Welcoming Big Bite Creative and Trew Knowledge to the WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner Program

We’re pleased to announce two new additions to our list of Featured Service Partners, the ‘premier league’ of specialist WordPress development agencies.

WordPress.com VIP exists to help high-traffic and high-profile publishers get the most out of WordPress. To do so, we work with the best agency partners to deliver best-in-class solutions. Our list has been kept deliberately small and selective: but we’ve been looking to expand it just a little, not least to improve our geographic coverage. And today we’re excited to introduce our new UK-based partner, Big Bite Creative, and our new Toronto-based partner, Trew Knowledge.

Big Bite Creative come from Middlesbrough in the north-east of England, away from the more familiar digital centres of London and Manchester. They are comfortable working with clients in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, or in North America, which currently accounts for about half their business.

They first came to our attention with open sourced projects like Herbert and Ship, demonstrating an awareness of what’s happening on other platforms, and how similar methods might benefit WordPress developers. We also loved their efforts to build a creative community in what they admit is an ‘often overlooked’ part of the UK.

Trew Knowledge is our first Canadian partner, based in Toronto. Although Trew Knowledge is new to the partner program, they are not new to VIP. We’ve worked with them for several years already, as the developers behind the Canadian Olympic Committee website, hosted on WordPress.com VIP.

Trew Knowledge has always focused on building solutions that emphasize speed and performance without compromising security — aspects that align perfectly with our vision for the platform. They’re excited to combine their experience in large-scale digital enterprise solutions with VIP’s robust cloud based infrastructure for clients.

Both teams bring something new to our Featured Partner Program, and we’re delighted to welcome them aboard. The VIP team will be happy to advise on the contribution they, or any of our Partners can make to your next WordPress project.

Building Tournament-Style Brackets with the Polldaddy API

Using the Polldaddy API and Fieldmanager, Tom Harrigan, a principal software engineer at WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner agency Alley Interactive, built a dynamic tournament-style bracket system with a voting system for the NYPost’s Decider.com.

Aside from the specifics of the voting mechanism, round creation and procession, match-ups and modal navigation, he touches on parts of the development process such as storing data, the shortfalls, and some future considerations.

You can browse his slides below:

http://brackets.thomasharrigan.com/

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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Getty Images: Integrated Stock Images and the Challenges of the WordPress Media Manager

The Getty Images WordPress.com VIP plugin allows you to seamlessly create posts with photos and illustrations from Getty Images. Ben Doherty, the Technical Director at Oomph, goes in-depth about how the plugin was designed to integrate with the WordPress Media Manager.

He introduces some of the challenges he faced and what could be improved moving forward, specifically with documentation. You can find more information about the Getty Images WordPress.com VIP plugin here.

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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

iOne Media Cloud: Creating a Centralized Photo Repository

One of the challenges that VIP client iOne faced were legal takedowns of images. The team at iOne, led by WordPress developer Mike Auteri, found a solution by creating the iOne Media Cloud, a central photo resource.

The central photo repository enables upload/approval workflows; asset identification so any upload can be traced back to the uploader and approver; full audit trails for uploader, approver, and all imports remote to WordPress sites; and the seamless purchase of Premium photos for authorized users.

You can browse his slides 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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Improving Collaboration and Code Quality with Peer Code Review

High standards for code quality can be easy to maintain with a small team. But as Matt Boynes, a partner at WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner agency Alley Interactive, found out, code quality was difficult to scale as his team grew in size.

He set out to solve this by instituting peer code reviews. Every single line of code would get a second pair of eyes. While it was more time consuming and created barriers for deployment, the benefits overwhelmingly outweighed the costs. As a team, they were able to pool knowledge, improve collaboration, onboard new employees quickly and deploy code more efficiently.

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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Homepage and Section Front Curation Made Easy

When the Portland Press Herald decided to redesign their site, Matt Fulton, the Director of Digital Projects, called upon WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner Program agency 10up for their services. Matt and his team wanted to make two key changes with the homepage and section front curation.

The previously fixed and inflexible homepage became adaptive and engaging. By focusing on content blocks and content areas, they were able to design one basic skeleton that allowed them to arrange content and showcase important assets.

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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Scaling WP Queries with Elasticsearch

WordPress.com is big. Currently, there are:

  • 18.6 billion pages views/month
  • 409 million unique visitors/month
  • 56 million new posts/month
  • 68 million new comments/month

All of this happens on a dynamic platform that undergoes 5,000 deploys a month.

To try and surface better content to users, there are taxonomies and meta queries that normally don’t get used anywhere else. It can get difficult to scale these queries, which may more often than not result in the error message: MySQL server has gone away.

Xiao Yu, an Automattician, presents a solution: Elasticsearch. He states that Elasticsearch:

  • Optimizes for search not indexing
  • Is near realtime
  • Is denormalized
  • Uses inverted indices
  • Uses Bitsets

“Elasticsearch can represent a >200x improvement for queries against cold caches.” – Nick Daugherty, WordPress.com VIP

The es-wp-query plugin made by Matt Boynes at Alley Interactive does all of the transpiling of queries on the fly and can be found here:

https://github.com/alleyinteractive/es-wp-query

You can browse his slides 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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

 

Scaling UniversalSports.com for the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is one of the busiest days of the year for UniversalSports.com. Dave Ross, an engineer manager at the WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner agency 10up, was presented with two challenges: 1) scale UniversalSports.com for the site’s busiest day of the year 2) support the growing mobile audience for live streaming.

To accomplish this task successfully, Ross and his team emphasized peer code reviews and performance in PHP, Javascript and CSS. They used the Brightcove HTML5 Video Player along with the FitVids.JS library to tackle the growing mobile audience, which allows videos to resize and fit inside the container on the page.

You can browse his slides 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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

From Blogger Partners to Bacon Videos: Strengthening Core Brands Through Engaged Online Cooks

America’s Test Kitchen is best known for their television series on PBS and magazine Cook’s Illustrated. America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston with more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their recipes, equipment reviews, ingredient taste test results, and kitchen tips are made available across multiple different mediums like their TV shows, magazines, cookbooks, and websites.

To strengthen the many different brands they house, they wanted one cohesive, accessible site where they could connect with their fans, upload video tips, and publish original content. This resulted in The Feed. Social Media Manager, Jill Fisher, and Managing Editor, Christine Liu, walk us through how The Feed fostered a strong community of relationships with fans and bloggers that eventually lead to its own DIY book.

You can browse their slides 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.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

GovLoop’s Online Community with WordPress

Tell us about GovLoop – what audience does this site serve?

GovLoop primarily serves federal, state, and local government employees, but we’re open to anyone who wants to make government more effective.  I used to work at Department of Homeland Security and always wished there was an online community to meet others in government and learn best practices from other agencies.  We launched in June 2008 and now have over 150,000 members who use GovLoop to get new ideas and tips to do their job better.

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How has your content strategy changed over the past few years?

Our content strategy has evolved over the years by being extremely focused on our users.  Our original premise was to create a “Facebook for Government” and we heavily focused on features like profiles, friending, groups, and discussion profiles.  Over time, we found people use GovLoop more as a knowledge network so we changed our content strategy to include more original content, research guides, and free online trainings – all done with a practical, how-to, and community-oriented voice.

Why did you choose WordPress?

Ning was a great first step for us to get a social network with basic functionality (blogs, profiles, discussions, groups).  Over time as our community grew, we had a number of features we wanted to add and core development needs that wasn’t in their roadmap, which led us to explore other CMS options and ending up with WordPress – with BuddyPress and bbPress – as our decision.

As I was looking into new platforms for GovLoop, my focus was on choosing an open source option that had a large developer community building both the core platform and plug-ins.  This would allow us to tap into a large reservoir of talent and give us freedom if we wanted to launch new features ourselves.  This quickly narrowed it down to a few options and we ended up choosing WordPress as there’s been a number of great media and social properties built on it.  Plus, we’ve used WordPress for our major conference website (nextgengovt.com) so we already had developed some internal expertise on the platform.

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What were the challenges you ran into when migrating this site from Ning to WordPress?

When we started this project, I quickly realized the biggest complexity would be the data migration – moving over hundreds of thousands of blogs, discussions, comments, member profiles is an insane task.  I reached out to Peter Slutsky of Automattic for a top-notch WordPress developer group and he put us in touch with a great team to help us on this journey – 10up.  The 10up team did a fantastic job scoping out the migration, testing and retesting migration on our beta site, and in the end it turned out great.  In the end, we successfully moved millions of data points from Ning to WordPress/BuddyPress/bbPress without a hitch.

The whole 10up team was fantastic and particularly wanted to shout out Dan Blaker, our project manager, and Matt Gross, who did a lot of the heavy lifting.  Also, I want to give a shout-out to Jeff Ribeira on the GovLoop team who led the project internally.

Much of GovLoop is centered around social network and viral content. How did you address this component of the website using WordPress and plugins like BuddyPress?

The core of GovLoop is our community.  We addressed the social nature of GovLoop in a couple key ways.  We used BuddyPress for social networking and profiles, as well as bbPress for groups and forums.  We also heavily integrated with our marketing automation software Eloqua so we are able to provide custom messaging and new content based on their profiles.  In terms of additional technical specs, we are hosted with Innoscale, which has greatly improved the speed of the site and does BuddyPress hosting well.  We’ve also integrated Cloudflare for SSL and as our CDN.

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How has your audience responded to the redesign?

They’ve reacted great to the redesign.  Not only is traffic up, we’ve received feedback like “Love the new website! It is so great to see how much has gone into the site over the past few years! The site is fantastic! “.  A key part of this redesign was prioritizing our key resources that we spend a ton of time producing (research guides on topics like Cybersecurity) – we’ve seen a large increase in traffic to this area based on our new UI.  I’m particularly proud of how we’ve created a visually appealing way to sort through resources by topic and by product – check it out at govloop.com/resources

What’s next for GovLoop and what can our audience look forward to in terms of new technology that you’re adding to the site?

Our big push for 2015 is into online learning.  In 2014, over 30,000 people took our free online training and folks are asking for more.  In response, we expanded our training offerings and just launched this week  “GovLoop Academy”,a free online learning academy with 25+ interactive courses and mentoring components.  GovLoop Academy is integrated into GovLoop.com and is one instance of a lightweight WordPress-based LMS that we developed. We’ve had a number of government agencies and associations express interest in using this learning platform, so we have white-labeled the LMS platform in a government-secure cloud.  If anyone is interested in this project, I’d love to hear from them at steve at govloop.com.  We are working again with 10up on this project and are looking to share back with the WordPress community.

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