Foray into WordPress Themes and Plugins

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During much of the past 20 years the main lifeblood of, first, Software Solution Specialists, and now JVHM, Inc., has been to develop custom client-server software applications.  Applications have ranged from Client Relationship Management (CRM) systems to HR systems to barcode labeling systems and much more.  The main joy, outside of satisfied customers, has been the design and development process.  Finding the right technical design is extremely important as is ensuring the UI is tight, defect free and backed up by database integrity rules on many systems.  User Interface (UI) development, however, tends to be the most rewarding work in that it allows one to see the results of the creative development process.

Using WordPress – A No Brainer

When JVHM, Inc. launched it was because we wanted to start steering our resources toward Web development.  At the same time we settled on WordPress as our primary core development platform as it was designed well, had a high availability of third party plugin tools and also supported our firm’s principles of delivering cost-effective tools that an end-client could help maintain.  WordPress allows us to provide cost effective solutions because of the following:

  • The WordPress software is free and runs great on a variety of hosting platforms
  • The two additionally required software components, MySQL and PHP, are free, highly available and stable
  • The infrastructure is easy to install and maintain
  • Third party plugins exist that provide a great deal of additional functionality and these are largely free
  • Basic setup and design time can be quite quick depending upon the tools installed
  • Organizations can opt to maintain the content, and some look-and-feel aspects, of their site such that it remains fresh without developer intervention

Custom Development

Well, with the recent release of WordPress 3.0 our decision has been reinforced in that the WordPress publishing environment steps into even more of a CMS realm with the addition of custom post types and custom taxonomies.  To ensure that is getting the most out of the WordPress environment, we seized on the opportunity to test out these new features and exercise our custom development skills.

To do this we took on building a child theme based upon the new TwentyTen theme.  In addition, we started development of a new plugin that covers many other aspects of the new functionality.  I don’t know as we’ll publically release the plugin we are working on but perhaps, as we make time to better clean it up, we will.  This custom plugin covers a new custom post type for “News Articles”.  The plugin contains the following functionality:

  • Defines and creates the “News Articles” custom post type and registers it
  • Includes an Admin interface for defining the output content related to News Articles
  • Includes custom templates for the summary News page and the single-post News Article
  • Provides a widget for displaying a list of recent News Articles
  • Includes functions for retrieving and displaying formatted News Article content

News Article Plugin Admin Screen

News Article Plugin Admin Settings Scren

News Articles Widget Settings

News Articles Widget Settings

While more work is needed to pull some styling aspects out of this plugin, such that it plays nicely with other themes, it has been a great learning experience and an opportunity to really feel the power that was generated by the release of WordPress 3.0.  If you are interested in seeing our work-in-progress, you can check out our sandbox,  You’ll notice the News widget in the home page sidebar as well as the “News” summary page from the top navigation menu followed by the single News Article page when you click to read more of the Article or click an Article from the home page sidebar widget listing.  The overall look is our “No Nonsense” theme based upon the new TwentyTen WordPress theme. Feel free to provide feedback.

Giving Back

Throughout the course of August we hope to share some of what we’ve done to create the News Articles post type and related functionality. So that you don’t miss out, make certain to sign up for one or more of the following:

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About Jeff Lambert

Entrepreneur Jeff Lambert is the President and founder of JVHM, Inc., a software development business located in the San Francisco Bay Area but serving clients around the globe. Jeff's expertise includes website design and development, Facebook development, blogging integration, SEO, video production, CRM systems, database design and development and more. In his "spare" time Jeff likes to hang out with his family, run, play tennis, fly and breath fresh, clean air.

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