One Theme, One Multisite, 30+ Unique Websites – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup NYC

Simon Dickson and Simon WheatleyCode for the People, presented “One Theme, One Multisite, 30+ Unique Websites” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in New York City.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: Seeing your content as WordPress sees it

Simon Dickson, Code for the People, Director, presented at the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in London, with his presentation “Seeing your content as WordPress sees it.”

Simon explores using WordPress for a potential election campaign site and how visualizing the data from a slightly different viewpoint makes it easier to see how it can fit in with WordPress’ data structures and taxonomies.

Watch the video of his presentation and see his slide deck below!

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Defining New Urban Media with WordPress – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup NYC

Dave McKinley, CTO of Oomph, and Grant Cerny, SVP Products & Studios at Interactive One, presented “Defining New Urban Media with WordPress” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in New York City.

The presentation focuses on the technology and business challenges the teams faced in launching the 75+ sites in their network. Below are the video and slides from their presentation.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: RUFFLR – not just another WordPress site

Ed Coke-Steel, founder of Rufflr, presented at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in London.

His presentation, “Rufflr, not just another WordPress site,” focuses on the online wardrobe site he founded which allows users to share and follow fashion online. The site features popular users like musicians from Sony Music who share their fashion looks and fashion bloggers and other noted personalities. WordPress powers the entire site which features rich interaction in the form of profiles, collections, rankings, ratings, and more.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: How IPC Media Chose WordPress

Lee Aylett, Head of Technology from IPC Media, presented at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in London.

Lee talked about the decision his team went through in choosing WordPress Multisite to run many of their brands and the struggle in choosing whether to do things good, cheap, or fast in his presentation, “Breaking the Project Management Triangle.” They chose WordPress, and IPC Media a wholly-owned subsidiary of Time, Inc., is starting to roll out some of the 55 brands in its portfolio on WordPress Multisite.

See Lee’s presentation deck below, and the video of his presentation, too.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Meet Sulfur — a Media Manager App Built in JavaScript

Originally posted on Developer Resources:

Since Automattic is a distributed company and a lot of us work from home, we hold meetups to get face-to-face interaction. The whole company meets up once a year and individual teams get together more often. One component of those meetups is a “meetup project” that we all work on together.

The team I lead — “Team I/O*” — just finished a lovely week in Reykjavik, Iceland. Our team is responsible for partnerships and our APIs.

We spent the first day releasing better JavaScript support for our APIs. After that we decided to make an example app, mainly focusing on the new CORS support and implicit OAuth system.

We decided to build a media manager purely in the browser. We picked a codename and Sulfur was born.

Update: Check out the live demo!

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 5.18.13 PM

Sulfur is an app built using Backbone, Underscore.js, Plupload, jQuery, MomentJS

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Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: Metro UK’s Powerful Content Algorithm

A huge thank you to everyone who attended our first WordPress Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in London last Wednesday! We had a solid group who came out to the event to hear the presentations, and afterwards we all went nearby to continue the networking.

We had a great lineup of speakers from the London and UK community who are using WordPress for their big media and enterprise sites in different ways:

• Dave Jensen, Metro.co.uk, Head of Development, “Metro’s Content Algorithm

 Lee Aylett, IPC Media, Head of Web Technology, “Breaking the Project Management Triangle”

• Ed Coke-Steel, Rufflr, “RUFFLR – not just another WordPress site

• Simon Dickson, Code for the People, Director, “Seeing your content as WordPress sees it.

We were able to film all of the talks and we’ll be posting the videos of those talks right here on VIP News.

For the first installment, Dave Jensen (@elgrom) from Metro UK (hosted right here on WordPress.com VIP) explains how Metro continually experiments with their content algorithm to promote and feature the most interesting content for their readers and increase engagement on their site and mobile apps.

Dave recently shared some insight on how Metro UK has grown 350% through some growth hack experiments, so he provides another great inside look on what Metro has been doing internally to tweak their site content.

Below is his slide deck and the video from his presentation — thanks, Dave!

https://speakerdeck.com/elgrom/metros-newsfeed-algorithm

To see the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups, click hereFor Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

A New VIP Training course: Security, Performance, & Debugging

WordPress.com VIP Training Days - Security, Performance, & DebuggingAfter the success of our two initial training courses, we’re launching a second developer course in June in San Francisco!

The new course, WordPress Fundamentals: Security, Performance, & Debugging draws from issues and examples we’ve seen here with our WordPress.com VIP clients. We’ve worked with numerous VIP clients to make their sites more secure, faster, and able to scale WordPress for high traffic, and we’ll now work with you to help make the sites you build safe and scalable.

Below is a complete description of the course. You can sign up for the new training course in June in San Francisco now!

WordPress Fundamentals: Security, Performance, & Debugging is a day-long, intensive course meant to improve WordPress developers’ in advanced concepts like security and performance. Attendees should be familiar with developing WordPress plugins and themes or should have attended our Developer Fundamentals I course.

We’ll cover the basics of writing fast and secure code. Attendees will see and try popular profiling tools and we will show common performance problems, both on the front- and the back-end. Instead of just listing vulnerabilities, attendees will learn how to think like an attacker and exploit the vulnerabilities before fixing them.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with PHP development.
  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.
  • Proficiency with basic WordPress plugin and theme development – actions, filters, loading assets, main core APIs.
  • The latest version of VirtualBox: https://www.virtualbox.org/

Curriculum Overview

  • Performance: common reasons for slow back-end code
  • Performance: profiling back-end code with WordPress tools
  • Performance: profiling back-end code with lower level tools
  • Performance: profiling tools for front-end code and asset loading
  • Security: common types of vulnerabilities
  • Security: exploiting and fixing XSS problems
  • Security: exploiting and fixing SQL injection problems
  • Security: exploiting and fixing CSRF vulnerabilities
  • Security: exploiting and fixing remote file inclusion attacks

Sign up for the Security, Performance, & Debugging course in June in San Francisco, or take a look at our other upcoming events and training!

Remaining Spaces for the VIP Workshop in March – Register Now!

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The WordPress.com VIP Intensive Developer Workshop is March 31 – April 3, 2014. The event will dive deep into topics which concern enterprise-level sites the most like security & performance, and provides many opportunities to talk strategy and learn from other VIPs in beautiful Napa Valley, California.

We’ve had an incredibly good response from participants in the past two editions (100% and 95% respectively said they would recommend the VIP Workshop to a colleague) and we can’t wait to welcome this year’s group.

Participation costs $3,600 per person, and covers 3-nights’ lodging, meals, and airport transfer. So pretty much all you need to do is book a flight! What are you waiting for?
This event will sell out, but as of today spaces are still available for current VIP clients and partners. Here’s more information, or register directly.

WordPress Agencies: Facing Challenges for the Next 10 Years

Last week I gave a presentation at WordCamp Paris, focused on what WordPress agencies need to do to be enterprise-ready which I think is the biggest challenge the WordPress community is facing in the next ten years.

At WordPress.com VIP, we’re at the forefront of evaluating, analyzing, and enabling enterprise and large-organization WordPress projects with WordPress developers and agencies all over the world.  As the software matures and becomes more well-known, the demand for bigger and more innovative projects is increasing, too, and the many WordPress consultancies around the world need to be ready to answer that call.

Below are the slides from my presentation and then some additional insights and advice from WordPress.com VIP Featured Service Partners to WordPress agencies and consultancies all over the world.

Q: When did you know it was time to grow your team & how did you do it? What has contributed the most to your growth?

Austin Smith from Alley Interactive: Our project management team keeps a close eye on resource allocation and lets us know when it’s time to hire. We don’t allow ourselves to grow rapidly in response to any one big site build project—the baseline revenue has to grow in order for us to take on a new FTE. This also means that we can’t say yes to every large project. We’re lucky to have watched a similar agency expansion in the Drupal world from the sidelines, and we’ve witnessed that the agencies that grew rapidly in response to a few big contracts had a very hard time surviving after those projects were delivered and the big checks stopped coming. Don’t accept a project that you can’t deliver with the team you have at the moment you sign the agreement.

Tom Willmot from Human MadeWe’ve grown organically as the amount of work coming in has grown, we’ve generally been pretty cautious when adding to the team which I think has served us well. In the beginning that growth is slow as adding a single new person could be the equivalence of growing the team size by 33% but as you grow it becomes easier to grow more quickly.

Simon Dickson from Code for the People: I think of the early days of WordPress as a ‘serious’ platform – by which I’m talking 2006-8 – as its ‘punk rock’ years. I had seen corporate web development become slow, costly and too clever by half: think Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Emerson Lake and Palmer. For me and many others, involvement in WordPress was a reaction against all that, powered by enthusiasm rather than education. We could produce great work in small teams with minimal knowledge and minimal overheads. And although we could see amazing potential in WordPress, we tended to keep our ambitions in check – no concept albums or twenty-minute solos.

But as WordPress developed, and as we kept proving ourselves on the small stuff, clients began bringing bigger and bigger projects to us. Instead of modest microsites, we were being asked to develop the main website, or a corporate publishing platform. And with greater budgets come greater responsibility. We needed to expand the team, to provide cover for the skills we already had, and to add extra skills we didn’t already have.

The bar to becoming a great web developer is higher now than it ever has been. It’s unrealistic for someone to be an end-to-end expert in everything from responsive visuals to server efficiency, not to mention sales and business management. There’s still a huge market for ‘jacks of all trades’ – building smaller sites or working with smaller clients. But to build the kind of sites we wanted, for the kind of clients we wanted, we needed to put together a team of specialists.

Q: How has your coding workflow & style changed as you’ve grown? What prompted the changes?

Tom: We’ve evolved our workflow a lot, from what was a mish-mash of personal coding styles / workflows to what we have now which is pretty clearly defined. This was important to us for a number of reasons:

  1. We enforce internal code review, all code is reviewed by a coding buddy and vice-versa. This increases overall code quality, reduces bugs, promotes consistency and is a great way to learn from each other. We rotate those buddy pairs quarterly and purposefully pair across skill levels.
  2. Having a clearly defined workflow helps us work more effectively with freelancers and clients as they can easily get up to speed on how we like to work.
  3. Our local development environment is based on Vagrant which is huge in terms of ensuring everyone is working from a consistent base.

Simon: Over the past year, as we’ve added extra employees and expanded our freelancer pool, git has become absolutely pivotal to our work process.

We are a distributed team, scattered across the UK; yet we can all collaborate safely and effectively. Features can be developed in parallel, and merged together when ready – all the more important as we each specialise in different facets of site development. And with a visual tool such as SourceTree, we always have an overview of who’s working on what, and which version of the code is on which server. I can’t imagine how we ever coped without it.

Austin: The most significant change we made was to implement code review for everything we deliver. Every line of code we ship has at least one extra set of eyes on it. It’s not supervisory, it’s peer review, which fosters collaboration. This had a very positive side effect in terms of natural exchange of ideas, and has also ensured that our Github repositories now all use feature branches, which is definitely a best practice.

We formalized this practice when we grew our management team beyond the co-founders—it’s a way for us to ensure high quality code delivery whether the founders are involved in a project or not.

Q: What was the biggest challenge your team faced in serving larger clients? 

Simon: In our experience, even with the largest clients, the day-to-day responsibility for a project usually rests with one individual. And whenever possible, we like that individual to feel like part of our extended team. We often give them a login to our company-only chatroom and our code repository, so they can see the commit messages and join the ongoing dialogue. Transparency builds trust, with benefits for both sides.

Our biggest challenge has been learning to be patient. I spent most of my career working for large organisations, from national governments to tech multinationals, so I know all about dealing with slow decision-making processes, and challenging long-established policy or practice. In those first few months working for myself, I couldn’t quite believe how productive I could be. It’s all too easy to forget that others are still suffering.If you want to deal with large clients, you just have to accept the slowness. ‘No brainer’ decisions can take months, and there’s almost nothing you can do about it – apart from being ready to respond, as best you can, when the answer finally arrives.

Austin: We started our firm to work on big projects with big clients, so the size of work has only gotten incrementally bigger. We’ve always enforced internal consistency per project, but allow for overall standards to improve from project to project.

Tom: Assuming clients want the cheapest not the best – when you come from the mindset of serving small-business you tend to be hyper focused on delivering solutions as cheaply as possible. Often when estimating a project, say to add a simple e-commerce section you’ll think “we could knock something simple together in 2 days, but to really build something great we’ll need 2 weeks”. We want to seek out clients that want us to go for the latter option.

Q: What’s one thing you wish you had done from the very beginning?

Tom: I wish we had participated more in the WordPress community, in the early days I was more of a lurker than an interacter and definitely lost out because of it, more WordPress agencies need to wake up to the power of being part of the WP community.

Austin: I’d say code review, but it I’m not sure it would’ve been a reasonable thing to ask of our smaller team a couple years ago.

Simon: Simon & I had both been through the ‘starting a company’ thing previously; and we had been working as an unofficial partnership for a couple of years. So we knew the pitfalls which lay in wait during that first year.My advice to others would be to look for opportunities to use third-party services wherever possible. Time is the one thing you can’t stockpile: so it’s almost always worth spending a few pounds/euros/dollars on a good hosted service which will ‘just work’, even if there’s a free self-hosted equivalent.

Thanks to our WordPress.com VIP Featured Service Partners for their insights! We’ll be adding more to this as the answers come in.