Thinking: Our Blog
Hard work and determination are the Batman and Robin of success. Vernon Rauch—our new resident (not-so-caped) client crusader—knows this dynamic duo very well, and as Director of Client Services he’ll be applying it to serving what he calls Oomph’s “marquee” clientele.
In this important role, Vernon will act as the liaison between our clients and our development team. His primary responsibilities will be relationship management and the overall satisfaction of each and every Oomph client. He’ll also oversee our delivery approach and structure as we grow as a company. In other words, while we continue to expand, Vernon will provide the stability, leadership and organization needed to help us maintain our high-quality products and unmatched reputation for great service.
Most recently, Vernon served as president of MarketHound, where he was responsible for leading corporate operation, sales and marketing, and product development. Prior to that, he was the regional Managing Director of Consulting Services for All Covered and was responsible for the management and growth of a professional services organization delivering technology services to over 100 clients throughout New England. His background is a serendipitous match for Oomph, and Vernon agrees.
“The combination of leadership and talent Oomph brings to the table is very special. I have known Chris Murray for a number of years and have always been impressed with his approach and thinking. Plus, the team he has assembled is top-notch and they all have the do-whatever-it-takes attitude.”
It’s good to be in the company of like-minded people, he says. You can find Vernon, our newest hero, working out of our Providence office. No bat signal required, just send him an email.
New England Sports Network (NESN) went live last week with their new NESN.com website. You might notice it looks a lot like the old site. All the scoreboards, headlines and social media links are in the same place, and everything works the same way it did before—exactly the same. You see, that was a major part of the NESN project. They wanted to migrate their entire site—all of its content, including its mobile site—to WordPress and WordPress.com VIP for faster loading and ease of use, while maintaining the same functionality and design. In essence, they wanted what they already had, but they wanted it to work better and be easier for their busy staff to update. Our team made all their goals a reality. We tested, coded and converted until everything was perfect. Good thing, too, because it’s football season. Check out the full case study in our Portfolio and maybe catch up on some scores while you’re at it.
Developing code is a lot like mountain-biking. You need to have serious core strength, great handling skills, endurance, and a willingness to go off-road from time to time. Just ask Vu Huynh, the newest addition to our dynamic web development team. Yeah, he really does enjoy mountain-biking, but he knows the ins-and-outs of WordPress and Drupal just as well as he does his favorite trail.
Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah
Vu joins our development team in Boston working to create client sites, themes and plug-ins atop the leading open source content management systems. Vu will become a familiar face for our clients as he continues to support site maintenance during the post-launch phase and beyond.
He comes to us from Brafton, a custom news marketing agency, where his primary responsibility was to integrate custom content for client blogs and news sites. “I was able to build a strong foundation in web development there because my projects spanned a wide range of technologies,” he says.
At Oomph, Vu says he’s eager to dig his wheels in to WordPress and Drupal in brand new ways. In fact, it was the edgy work happening at Oomph that attracted him to the team—a team Vu calls creative and talented. Now, Vu Huynh is one of the team. Please join us in welcoming another great mind to Oomph.
The first annual WordCamp Providence was held on October 27th. The sold out event brought 200 WordPress developers, designers and the WordPress curious out to the University of Rhode Island campus.
Being a developer, my main focus for WordCamp was the Shipbuilding track. Jon Bishop started off the talks with best practices for providing clients with an admin that will fit their needs and not add unnecessary complexity. Aaron Holbrook followed up by showing how using version control — specifically git — will aid in code maintenance and rapid deployment.
The morning session concluded with Automattic’s John James Jacoby discussing how to secure your code from potentially malicious data, methods of testing your code and the advantage of using xdebug to step through not just your code, but WordPress core as well. John’s IDE of choice is Netbeans, which works very well with xdebug. I tried Netbeans a couple years ago, but switched away. After John’s talk, seeing how easy it is to step through code and access the code to core functions, I’ve switched back. The latest version is a vast improvement in performance and functionality; I strongly suggest giving it a try. Unfortunately, John didn’t provide links, if that changes, I’ll post an update.
Oomph’s own Ben Doherty started the mid-day portion of the developer track with a talk on implementing object oriented programming into theme development. Ben explained how using OOP principals in theme development will result in code modules that can be easily reused in other themes, providing consistency in development. He touched on how to set up a development environment for debugging, different implementations of a singleton, and using actions and filters for accessing class methods. You can read through his presentation at http://bendoh.github.com/WordCamp/wcpvd-2012-oop/
Jon Desiosiers broke down the fundamentals of plugin development, including best practices and what to do when you get stuck. Matthew Boynes built upon Aaron Holbrook’s talk by demonstrating how to use git and a WordPress multisite implementation to develop and deploy code between a local development environment and a hosted staging or production server. You can watch his entire presentation at http://boyn.es/2012/10/28/wordcamp-providence-2012-presentation/
In the home stretch of the Shipbuilding track, K. Adam White talked about Backbone.js and Underscore.js, two new libraries that will be available in WordPress 3.5. These libraries can provide structure to jQuery code via a modified implementation of MVC (Model, View, Collection). The track was concluded by Oomph developer turned Automattician Erick Hitter’s reprising of his WordCamp Boston talk on going beyond the codex and learning more about WordPress by looking at the core files. Erick breaks down the structure of core and where to start looking for the function or filter that will best suit your needs.
Providence’s first WordCamp was a great success, with fantastic speakers and a good vibe all around. I congratulate the organizers for a well planned event and I look forward to next year.
The professional and creative relationship we’ve built over the years with Automattic, Inc., and its WordPress.com VIP team, has always been a source of pride at Oomph. Today it brings me great pleasure to announce that our valued relationship has been formalized. Oomph is now an official WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner, certified and recognized by Automattic to provide the high-quality service made standard by the web-publishing pioneer.
Automattic began rolling out its Featured Partner Program a few months ago starting with online services such as Chartbeat and Ooyala and then followed by the addition of hosting services such as WP Engine and GoDaddy. Today, they launch an agency component of which Oomph is now a part.
We’ve been fortunate to work with some incredible WordPress.com VIP clients, like NBC Universal, Research in Motion, Intuit, and VentureBeat to name a few, and with this exciting new honor we’re even more energized by the possibilities ahead. Powered by our partnership with Automattic, Oomph continues to be a leading agency in enterprise WordPress deployments.
Olympic Press Box site the latest successful collaboration
As the 2012 Summer Olympics plays on in London, stories of inspiration and victory are being reported at breakneck speeds in what is surely a personal best for the sports media world. We’re proud to say we had a hand in helping NBC Sports achieve this win with the design and development of the NBC Sports Group Press Box site. Adhering to the gold standards of NBC branding, our team designed and launched a site using the WordPress platform and hosted on WordPress.com VIP that allows for quick, easy and complete content sharing across mobile, tablet and laptop screens.
July 14th marked the beginning of yet another successful WordCamp in the City on a Hill, making it Boston’s third time to host the event. Approximately 600 speakers, attendees and volunteers arrived at Boston University from all over the world to congregate around a common entity, our beloved WordPress.