The FeverBee–CommunityGeek Migration Project - Instalment 1

(Sarah Hawk) #1

As you know, I’m working on migrating FeverBee and CommunityGeek off our current TypePad/Drupal platform to an integrated WordPress/Discourse solution.

I promised to document the process, and I’m afraid I’ve been somewhat lacking in that department, for which I apologise. I’m getting organised now though – here is instalment 1.

Some time ago (I see the proposed launch date is 2012!) Rich shared an early functional specification. We’ve come a long way since then and a fair few things have changed, partly because our thinking has evolved, and partly because technology has changed. I wasn’t part of the team when that original spec was written, so some of my thinking has shaped our process as well.

What hasn’t changed is our plan to create a ‘one stop community shop’, combining Rich’s writing, FeverBee resources, discussion, and community input into one place. Users will have a FeverBee account which gives them access to different parts of the site, depending on their requirements.

As is to be expected, any project this size requires hefty planning. For the last few months we’ve worked to put together a new specification, carry out competitive research, recruit necessary development resources and buy the appropriate licenses and templates.

Our finished site will feature a homepage which showcases Rich’s writing, highlighted community contributions, and latest community discussions. Commenting on articles will be handled by Discourse, meaning that we end up with a fully integrated community solution. FeverBee membership (somewhat like the current CommunityGeek membership) will give users access to unlimited resources, and offer them the ability to submit their own resources (and see their own work on our homepage), among other things.

My background is technical, so I’m working with Grazitti Interactive (who are doing an amazing job to date, and I would highly recommend them if you carry out a digital project of any size and don’t have in-house capability), and the team at Discourse (I’ve worked with them before and also rate them highly) to pull the site together. Our finished solution will take Discourse/WordPress integration further than it has gone to date (that I’m aware of), so there is a fair bit of technical heavy lifting going on. So that we don’t have to cut financial corners in this area, we have chosen to use a WordPress theme to save on design costs. It means that within our limited timeframe, I can write the inner site pages without spending too much time worrying about the design of page elements.

The only small snags that we’ve hit so far are deciding how to deal with the EU cookie law (I haven’t worked on an EU site before) and what to do regarding the sub-folder vs sub-domain question, as I’ve outlined in this post.

At the time of writing, Grazziti have the homepage integration almost good to go, I’m hacking WordPress templates and setting up our Discourse instance ready for the first data migration next week, and Rich is about to get started on content creation for the inner pages.

I’ll keep you posted as we progress.

(Susan Burton) #2

Super valuable post. Thank you!

(Alena Rybik) #3

Great plan Hawk, I really like the concept of a ‘one stop community shop’, looking forward to see it implemented.

I also like your choice of Wordpress theme, clean, functional and modern.

I am curious what concerns do you have about the EU cookie law, could you please tell more?

(Sarah Hawk) #4

Thanks for the feedback and support. :)

I am curious what concerns do you have about the EU cookie law, could you please tell more?

I have never built an EU site before so wasn't even aware of the law. Rich mentioned it so I had to find a graceful solution. I've opted for a pop-up bar and I think we're sorted on that front. It'll be geo-targeted, so won't affect our entire audience.

(Richard Millington) #5

That spec was actually for the original CGEEK site before your time!

One of the other big questions here really is what do we restrict to paying members and what do we open up to everyone? I like the idea of more people being able to participate in discussions but only CGEEK members being able to download resources. And we have a lot of material via the training course we can open up. 

(Sarah Hawk) #6

That spec was actually for the original CGEEK site before your time!

I knew it was old, but that explains a few things. ;)

One of the other big questions here really is what do we restrict to paying members and what do we open up to everyone?

What I don't want to lose here is the high level of discussion and the fact that people feel comfortable sharing quite private strategies/situations. One thing that Discourse does very gracefully is private forums/trust levels. I like the idea of having a private lounge for current CGeek members so that we can retain the familiarity that our current exclusivity awards us, while opening up the rest of the discussion to others.

How would you guys feel about that?

(Steven Cyrkin) #7

I'd probably go for the free version then if I'd be paying $30+ a month otherwise. Downloading resources isn't that important to me. 

(Sarah Hawk) #8

Downloading resources isn't that important to me. 

Ok, that's good feedback, thanks. How would you feel if unpaid membership only gave you access to parts of the community, rather than the higher level discussion areas?

(Note: we're still figuring these things out, nothing is yet set in stone.)

(Steve Bridger) #9

This is a big question facing many communities - not least when the 'sponsor' is a membership association and access to the community is a 'membership benefit'. There are lots of pros and cons, and it's a question of balance.

CG does feel different because it's 'locked down' to those who pay a (not insignificant) monthly sub. 

I'd be in favour of a free trial period... and then payment should come as natural consequence of 'seeing the value', and what you'd miss out on.