I originally built the Classic Cougar Community as a Joomla! 1.0.x site back in 2007. When Joomla! 1.5.x debuted, the client had me migrate the site to the new version. Now, Joomla! is up to version 1.7.x, but currently there is not a simple, straight upgrade path from Joomla! 1.5.x to 1.7.x; it’s a migration.
The success he’s experienced with other WordPress sites led my client to opt for migrating the site to WordPress, a platform that in my experience is much easier–and less costly–to maintain and upgrade, rather than to migrate it to the newest version of Joomla!.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is helping small businesses build a professional-looking web presence inexpensively and efficiently from the ground up.
The Oregon Dreamery is one such project. The Dreamery did have a site, but it was a conventional HTML web site on a somewhat limited host with another domain name that was difficult for them to manage, hard to upgrade, and limited in functionality. Although they knew from the outset that they wanted to do limited ecommerce on the site, WordPress was the best choice for a platform for them.
They’re pleased with the site, actively involved in growing it, and also now benefit from the automated nightly database backup, automated monthly database optimization, and off-site backup that I offer.
This site isn’t completely vanilla WordPress, however. They also opted to have me build a quote database for them, and to include a quote-of-the-day on the home page drawn from the database. Not only that, but the site itself is pure Oregon. Even if you’re not interested in seeing a WordPress example, you should check it out.
Cougars are solitary animals, and don’t travel in packs, but this month, a whole pride of Cougars arrived at my door, and I learned more about classic Mercury Cougars than I ever would have believed possible. One of my best clients, a classic Cougar collector, commissioned TrackItWeb to migrate the classic Cougar registries from their previous web hosts to a new home. Several days after agreeing to the job, I received a set of CD-ROMs in the mail containing the HTML for the three sites.
ByLanderSea is a WordPress-based blog-style site that I “inherited.” I met Debi Lander, the author of ByLanderSea, through my work with BCT Publishing and Automotive Traveler, for whom she occasionally acts as a contributing author of travel and automotive articles.
I include it here not only because the site has some great articles, but because the site uses a custom theme for WordPress. Most of my clients don’t choose to spend much on developing a site cosmetically, and are satisfied with a few changes to one of WordPress’ default themes. There are definitely good reasons to use a customized WordPress default theme (child theme), and I review those advantages with every client I build a WordPress-based site for, but sometimes, a client wants something in particular that a custom theme can give them.
If you decide to have me build your site, I’ll certainly review the pros and cons of a custom theme for WordPress–or any other open-source software–with you before you commit to the expense. I just want to make sure you know that the limits on customizing a theme, or using a custom theme, are only a matter of how much of your web development budget you want to commit to it.
This site also required the import of a number of blog entries from a Blogspot account. Blogspot is based on WordPress, and it is possible to export from Blogspot, then import into WordPress. If the Blogspot posts are complex, it can be a challenge, but it is possible for those who find the freedom and greater customization possibilities of having their own WordPress installation preferable to the simplicity of Blogspot.
This month, I was asked to migrate an ecommerce site to a new host, a new platform, and to split the site into ecommerce and blog sections, each on a separate hosting account and domain. This time, the client chose the template for both Zen Cart (my recommendation for the ecommerce side) and WordPress (the client’s choice for the blogging platform).
The main challenge to this job was the complexity of the organization of categories and products in the ecommerce section of the site. In order to populate the many categories, I wrote a series of PHP-based utilities. The images including watermarks and resizing to accommodate Zen Cart’s requirement for multiple image sizes were built using local Bash scripts and Imagemagick. Although the client had to pay for my time to produce the PHP utilites and the image processing scripts, they enjoyed a substantial net savings over having to use their employees’ time or mine to populate the store with their products.
Sometimes, it’s good to be a programmer.
The other programming project for Q-Logic involved producing a new application guide for them from the Zen Cart database of their products so they wouldn’t have to manually create one each time there was a product change. I used PHP, MySQL, and PDF to create the application guide which updates once a day via a cron job on the server and can be downloaded on the site.