Alley Interactive is on a mission to prove no website is too big or too complicated to be built on WordPress.
As developers, the folks at Alley Interactive go big. The agency’s experience with WordPress began in early 2011 with the migration of The New York Observer’s flagship site from Drupal to WordPress. Now, Alley Interactive, based in New York City’s Flatiron District, is working with design shop Hard Candy Shell to overhaul the New York’s Post’s site, a project that involves migrating hundreds of thousands of articles and images to WordPress.
It is one of nine WordPress.com VIP service partners. And at WordCamp Nashville Alley will showcase a new, sophisticated “field manager” it built to manage metadata for posts.
A site overhaul for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation led Alley to write a custom plugin with a field type that allows users to manage data like an Excel spreadsheet on the front end without creating a custom database table on the back end, says Austin Smith, a managing partner and co-founder of Alley Interactive.
“We have had to do some brand new stuff with WordPress,” he says.
Alley will make much of Field Manager as an open-source plugin, and WordCamp Nashville will be its public rollout. Austin is a presenter in the developer track on April 20, the first of what he hopes will be a “long string of appearances” at other WordCamps on the road to making Field Manager part of the WordPress ecosystem.
Most of Alley’s clients are media companies or content producers that want help building and maintaining Drupal, WordPress, and Django sites. Again with Hard Candy Shell, it launched a new site and full rebranding for The New Republic magazine earlier this year. That site is on Drupal 7.
Yet for many projects WordPress is a compelling platform because new versions don’t require expensive upgrades to custom work, Austin says. The new Field Manager, which required hundreds of developer hours, embraces the same philosophy.
“It makes adding custom fields to WordPress posts incredibly easy,” he says.