Pro bono blog development

As my wife can attest, I’ve been lost in the world of code again.  It‘s happened before.  This time, I was working on a big project for an NPO for which I do part-time admin work.  The project involved updating their WordPress theme.  I had not selected the previous theme they were using; it was roughly 4-6 years old, so showing its age in a lot of ways.

The CBE Scroll blog
The CBE Scroll blog

The effort was very much a “start from scratch” job.  Since web dev is not my day job, my skill set is somewhat limited in the world of PHP and CSS.  So I knew that I had to start with a good foundation.  In this case, I settled on the amazingly excellent Thematic Framework.  The learning curve is non-trivial, but the rewards are huge.  I’ve learned a lot about PHP filtering, action hooking, and good design principles in general.

The requirements for the project were really twofold:

  1. Freshen up the look.  Make it modern, readable, clean, simple.
  2. Try to make the blog look as close as possible to the parent Drupal-based site.  The blog subdomain existed long before the parent main site migrated its content to a full CMS, hence two different systems. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but not impossible to maintain.

So after about a month of work, I launched this morning… or should I say late, late, late last night?  I’m very pleased and hope the authors and readers enjoy the new playground.  I sure had fun rebuilding it.