September 11th, 2015

Pushing the Thrive Plug-in to it’s Limits

We launched the new Aldenham School website using Wordpress and the Thrive plug-in, a cool WYSISYG content editor. Here’s how it went…

It’s one of the most mature Content Management Systems out there, and this is starting to show a little in its dashboard complexity

By Stuart Mason, Dark Blue CTO

WordPress is to website as Word is to the office computer. That sort of synonymity doesn’t happen by accident. I mean, sure, it’s free and it’s open source, but it’s not just those features that have made it ubiquitous – It’s very easy to install (big tick), it’s somewhat easy to use (more on this later) and it has a plugin and/or theme for every single perceivable requirement ever in the history of websites… and that’s an understatement.

Most (99.999%) people want the ability to edit their website without having to delve into the nasty nuts and bolts (Press Ctrl+U/CMD+shift+U!) of web development. This has pretty much always been the case, and that’s why in 2001 some clever clogs started coding what would eventually be the WordPress we know and love today. That’s 14 years of development, improvements (some would say bloat!) and features. It’s one of the most mature Content Management Systems out there, and this is starting to show a little in its dashboard complexity.

“Somewhat easy”. That’s how I explain a fresh install of WordPress to most clients. There are always caveats, clauses and how-to documents, videos and support calls – plus the age old ‘Garbage in – Garbage out’ – the more we let you be creative with the content, the worse it will get over time. But that’s changing now, thanks to a group of very clever developers.

It’s a common factoid that for a programmer to sit and write something that resembled WordPress today would take 10,000 hours. If that’s the case, then the Thrive content management plugin would double that.

Allowing users to edit the page live – whilst looking at it – turns your website sort of into a Word document – drag and drop images around, add and remove text, change the layout, colours, include custom modules such as testimonials or contact forms – all right there in the browser as you view it. No somewhat confusing dashboard, no grey boxes or unpalatable text areas.

When creating the theme for Aldenham, the Thrive content management plugin was integrated from the very start. It’s removes the need for the end user to build any new skills or be off put by any new learning curve – if they can copy and paste, type and surf the internet – they can use Thrive.