AngloInfo :: Multisite WordPress Consultancy and Development

Angloinfo is the largest online community of global citizens, with over ninety local sites across the globe . I was contracted both to advise, spec and deliver a massive overhaul of their multisite WordPress platform that’s used both as a CMS to manage their sites content and over five hundred customised blogs with tens of millions of monthly page views. As the sole developer my work was 40% front end and 60% backend. My first task was to undergo an audit of the site and its structure and then to make recommendations to the necessary stakeholders about the options available and the time, cost, risks associated. Once the plan and process had been agreed and signed off my first task was to update WordPress from version 3.0 to the current version 4.7. This was considerably challenging as no downtime was allowed and the legacy system had been highly customised 5 years previously to allow functionality that wasn’t available within WordPress at that time. All functionality had to be mapped across into the new WordPress environment and workarounds were created to implement the bespoke existing customisations. The data involved was colossal (terabytes of images, hundreds of gigabytes of data, millions of posts and comments, thousands of users) and it all needed seamlessly porting to the new environments. Numerous Automation scripts were written, tested and then deployed to assist with this task (legacy data was ported first and new ‘current’ data was continuously mapped during the pre-live phase). The responsive sites frontend had to follow strict design / brand guidelines and utilized a laravel-powered Rest API to manage the navigation and other custom elements of the site including managing cookies, analytics, user states and advertising. The backend was highly customized too allowing the different user types to access and control a variety of areas of their sites ranging from Network & Site Admins, Franchisees and individual blog users. Documentation  was written to assist in the transition for both internal AngloInfo users and the end users (bloggers). The site was hosted via Amazon EC2 and had to continuously scale to cope with the significant traffic loads. All media was served via a CDN and the utilized Cloudflare for caching. Other areas that were investigated and proposed included the use of AMP pages, leveraging ElasticSearch for heavy queries, Domain mapping and personalised websites and native Mobile blogging apps for AngloInfo bloggers. WEBSITE: www.angloinfo.com

Panasonic :: European Roll-out for Community Platform

Whilst at Brave, part of the Billington Cartmell group of companies, I was involved with a few significant projects for their lead client, Panasonic. The Panasonic Lumix G is their top selling prosumer camera and Brave had been running there very successful ‘Lumix Lifestyle’ UK community site based in WordPress that enabled professionals and amateurs alike to share images, techniques and complete in competitions all in a helpful, non sales orientated environment.  Due to the success of the community the client decided to roll out a similar platform across all their European territories. My involvement was to do a technical and code analysis on the existing platform that had evolved over time with numerous developers and make recommendations as to how the sites look and feel could be transported whilst completely overhauling the back-end to make more flexible, secure and future proof. The clients main requirement was to be easily able to manage the communities from within their local territories and seamlessly turn on or off localised content, assets and functionality within the shared platform. My recommendation was to use BuddyPress combined with a host of other bespoke and premium plugins on a multisite installation of WordPress.