GIA Has New Face – and New Heart, too

gia-150-v4GIA – We Are People Too, is one of the key websites for DCCA intelligence gathering. For several years it’s been running on Joomla 1.5 – outdated and growing unwieldy. The recent conversion is to WordPress 3.6 with the integration of Responsive (mobile friendly) display architecture and integrated feeds from a number of locations.


gia-500 Conversion – Joomla to WordPress

royo-redeco-150-v4Update: 31 March 2014

[The site you are looking at now is in it’s fourth Word Press design iteration since the 29 August 2013 revision. ]

Why [update from Joomla?]

  1. Joomla was outdated (1.5) and would need to be migrated, much of it by hand.
  2. Filesize on server: Joomla 5,559 files, WordPress 2,376 files
  3. Flexibility for Mobile Devices – e.g. Responsive designs, vast array of plugins and tools.
  4. Flexibility for media and animation
  5. Future integration to WordPress Multi-site.
  6. Blanket subscription on Akismet spam control

Screen Shot Comparison

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What The Hey? There are Rabbits Everywhere!

RoYo Rabbit™adorns the new ChaliceMedia icon.

If you’re one of the 172,367 real human beings who have dropped into our world a number of times (about 5 million as of June 2011), they you might have noticed that there is a lot of new artwork coming on line. The key driver for this is our ongoing project to make sure that every site in the ChaliceMedia universe is mobile-web enabled within the near future, we want to ensure that all of our icons are compatible with Apple® “i” products and much of the Android® marketplace. Already, we have completed the transition on all 19 of our WordPress sites, and 13 Blogger sites. We’re running tests on Joomla, Drupal, and other applications at this time. The images in upcoming posts show a few new renditions of our rabbit RoYo Rabbit™ for specialized uses.  To follow our progress, keep checking the ChaliceMedia StoryWorld.



Updated Tools of the Trade Part 2

tm-toolyroyo-150-v4Reinforcing that we don’t want to design websites, we want to implement websites to support our content distribution strategies with minimal configuration, customization, and deployment timelines. Aside from some specialty applications like event calendars, FAQs and photo galleries, we’re building around a few basic engines. The engine choices for a particular site are driven by a few brief questions:

  • What is the purpose of the site?
  • What is the target audience?
  • In the case of sites built to support fiction projects:
    • What real world component is the site supposed to emulate (a business, a media outlet)
    • How dynamic will the site’s content be?
    • Will the site’s content be required to follow or synch to a specific timeline?
  • Will the site require user registration?
  • Will parts of the site be restricted to specific users or user groups?
  • Will the site have an ecommerce connection?
  • Does the site have any specific requirements for look and feel?

Once these questions are answered, we apply them to a grid and drill-down process to determine the technology.

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Updated Tools of the Trade Part 1

We’ve implemented a substantial number of changes over the past several months, the major drivers for this have been some vast improvements in the tools we use. Here is a brief rundown, with more details coming over the next several posts. Our primary function is the creation, publication and syndication of content, not designing websites. Therefore the tools we use for quick deployment are extremely critical to our objectives.

The first major change, is a host deployment tool. We currently have around 80 applications deployed across 50 websites, all of which are hosted on BlueHost servers. Several months ago, BlueHost implemented Simple Scripts as a replacement for Fantastico Deluxe to do application deployment. Revisions and updates are much more up to date and the installations are straightforward and painless.

Key open source applications have recently released major upgrade versions for better security, greater ease of use, and enhanced functionality. Joomla! content management ( 1.5.x has major improvements over 1.0.x, which also required replacement or modifications to all the existing templates we have in use.

Drupal’s 6.x releases have been much more flexible and robust for our needs, so we’ve expanded the use of Drupal ( as a CMS in a number of websites.

A major player in what we do, WordPress ( has introduced a wide variety of widgetized flexibility in verion 2.8.x and they have introduced some exciting new applications that we’re already running test configurations on. WordPressMU allows multi-user blogs. BuddyPress is bolt-on to WordPressMU to give it robust social networking capabilities, and BBPress is a new forum/bulletin board engine from WordPress.  This blog was upgraded to 2.8 and a new theme installed within the past couple of days.)

Next post, we’ll give some examples of how we’re putting these upgrades to work.