Last month we were blessed with Russell Fair visiting us from Atlanta, Georgia. He gave a very informative presentation covering topics like:
- WordPress multisite install
- Plugins from WordPress Directory
- WordPress multisite plugins
- WordPress Plugin Commander (plugin management plugin for multi-site mode)
- WP Multi Network plugin (turns single multisite install into many multisite networks with one user database)
- Custom Post Type plugins
- Genesis theme framework
Watch the video and take notes!
Today at our November meetup, we were delighted to have Russell Fair from Atlanta WordPress Developers & Designers Meetup Group and Atlanta WordPress Users Group. He covered a wide range of relatively new WordPress features with great examples from his past and current work.
Some useful sites/links that were mentioned during his presentation:
- The Richard Nixon Foundation (WordPress multisite install)
- Plugins from WordPress Directory
- BuddyPress example: StringCommunity.com (Ann Arbor-based music community that Russell worked on)
- Genesis theme framework (uses Child Theme)
- WordPress Answers
- Alltop WordPress topics
Video recording for his presentation will be published here soon & Russell will be sharing his notes later on.
You can subscribe to this blog from the sidebar “Email Subscription”, or follow us on Twitter @ferndalewp for updates!
The topic for Ferndale WordPress Meetup in October was e-Commerce (shopping cart) options for WordPress. Tim Aten presented on his experience with 2 major plugins, WP e-Commerce (also known as GetShopped) and Shopp.
Below is my quick notes from the presentation.
- One of the oldest WordPress e-Commerce plugins
- The plugin is free; paid upgrades and community plugins are also available for additional functionalities
- Paid upgrades: “Gold Cart”, affiliate management, CSV feed generator, enhanced store animation effect, FedEx shipping option, members only site, downloadable products, product gallery, etc.
- There are some third-party themes
- PayPal (incl. Pro), Google Checkout, Chronopay gateway and manual payment options for free version. Authorize.net and other gateways are available with the paid version (more info)
- Experienced slower and less frequent tech support compared to Shopp
- Very easy to setup
- Flash uploader does not always work 100%
- Paid plugin ($55 for single site or $299 for unlimited # of sites)
- Additional gateways: $25 for authorize.net, manual payment, PayPal Pro, etc.
- Very fast (1-2 hours) and better support overall
- Set up only takes 1-2 hours; professional looking out-of-the-box
- Some issues with download packaged item (hard to group them together)
- You can view receipts in the admin dashboard
- Shopping cart widget available
- Shipping address capture is required (not ideal for download product)
- Product editor = similar to WordPress post edit page
- Theme integration is relatively easy
I talked about theme template hierarchy and Todd J. List had a presentation on the new custom menu feature.
Links that were mentioned:
- Custom menus on Codex: Appearance > Menus subpanel / Navigation Menus
- wp_nav_menu function reference
- Custom Menus Tutorial on justintadlock.com
As we were waiting for WordPress 3.0 release, we talked about some new features especially the multisite feature. Devin from Austin, TX was visiting the area and joined us for the meetup. He shared a nice video on setting up multisite:
Links that were mentioned:
- WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin
- Codex: Create a Network – full documentation on how to setup a multisite network
- Custom Post Types – check out the links at the bottom too.
- Custom Taxonomies
- Twenty Ten theme overview (WordPress.com blog post)
- Twenty Ten theme demo
(Yes, that’s right – this is for the April meetup. The post was sitting as a draft and I had left it for so long. Sorry for the delay!)
The site’s goal is to keep the look of the existing site while making it easy to update the site (especially the fundraising events & news) and promote donation.
Images with Custom Field
They used Custom Field Template plugin to create a field for static image on each pages (Version 2.9 has the post thumbnails & in-dashboard media editor feature to make this even easier. These were not fully available at the time of the development of the site)
Event Manger is a feature Trevor built especially for this site. This has the ability to add event title, date, description and link, upload an image for the event, Convio (event landing page) integration. By adding an event from a simple form, the client can update a home page block and calendar of event page.
He mentioned he would use custom post type with custom fields if he were to build this after Version 3.0. You can read Custom Post Types in WordPress 3.0 (kovshenin.com) to learn more.
Their future plan is to use Shopp plugin to add a shop for fundraising merchandises. Anthony noted he likes Shopp plugin a lot because of the refined and integrated interface which feels continuous to WordPress dashboard. He also likes Shopp’s advanced coupon control features.
Tips on Training Users
Tim shared a printed manual they handed to the client. Noting basic things (e.g. pasting from Microsoft Word, shift + return/enter to create a new line) is really important for non-techie users. This sounds obvious but is often overlooked in documentation if it’s written from your perspective not the users.
The client is very happy with the result they got using WordPress. It used to take months to update something on the site to add a new feature or even to make a simple update on the site. Compare that to the fact this whole renewal project spanned over 2 months or so, but their gross development time was about 3 weeks (note: the design and some frontend code was carried over from the existing site)!
Q: How/where did you set up an environment for testing?
A: Tim said they had a separate dev site on his company’s server. Anthony said he’s experimenting with Dev and Staging Environment Plugin – he’s liking it so far.
Q. Why did you use WordPress (as opposed to Joomla! or Drupal)?
A. WordPress has a nice admin interface for the client to work with. It is important that the user can keep updating the site without much help, and also they can hand over the task to anther person if they need to.
Q. Anything to note on the theme side?
A. They took the template from the existing site and made it into a WordPress theme. Theme setup is pretty basic other than a custom page template for the home page.