Thoughts and ramblings on tech, media, culture, and food. Plus some other stuff, I'm sure.

Development Developments

I convinced my boss to let me do something awesome. Something that's right and good and will make everyone's life easier.

I am moving our school's news to a WordPress install in the coming month or so. Our current site is built in Joomla! which I absolutely hate. It's not that it's a bad CMS, it's just not designed to do what we need it to, and we don't have a full-time developer on staff.

So, I will be moving and then importing all of our archived news stories into WordPress and then using syndication feeds to target news content on the main Joomla! site. It's going to be a lot easier for me.

See, WordPress by default builds an RSS feed for each category, tag, or everything. Which is great. That means I can place a story from the Management department in the "management" category as well as in the "School of Professional Studies" category and it will be included in both feeds. On top of that it will be included in our main news feed. When I want to place news from that department on their information page on EDU, I just have to grab the feed, shove it into a module and the latest stories will automagically show up on their pages.

And I can do that across the site. The other benefits I see are being able to add a more social element to our news content, adding more media - photos, video, podcasts, etc., and breaking away from our current habit of posting only news releases. Rather, we'll be able to run a sort of year-round online magazine highlighting what our students and faculty are doing. This will go beyond our current alumni publication - I mean, there's only so much you can put in a 26 page print publication. Instead, we can expand on that and drive people back to our website.

Can you tell I'm excited? One guy I met at the HighEdWeb conference handles his school's news in WordPress already. And it's working out great.

I'm excited to start developing it and see where I get. At the very least we'll have greater control over our content and that will make me a happier camper.