I haven’t had much time to work on any of my theme projects but in the last week or so I’ve been trying spend some free cycles on something I am called “Middle School – High School Boosters Club” theme.
My wife is the president of our Middle School Boosters Club this year and much like the swim team was years ago when I got involved, the Boosters Club has no web presence and just about everything is done on paper. Bleh. She has asked me to build a web site for the Boosters Club so I am using it as an opportunity to choose a new theme framework (I’ve settled on Thematic) and see how much stuff I can leverage from Google Apps to build them a solution that doesn’t require me to babysit it all the time. We’ll see how that goes!
As I noted in a prior post, the Wicked WordPress Themes book has been a good resource to get me going with Thematic. I also found a Thematic Child Theme called Byty which caught my eye and I decided I wanted something similar. The downside of Byty is a lot of the nice gradient effects have been achieved with images as opposed to CSS. That is understandable as gradients were not available until CSS3. However, I want whatever I build to be fairly modern so I’ve decided to go down the CSS3 route.
I am specifically not building a theme for our school but instead and building one which can be tailored for any school by selecting a color scheme. We’ll see how well I accomplish that! These are some of the requirements that I am working against which I suspect would be similar for any other school boosters club that may want a web site.
- Online Store with PayPal/Credit Card Payments
- Support for Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages
- Color schemes
- Custom Logo(s)
- Calendar(s) for game and practice schedules
- Sport specific pages featuring just the posts relevant to that sport
Since Google Calendar is dead simple to use and with so many people using Gmail already, it seemed like the logical choice to base the calendar solution on. Google Apps is free for organizations like a boosters club to use to registering our domain with Google Apps was the first thing I did. This also makes it easy to create e-mail accounts for the various people associated with the club (president, secretary, etc.) so they can perform their task without polluting their personal email.
Once Google Apps was configured, I created a Calendar for each of the sports we will support (Football, Volleyball, Boys and Girls Soccer, Softball, Boys and Girls Basketball, etc.). These calendars can be viewed separately or combined making it easy to view the whole calendar or just the calendar for a specific sport. Even better, WordPress supports Google Calendar vias oEmbed turning a Google Calendar URL into a Gcal short code! About the only downside I have found so far is it is very hard to style the Google Calendar, I’d really like the light blue Google uses to be a different color to match the rest of the site but I will live with it based on how easy managing the calendar will be!
I’ve decided to use Simple Twitter Connect and Simple Facebook Connect, both from Otto, for Twitter and Facebook integration. I’ve used them before so they were familiar to me. Based on the recommendation from the Wicked WordPress Themes, I also tried AddThis but it is a bit more invasive than I want so I went back to SFC and STC.
For an online shop, I am going with eShop which is a very simple shopping cart plugin. Since we’re selling just a few items (e.g. t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.), we don’t need anything complex and eShop looks like it will do what we need.
The site isn’t online yet so there isn’t anything to see but hopefully I will have a demo up and running fairly soon. I need to do some more CSS work and get the custom page loops I want. I am impressed with how easy Thematic has been to work with.