Projects

This is really cool! Our WordPress site for Texas Tech daily news, Texas Tech Today, was featured in the WordPress.org Showcase. Go check it out 🙂

It was even covered in part of a presentation which was mentioned over at WPCandy.

I am thrilled at the attention this has been getting. It Just shows that WordPress has the ability to be a full-fledged CMS if you know what to do (programming plugins to fit your needs and making custom templates) and have a vision for your site. See, it was fairly easy for me to come up with a solution for our office. I knew we needed a much better way of publishing stories, feature stories, news releases, clips, and videos. So I set out to design a theme that would display all of these elegantly and provided all the social media and user tools on each individual page.

Once I had a clear vision (in a Photoshop mockup), I started making my plugins and template/css to do what I already had in my head.  I hadn’t been exposed to WordPress programming very much at all prior to this project, but the codex helped tremendously and any answer I was looking for was easy to find.

If anyone has any questions, leave a comment or contact me.

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We just launched my favorite project I’ve worked on so far, for obvious reasons for any of you that know me 🙂

This new site is http://www.passorcatch2008.com and it’s a showcase for two of Texas Tech’s top players: quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree. If we can keep winning and finish off a great season, both have a shot at the Heisman at the end of the year.

The site features a great design developed by our athletics department. They also shot some fun videos and gave us some nice photos to put up in the gallery.

My job was to take the design and mock it up in photoshop. I then did the html and css conversion. I also added the photo gallery using the jQuery-lightbox plugin.

I received the videos in .avi format so I converted them to .flv format and used the JW FLV Player to play them in flash.

The excellent content work and design was done by our web writer, Lisa Low.

It was a fun site and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I hope Texas Tech fans everywhere enjoy it and spread the word.

GO TECH!

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Texas Tech Today Screenshot

Whew! A few hard months of planning and preparation have come to a culmination with the launch of the new Texas Tech Today. TTT is our news and information site that holds all of our news releases, clips, stories, and videos. It all runs on WordPress with the help of some custom plugins and templates. This isn’t a typical blog site, and the extendability of WordPress allowed me to do some really cool things and use it as a CMS that will fit our needs very well. This is a credit to the developers of wp, and the fact that they have made it such a nice platform to work with.

This new version will make the posting of stories faster and more efficient. That way, our content developers can focus on producing more and more quality content that our audience will find valuable and want to share.

The old way of posting stories to our site was through dreamweaver and was completely file based, with no help from a cms of any sort. This worked ok for a while, but we realized there had to be a better way to manage our content. Since our stories are somewhat “templatable”, meaning they can have a standard sidebar and other options, I set out to find a way to make it dead easy to post a story without using dreamweaver. Enter wordpress and the ability to code plugins that do pretty much whatever you can think of, and we were set.

We used to have our stories and videos on one server and clips and news releases on another. The news releases and clips were pushed out with a custom mini-cms I built in CodeIgniter. The new way allows us to have everything in one place and the built-in rss feeds for every category make it easy to send out our feeds for each type of post.

Moving to WordPress will hopefully get us a little better search engine placement and maybe some chatter in the blogosphere. Wp-stats is amazing, but we’ve also got google analytics running so we can have a comprehensive view of our visitors and their interests in our content to serve them better.

My hope is that this can be a showcase of the power that wordpress has and that we can lead the way for other universities to use this wonderful software.

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