Relaunch of

I have been maintaining the website of a journalist friend of mine for a number of years now. It was a homegrown blog-like webpage that worked well, but lacked a number of features. As often is the case with custom software, adding new features over time becomes more difficult, and so finally, a few weeks back, the time had come to move on and relaunch the whole thing. Since I’ve gained some experience working with WordPress in the past and I knew that it would deliver all features required, it was an obvious technology choice. Yesterday evening I’ve finished the main tasks and is now looking better than ever.

The site’s design is based on the Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme. I have introduced a child theme that holds customizations so that updates to the main theme won’t be destructive. My friend has written for many different publications, which I’ve decided to map to WordPress categories. That way users can now browse articles by publication.

By being able to customize permalinks in WordPress it was possible to hang on to the existing URL scheme. This was especially important to keep search engine results valid.

While the old webpage used Google Analytics to track visitors, after the relaunch I’m now utilizing a self-hosted instance of Piwik. This increases user privacy by not sending data over to Google and by considering the Do-Not-Track header sent by a user’s browser.

Most of the development was done locally using a Vagrant managed VM, going live yesterday basically just meant updating Chef‘s runlist and reprovisioning my server. Apart from an improved user experience, going forward I expect to have much less maintenance work. There’s a few issues with regards to responsive design that I will address in the coming weeks, but apart from that installing security updates will likely be my main task, from now on.

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