPress, it seems that it is really moving into the mainstream, I’m getting an increasing number of clients coming to me requesting WordPress based work! It makes my job so much easier, as I always champion the use of WordPress as a content management system due to it’s flexibility, excellent security record and ease of use for the client. It really is a very elegant CMS solution and I have the proven experience to adapt it’s powerful content management facilities to the clients needs.

Sadly, due to my extensive work schedule I have been unable to dedicate any proper time to my Open Source WordPress plugin work lately. I am really excited about the updates I have made to my WP-CMS Post Control plugin – it has been completely re-written from the ground-up to take into consideration best practices in WordPress plugin coding along with being fully updated to the latest version of WordPress. Although this is live on a couple of my own websites at the moment, it currently has no proper ‘options’ page and could do with some minor tweeks so it is not quite ready for public consumption just yet – but it will be soon!

I also have a whole bunch of other WordPress plugins in development which I would dearly love to dedicate some time to – but Post Control is my no.1 priority as this is by-far my most popular (over 25,000 downloads to date and counting!). They all work perfectly (including a really slick admin customisation plugin!), but generally have no options page developed – and I know that’s what users need – ease of use, not delving into code to change settings! I am mainly concentrating on admin area customisation at the moment for plugin development. Don’t get me wrong – I love the WordPress admin area, it’s clean and fast but there is still room for improvement and customisation for clients, and that’s where my plugins come in!

Talking of WordPress development – my largest scale active Open Source project is my WordPress theme framework. I have a solid modified core based on the excellent BluePrint CSS framework, a sparse options page and some nice little functions. When I say I’m approaching this differently to other theme frameworks I’m not lying – this is going to be a VERY flexible framework, designed for designers not coders! I really hope to have a beta out by Easter – but will have to see how it goes. I have a final deadline of July to get a working beta launched, as I am presenting on this at WordCampUK 2010. However, I’d like to get the beta out before then for feedback.

I’m eager to get the framework complete as I want to use it to redesign a couple of my personal sites – the perfect way to see what needs to be improved and refined! Testing on little installs is one thing, but rolling it out to unique sites with their own design challenges full of 100’s of pages of content is the real way to see where things need improving!

Finally, I’m on the home straight with my college lecturing! This is something I have enjoyed over a number of years in my spare time, but I find that I am sadly lacking the resource to continue with this and I want to develop my freelance design business which is going from strength to strength. I will therefore be finishing any lecturing commitments (during academic term time) in June 2010.