Building tools for the Reals-site

To start with there were some requirements that the site sould fullfill.

  • It was going to be administered by several persons, and it should be possible to handle even for people not used to manage big websites
  • It would contain a database with alot of categories, easily navigable
  • Photogalleries for the events by the project partners
  • Event calendar
  • Newsletter that was open for subscription on the site
  • Interigation to other social networks like facebook & twitter
  • Looking god on both computer screens, phones and tablets.
  • Possibililty to extend the site in the future with a internal forum and other fuctions
  • Eventually individual blogs written by the project partners

I choose to build on the well known WordPress-platform, beacuse of the big community of users, the extensive library of usefull plugins and beacuse of it’s relatively simple administrative interface that many seems to be able to handle quite quickly. Its also possible to customize the interface to different admin-users, hiding the parts that they don’t need.

WordPress has a lot of pre-build themes, free aswell as payed ones. I checked many but didn’t find something that I thought would be worth as a starting point, knowing that is would anyways need a lot of changes to fit the project. But buildning a theme on my own fellt like it would take to much time. So instead i took a middle road, installing a framework from Zurb called Foundation and the wordpress adaption of that framework called Reactor by Anthony Wilhelm.

This gave me a well built ground with excelent adaptation to different screensizes, a good menu system and a portfolio/gallery system. But it would still need a lot of work to suit the project and here I’ll list some of the tools i end up using.

To begin with it’s good practise to make a child-theme and to make all the changes of the pages and styles there. Here the Reactor documentation and the posibility to download a ready made child-theme.

Some of the plugins used:

  • List Category Posts. This is what sorts and shows the resource database. It shows a custom made list of posts based on it’s categories, including dates and a thumbnail.
  • Newsletter. A plugin that makes it possible to sign up and to send out a newsletter from within wordpress.
  • Quick Event Manager. Makes the calendar and event list.
  • Resize Image After Upload. This plugin resizes uploaded images, makes it easier to upload without having to change the images before.
  • Social Media Badge Widget. Used for making the social sharing icons in post and pages.

/ Marcus Nordgren (murkas@gmail.com)