Thurgood Marshall Academy Gala 2021

This is the second year (sigh!) that Thurgood Marshall Academy could not have their Gala Celebration and fundraising event in person. So once again we built a web site to showcase the achievements of the students. The design work was completed by Daphna Kalman. We used the same web site structure as last year, but changed the color scheme, graphics and content, of course. – Simone Weil Site

New work published live this week, This was kind of a fun site to build, while it is in many ways a ideal site for WordPress, I did have to set up a good number of customizations in function and form. This project had a soft deadline, but we started early enough that I was not rushed and had time to really think thru the details and build the site in an organized way. Kinetik designed the site.

The site is a compendium(?) of content and references about Simone Weil, the sister of Andre Weil, the famous mathematician. She was a philosopher, and her work and writings became noticed and respected after she died. There are three different types of content, normal posts that have content on this site, posts that are essentially just a reference to content elsewhere, such as a video, and lastly items that don’t really have content or can point to content, just a title for example, and maybe a bibliographic reference. Since the item might be a book that is out of print, there is no way to reference it.

The sections of the site are color branded, and there are issues, like a magazine. So periodically, the owner will publish new content and create an issue, this group of items is what is shown on home page. There is also an archive so that previous issues can be browsed and viewed as if they were the home page.

The project also involved importing hundreds of entries that make up the content of the site. Kinetik copy/pasted items into a spreadsheet format that I set. I then had to automagically and manually clean up the content, make sure quote marks and italic content carried thru properly, and format the spreadsheet content into an xml file that can I could import into WordPress and populate all the necessary fields for each post. So, once imported the content does not need to be adjusted or edited. It is cool to import a file and immediately have a bunch of content, but it can be a real pain to get it set up. Lots of details to work out and each and every one must be right.

Crow’s Nest Research Center

Finished a new site a couple of weeks ago for the Crow’s Nest Research Center. I completed the design myself, which is somewhat unusual. I am pleased with it. The green of the top banner, with a slight gradient represents the grasses, trees of the land areas, while the blue in the footer represents the water / marshy areas of the site. I chose to make the content column fairly skinny. I think that is a nice width for reading. The in content images I set up to be a bit wider than the written content. My design and the site was greatly helped by the photographs of Paul Fetters.

Inkandescent Radio

I rebuilt a site that I had originally built in 2013/2014 using Textpattern. The design was kept similar but updated to become full screen width and made mobile friendly. I imported all the content out of textpattern structured in a format that was seamlessly imported into WordPress. The new site is more flexible and has features that automatically generate the RSS feed for podcast episodes.

NAIS Photobooth

I built a small site that lets the user submit an image and select an overlay for that that image. The result for user is final image associated with the conference that they can download and use on social media and other platforms. The site was designed by Kinetik

The site is built using WordPress, and the Gravity Forms plugin. After the user submits the form, I set up some post processing code that grabs the user submitted image and the selected overlay, combines them into one image with a bit of php, and shows the result so user can download.


When gutenberg first appeared in wordpress, I very quickly found myself, along with lots of other people, downloading plugin that removed gutenberg, or at the very least gave a choice on how to edit content. My initial experience with gutenberg involved a whole lot of moving my mouse around the screen trying to figure out how to add a block, or move a block. It was incredibly frustrating. For this updated site, and my new photo galleries, I decided to try gutenberg again. It has been a while, with numerous updates and I assumed some needed user interface improvements in gutenberg.

Why is a good question, and there are in my mind two good reasons. 1) Gutenberg is here to stay, so continuing to ignore it probably means losing out on WordPress features going forward, and 2) Advanced Custom Fields is the only plugin that I use on almost every site, except for a security plugin. ACF is vital to building a custom theme and making the admin interface easier for clients to access content in a way that makes sense. The only problem with ACF is the content is stored in the post_meta table, and not the posts table. I am not sure how big a deal this is in the grand scheme of a wordpress site and how it interacts with search engines. I can explore this later, but I believe it is better to have as much of the post content in the post content field. A topic that would be useful to understand better.

Gutenberg provides some of the same flexibility as ACF, but keeps the content in the posts table. Plus, I just learned that ACF can help in creating custom blocks within Gutenberg. This would be convenient, as making custom blocks for gutenberg is somewhat involved. I looked at it a while ago, but then stopped, as I wasn’t using gutenberg and it is a bit involved. I haven’t explored this in detail yet, but for me, gutenberg is primarily useful if it can help me streamline a clients editing of content. In other words, make it easier for them.