Simple one-page website for a leading London-based garden design company.
I was contracted by the UK Government to review, architect and develop a new set of Rest APIs for the Planning Inspectorate, the body responsible for all national infrastructure and local planning information. The Planning Inspectorate were leveraging a combination of technologies and legacy APIs to allow the seamless transfer of the different documents, imagery, data and content between their respective platforms and third parties.
Through my detailed review I was able to identify numerous architectural inefficiencies that i was then able to re architect into a simplified, stable, standardised, documented, flexible Rest API. Some superfluous requirements were sidelined under my instruction to be coded as standalone Laravel solutions in the future. The API was constructed using WordPresses new core api (WP-API V2) as a series of plugins, each one catering for a different document type. In addition to the above i was responsible for managing and documenting the upgrading of their frontend WordPress site and all the supporting environments (test, dev, staging) and the wealth of customised plugins that their stack required and ensuring that all areas of the site continued to work as desired. I also was responsible for setting up version control on all of the stacks plugins and source code.
Woodfords Investment Management is one of the leading Fund Management companies in the UK and it is headed by Neil Woodford the UK’s top fund manager, they are based in Oxford, England. I was contracted under a strict NDA to work on their highly customised WordPress-based Investment Portal that included a brand site, a secure client portal and a wealth of advanced printing functionality.
After a few months of fixing a variety of legacy issues and deploying some new features (coupled with my Technical Direction experience) i came to the conclusion that in terms of efficiency, scalability, cost and time it would be far better to overhaul, refactor and re-architect all things WordPress within Woodfords!
The reason a new WordPress architecture was required was the same as in many organisations that adopted WordPress early on – years and layers of code added to patch WordPress’s legacy shortcomings that are now obsolete due to improvements within the WordPress core. In addition to this the stack had a complete reliance on a third party page building software package which meant that non standard WordPress code had to be written (and sometimes learnt) at every opportunity making all updates and fixes both harder and more time-consuming.
The future too looked bleak too – the take up of the Gutenberg editor means page editors become obsolete, non-standard and impossible to support effectively and their inability to work alongside the ubiquitous WP-API was inherently self-destructive.
I thus spent the last few months researching, architecting and prototyping a next-generation wordpress based hub that would allow the agency, Jerram, to demonstrate to Woodfords what they could have in a hands-on interactive way. Once this was completed I was responsible for creating a slick HTML5 presentation based in Reveal JS and Revolution Slider to help convince the client that they need to rethink their current approach.
The Unipart Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturing, logistics and consultancy companies whose components and services are used by clients including Tesla, Apple, Mclaren, Land Rover Jaguar and Sky. I was recruited by H2O, Oxfords Top Marketing Agency, to migrate and re-architect all their group company websites into a enterprise-level WordPress multisite environment.
In order to deliver the right solution for all the parties involved I had to attend numerous high level meetings with the respective stakeholders, including management, to ensure that all requirements were factored in at the start of the project. Great care was taken to ensure that the overall product was both intuitive and logical to maintain, manage and update whilst allowing a high degree of creative and interactive functionality in the front end. It also had to be very secure and easily scalable, following WordPress conventions at every opportunity.
New branded sub sites could be added at will by the client, all maintaining the parents overarching brand but allowing certain areas to vary, permitting each child to have its own, unique identification including colors, fonts and layouts.
High speed, detailed, rich animations formed a key part of the front end design and in order to minimise the use of heavy videos, and not detrimentally impact page load speeds, i decided to utilize AirBnB’s Lottie ( https://airbnb.design/lottie ) & the BodyMovin plugin. This was both massively beneficial and cutting edge. The reasons are as follows:
- The Agency (like most) liked to create animations and adverts in Adobe After Effects. This enabled them to export their animations directly from After Effects into BodyMovin’s Json format.
- Json could then be uploaded / updated in real-time and remotely. It could even be pushed via the WP-API. This means that animations could be changed and amended remotely at anytime.
- The resulting animations were incredibly quick to load
- The performance of the animations was second to none as it utilises the latest browser hardware improvements.
- The same animations could then run in their native apps and via their smart tvs too – and be updated in real-time! Bingo! 🙂
Once the basic platform was archirected and deployed it was also my responsibility to manage the migration of the data between the different databases.
The original designs were supplied in PhotoShop and XD, it was y responsibility to create semantic HTML5 designs from these. The resulting theme was built from scratch by myself and utilised the underscores (_s) starting theme and Bootstrap 4 for the layout. Other libraries like Slick JS, FullScreen JS, Reveal JS etc were used too. There was a theme options page too to allow generic sub site settings to be added, inherited. Custom plugins were also created to allow subsites to choose which functionality they required by default.WEBSITE: www.unipart.com