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.