Finally… v.5

Posted September 23rd, 2007 by Mike Cherim

For the past month-and-a-half I’ve been dropping hints about a new site I’ve been working on. Well, it’s done, I’ve flipped the switch, and it’s gone live. I don’t usually post about my creations in my blog (that’s what my projects pages are for), but in this case I am. First of all it’s my company so I have a special attachment to it. Second, I really like it. Third, a number of people have expressed an interest in seeing it once it was done, and last, I made it from WordPress (with the BeastBlog v2 framework) — and if anyone ever questioned the ability of WordPress to be used as a Content Management System (CMS), this site should once and for all answer their question. I works nicely in this role.

A Little Background

This site first went live in 1995, using content I was compiling for a technical manual I would later publish in 1998 (now out of print). The first version was built with tables and frames. It was an accessibility nightmare. The second and third versions weren’t any better. In 2004 I started messing around with this webby dev stuff and in July of 2005 I rebooted the site once again, as version 4 (v4). Finally we had a decent site.

An award winner, in fact, earning Site of the Month at GAWDS for one. It was featured in an accessible web design magazine (see image) in the UK, and in the book “Web Accessibility - Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance” (link might be broken) for its superb use of headings for navigation. Despite all this I decided it was time for another version. Something easier to update and maintain. Something more powerful and dynamic: Enter v5!

Big, Full-Featured Site

The site has about 224 pages, due to a lot of “paged” content resulting from the sheer volume of it. You’ll see that’s what this site is about: all content and education about a particular horticultural and agricultural science: Biological pest control and integrated pest management (IPM) — yeah, I know other things besides web development. I can rub my tummy and pat my head.

Still Dynamic

The WordPress core functions are 99.9% dynamic. For ease of maintenance, keeping it dynamic was one of my primary objectives. The .1% that’s manual is the navigation. I won’t get into it here, but I posted about it in brief on the site for anyone who might be interested.

The Bug Blog

The site, of course, has a blog. The Bug Blog I call it (read about this launch there, too… be the first to comment!). The last version also had a blog of sorts. It had a feed, pagination, and archived, anyway. But it was difficult to use and edit, had no support for comments, and there was no categories support, only date and title archiving. WordPress is so much better as a blog publishing platform. So much so that I decided to stop foolishly trying to reinvent the wheel.

Online Shopping

I wanted a shop (and I got a shop). There are plugins for WordPress and stand-alone shop solutions, but I wasn’t really happy with the existing offerings. Thus, I contacted my colleague and friend Rich Pedley and asked if he’d help. He made me an accessible shopping cart plugin for WordPress — I absolutely love it. Look for it in the future as Rich plans to release it to the wild at some point. I must to say that without Rich, it would have been beyond me to do what he did. Thank you so very much, Rich! I am grateful.

Other Plugins

I also required the use of some plugins: a cool dozen (plus about eight small core-file edits). The rest was done with a little custom scripting, and plugin and theme modifications. I’m not going to mention what plugins I used here, but they are listed on the site for those who are interested. This is a list of all the external forces at play. Some mine, some from others, and in one case, it was mine, then was modified creatively by David Zemens, then re-modified and re-used by me again. (Thanks for the inspiration Dave.)

I’d also like to say a special thank you to Dan Cameron for working with me on his Search Everything plugin. Dan was very responsive and helpful. Seeing my work, Dan asked if I’d design his plugin’s user interface. Thankful for his help I said sure and spent a couple of hours on it. Since then, Dan has added me to his contributor’s list. Thanks Dan, that was cool of you to do that.

Special Thanks

I would also like to thank Mel Pedley and Joe Dolson for taking an in-depth look, and finding some stuff I could/should improve before going live. That was more helpful than you realize guys.

Read More…

The site, to the best of my knowledge, is 100% error-free, fully valid, with no scripting errors, or bugs. It validates to AAA accessibility on most pages (see below) according to the automated Cynthia tester. Now I know this can’t possibly be, it’s really a AA site, but it’s still something to be proud of. Turn off styles, turn off images, turn off script… or any combination thereof. Have fun. It should hold up well to your scrutiny.

Below: I know the numeric pagination links are not properly separated. I cannot figure this one out. The snippet is below. Nothing seems to work. Anybody know how to solve this besides using content:after? Update: Problem solved. See comments.

<!--This has me beat… please help-->
 <?php link_pages('<p class="continue">Continuation Pages: ', ' &raquo;</p>', 'number'); ?>

Please tell me what you think, and if you spot any typos, please point them out. I suck terribly at self-editing so I’m sure there are some many boo-boos. Part of the charm?

13 Responses to: “Finally… v.5”

  1. Rich Pedley responds:
    Posted: September 23rd, 2007 at 4:30 am

    Looking at the newer function wp_link_pages (which you should really update to if you have it available) I think it could be adapted. I’d basically write a small plugin that changes the Wordpress function (or applies an another one in its place) to add in the ability to specify a wrapper for the links. As I assume you’d rather display them in a list?

    Oh and thanks for the mention!

  2. Jermayn Parker responds:
    Posted: September 23rd, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Looks nice indeed Mike, a job well done.

  3. Tommy Olsson responds:
    Posted: September 24th, 2007 at 1:18 am

    It looks beautiful, Mike, although there are lots of bugs … :)

  4. Dave Woods responds:
    Posted: September 24th, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Very nice Mike, love the use of the ladybirds :o )

    Also nice to see the site works well when the text is resized. Well done on a good job.

  5. Marco responds:
    Posted: September 24th, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Hey Mike. Very nice! It catches my eye for all of the right reasons.

    And, I really really like the mobile layout as well! :)

  6. Greg responds:
    Posted: September 26th, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Hey Mike, at first glance looks great. Clean with lots of visual interest… will take another look for any typos.

  7. Blair Millen responds:
    Posted: September 26th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    A very impressive update Mike, I like it.

  8. Darren Taylor responds:
    Posted: September 27th, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Mike, love the new look just one small oddity I noticed is when you move your mouse down from the green circle (top right) I see text quickly flash off and on in the top left of the screen. I assume it’s some sort of css/IE bug!

Sorry. Comments are closed.

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