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  • Over the past nine years I’ve created a behemoth of a WordPress environment. How should I reorganise it so it can be maintained by inexperienced volunteers?

    updated 1 year, 2 months ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • SharonP

    September 29, 2021 at 9:58 am

    In 2012 I took up the task of renewing the website of my sport association at the time. The old site was rather outdated, ran on a 1000-days old Joomla version and any data for the custom user modules had to be entered by developers through SQL queries. Instead I created a WordPress website with a custom theme designed by an experienced UX’er, and migrated the most popular modules to WordPress plugins, with custom admin interfaces so data entry had no longer be done by us. Over time the website grew massive, sparking concerns about the maintainability of it all. Everyone working on the website is a student and volunteer. Most of the website’s advanced functionality was written by me in attempt to help the association grow and automate tedious and arduous tasks. We’re talking about a WordPress multisite with 25+ custom plugins, a couple of themes, and some random pages and API-endpoints located in special directories throughout the file structure. Some plugins are dependent on other plugins. While my capabilities grew over time, most of it written when I was just starting out as a programmer, so there’s a lot I would do differently today. I’m no longer a student, so the idea is that the new volunteers are taking over the website, but they don’t seem motivated to do so. When they want to change something, they spend an hour looking for the right place to make the change in. They find it hard to create a local development environment, as that generally means setting up Apache, Mysql & PHP, and downloading the repository and the database and configuring them for localhost. They’re hesitant to make and publish changes, in fear that it may break something unknown (though it rarely does). I do absolutely get where they’re coming from, and am prepared to invest effort and time into a better development and production environment, so that my work was not in vain. However, I fear that setting up an extensive CI/CD-pipeline may make it seem even more complicated than it already is. I think the main goals are: make it easy to set up a local development environment; make it obvious where our custom code & plugins are located, and make it easy to test and publish changes to the site. What would such an environment look like? My first thought would be: separate repositories for each custom plugin; moving the WordPress environment towards a series of docker containers that can be deployed with one command; custom tooling to make it easy to edit, test and publish plugin changes; moving all custom code into plugins and/or themes; moving or deprecating some unused plugins. Do any of you have good tips for a comprehensive and maintainable WordPress environment? – by /hq/Xavenne – –

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