Archive for April, 2013

Canadian Club Toasts DCT

Newson April 11th, 2013No Comments

cmmgrcc-siteI just recently completed a small pro bono site for the Canadian Modern MG Rover Car Club—a group of crazy Canadian enthusiasts who are into the whole post-1980 MG thing. Some of these modern British-built rides have of what’s akin to the old letter model nomenclature with names like TF, ZF, and the like. Others, like the Maestro, harken back to the days of the Magnette and other by-gone MG models. Thrown in with the MGs are the modern Rover cars.  Together there is wide and interesting variety of modern MG and Rover cars represented among the club’s ownership. And, as I found while working with the club leadership, there’s a tremendous bank of modern MG knowledge existing within the club.

The site is based on a Woo Themes “Canvas” WordPress layout that’s been edited to incorporate custom features not available within stock framework. Other than the custom touches, it’s a good example of how a smaller site can have a big look with the selective use of available plug-ins and widgets. Total build time was about a week (from concept to beta) and would typically be much less but I was doing the work in between paying projects. Here a few of the particulars:

  • I used the Appearance > Menu function to build the main menu as well as the Shortcuts menu. This let me use post categories as menu items, making it easy for the club administrators to just post up and tag the right category to place the post. Minimal learning curve.
  • The NextGen image gallery plug-in is definitely going to get a work out on this site with all of the available photo opps. There are already a half dozen galleries and more to come with the arrival of spring…and car show. Like the other plug-ins I used, NextGen has very small learning curve which means the club can spend its time adding galleries and albums instead of learning how the tool works.
  • WP slider plug-in was added as it provides more control than the onboard function that comes with the Canvas theme. Using it is a simple two step operation—create a new slider post, add the image, click “save” and you’re done. Turning slider images on or off is done by publishing or un-publishing.
  • Forum function is through BBPress and is easy for members to use (most of whom are familiar with the basic functions through their experience on other MG forums). Forum administration is also straightforward making it simple for site administrators to moderate. On the developer end of things, BBPress offers tons of excellent documentation, as well as short codes, and the like to help customize forums to suit specific needs.
  • The Slick Share social media buttons will eventually help the club build out its network
  • Adding one-clic log-in using FaceBook, Google, and WordPress (it also supports Yahoo) keeps things simple and makes it quick for returning visitors to sign in.
  • Lastly, I used the Duda Mobile scraper to create a simple mobile device version of the site. I stumbled on to Duda while looking for a simple way to quickly create maintain mobile site versions. I’m really sold on its simplicity and editing tools. Sure, there are more powerful scraper-based mobile site development tools out there but none, in my opinion, that deliver the combination of features and ease that the Duda product does.

Not a big site (yet) but it’s a very robust platform for its size and will support plenty of future growth without needing to be edited in any significant way.