Rest In Peace, Allen Stern

April 6th, 2013 by Curtiss Grymala
Allen Stern

Yesterday evening, I received news that Allen Stern had passed away. For those of you not familiar with Allen, he was the founder of CenterNetworks and HTMLCenter, as well as CloudContacts and a handful of other informational and entrepreneurial sites. He was also the founder of Let’s Talk Fitness. I have probably known Allen longer than I’ve known any of my other online acquaintances (and longer than I’ve known a lot of people in real life). Allen was an amazingly friendly, nice guy with a sparkling wit.

I first became acquainted with Allen around 1998 or 1999 when I was first entering the world of website development. At the time, there were only a handful of websites that offered community forums to help out with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other Web development technologies. The majority of the sites I visited suffered from some sort of class division, where the “experts” would deride the beginners for being so stupid as to ask a simple development question. At HTMLCenter, though, the atmosphere was inviting and open. Contributors like Till and Allen were always happy to help in any way they could, and never made anyone feel stupid for asking a simple question. As time went on, I stuck around HTMLCenter, and ended up contributing quite a lot back to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Sites Within WordPress Multi-Network

October 29th, 2012 by Curtiss Grymala

Every once in a while, we have the need to move or copy a site from one place within our multi-network WordPress install into another area.

There are three basic ways we regularly move or duplicate sites within our installation. Sometimes, we simply need to replicate a site so that we can start from common ground, then modify the duplicate to include different elements. Other times, we simply need to move a site from one network to another (for instance, when research indicates that a specific area within the university website belongs under a different parent). We also come across the need to take a site that was previously a subsite within a network (a subdirectory under one subdomain) and “promote” it to be its own network (where it gets its own subdomain). It should be noted that, when moving a site from one network to another, you can rarely do so without having to manipulate the database a little bit. The complexity of the move often dictates just how much you’ll have to mess with the data. Read the rest of this entry »

By The Numbers – What’s Happening at UMW

October 23rd, 2012 by Curtiss Grymala

I’ve had a few people ask about the size of the WordPress installation we’re using at the University of Mary Washington, so I wanted to make a quick blog post to run through some of the numbers.

Before I get into that, though, I want to give a brief synopsis of what WordPress looks like at UMW. About 5 years ago, Jim Groom and his crew in our Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) set up a WordPress system called UMW Blogs. UMW Blogs is a place for students, faculty and staff to set up their own blogs. It is a WordPress multisite environment (actually, I believe they have migrated to a multi-network setup, as well; but I’m not 100% sure). They are running the system on their own hosting account, and they handle all of the administration and maintenance of the system (with a tiny bit of development help from me every once in a while).

On the other side, we have had the main University of Mary Washington website (which we affectionately call “dub-dub-dub”) running on our WordPress multi-network installation for a little over a year. I am responsible for the majority of development, administration and maintenance of the entire system. We have that running on our own dedicated machine in-house. Read the rest of this entry »

Multi-Network Migration

October 21st, 2012 by Curtiss Grymala

At the University of Mary Washington, we use a multi-network installation of WordPress. For those of you that haven’t heard of multi-network before, or that might like to learn a little more about it, you can check out the slides from one of my recent presentations on the subject.

In addition to running a multi-network install, we also have three separate servers. We run a development server, a staging server and a production server. We use the development server to perform volatile development work, such as adding wholesale new features and developing complicated new plugins; we use the staging server to test new plugin installations, minor theme modifications, etc.; and we use the production server for our live website (natch). Read the rest of this entry »

A Little Spring (Fall?) Cleaning

August 12th, 2012 by Curtiss Grymala

In the beginning, we set up a WordPress website to act as our public-facing site for Ten-321 Enterprises. As somewhat of an experiment, we set it up as a multisite installation, even though the main Ten-321 website was initially the only site in the network.

As WordPress projects came along, though, we would add a new site to the network and do all of our development (plugins, custom themes, etc.) in that new site on the Ten-321 network. At first, this was no big issue. However, over time, we’ve been slowly adding and adding to our main network; and it started to become a bit unwieldy after a while. Read the rest of this entry »

WordPress Summit 2012

May 12th, 2012 by Curtiss Grymala

I am extremely proud to share that I will be presenting at the 2012 Environments for Humans WP Summit. Environments for Humans brings fantastic conferences online, allowing attendance from all over the world. They put on the Accessibility Summit, the WP Summit, the jQuery Summit and more (including the dotEduGuru Summit).

During this year’s WP Summit, I will be presenting a brief overview of WordPress Multi-Network; explaining what that means and how it works.

If you’re interested in learning a little more about WordPress Multi-Network, or any of the other topics being discussed at the WP Summit, I would highly recommend attending.

Come Learn About WordPress in Higher Education

February 15th, 2012 by Curtiss Grymala
Curtiss Grymala

This year promises to be a great year for professional development, and I am extremely proud to be a big part of that. If you’re interested in coming to hear me speak about WordPress and its uses in higher education, I’ve already confirmed a few opportunities for you to do so. Following is a list of the conferences at which I’ll be presenting in the first half of 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Is WordPress Ready for Enterprise Web Content Management?

September 5th, 2011 by Curtiss Grymala

A few days ago, I had someone ask me if I though WordPress was ready to be an enterprise-level Web content management system (WCMS). My initial response was basically “Yes, I should hope so.” My livelihood, at this point, depends on WordPress functioning as an enterprise WCMS.

However, I feel like I should qualify that affirmative answer a little bit. While WordPress is almost completely capable of being an enterprise WCMS, there are a few caveats that go with that. Read the rest of this entry »

Updating to WordPress 3.1

March 9th, 2011 by Curtiss Grymala

As you may or may not know, WordPress 3.1 was released about 2 weeks ago. We at Ten-321 Enterprises have slowly been going through and updating many of the WordPress-based websites we maintain. Overall, the process seems to take an average of around 30 minutes. To some, that may seem like a long time, but we want to make sure we do everything methodically and take extra precautionary measures when performing updates.

The process we follow is:

  1. Perform a complete backup of the site (this includes the whole database and all files on the site/server – even tables and files not directly related to WordPress). Under most circumstances, we will use the WordPress EZ Backup plugin to perform the backups. However, some servers do not support the tools necessary to use WP EZ Backup, so we have to run a manual backup.
  2. Update all plugins with available updates, checking to make sure nothing on the site broke after each plugin is updated.
  3. Perform another complete backup (so that we can revert to the version with updated plugins if the core update fails for some reason).
  4. Deactivate any plugins that are known to cause conflicts or errors when updating the core.
  5. Perform the core update.
  6. Ensure that any cached pages (we use WP Super Cache on quite a few sites) are cleared out.
  7. Reactivate any plugins we deactivated prior to performing the update.
  8. Review the entire site to ensure no errors or issues popped up after the update.

Read the rest of this entry »

WordPress 3.0.5 – Another Painless Update

February 9th, 2011 by Curtiss Grymala

The other day, WordPress 3.0.5 was released to combat a handful of security exploits. For the most part, our clients are not vulnerable to the security exploits that were open in WordPress 3.0.4, but it’s a good idea to update to the new version, anyway.

We updated the Ten-321 Enterprises network of sites and blogs this evening. As expected, the update was extremely simple and painless. Most of this is due to the great work the WordPress team is doing, but some credit also goes to Site5 for doing such a great job configuring their hosting accounts to work so well with WordPress. We have dealt with quite a few other hosts and found that some of them make it nearly impossible to keep WordPress up-to-date, and even harder to keep it secured properly.

With that said, we’d like to thank the WordPress team for their unwavering commitment to security and their consistent work to improve and harden the system.