Wordpress as a PlatformThe Wordpress platform
WorldPress as SaaS (Software As A Service) platform. WordPress is a blogs platform that's right - what's the problem with creating apps? Now, as it turns out, you can do much more with WordPress than you might think. With the strength of WordPress and the communities around him, we were able to build, monetize, scale and finally sell Hello in about a months time.
It' the first installment in a serial where we will investigate how we used collaborative plug-ins (and our own as well), user-defined themes, a good set up of servers, and a little bit of automatization to create a full subscription-based WordPress app. Some of the most powerfull things about WordPress is the WordPress world.
A few very gifted programmers have developed several thousand plugs that extend this small CMS platform many times over. Some of the main reason we decided on Hello in WordPress were the fact that we were already very comfortable with the features of the platform itself, the fact that we had access to prebuilt plug-ins and the fact that we were already very comfortable with the platform itself.
Featuring the features of the collaborative plug-ins allowed us to concentrate on developing our applications and creating a convincing one. Like any SaaS solution, the first thing we needed was a way to administer our people. WordPress' built-in system paired with a good member plug-in spared us a great deal of set-up and provided us with almost all the functions we needed with little outlay.
We' ve tested several WPMU Membership, WishList Member, WP E-Commerce Membership and 2Member among others. At the end we found that 2Member is the right mix of functionality and value to launch a low priced game. We had a turnkey package with 2Member for managing subscriptions, handling payments, managing back ups, securing our site with forced logins and various page restriction for various levels and functions of users. 2Member is a freeware plug-in with a very powerful free offer and a premium plug-in to add to its functionality.
With the free edition of the plug-in, we were also able to take advantage of all the above features, include a free PayPal subscription, and pay by subscription. 2Member also delivered a tightly networked design using WordPress's high-performance promotion - and filter-based plug-in API, which allows us to perform our own promotions on important occasions such as upgrade and termination level accounts.
WorldPress is the ideal system for a public website, but it does require a small adjustment to block it from use as an applications platform. With this in mind, Automattic has made WordPress so that all these adjustments (most of which are free) are easily available in the plug-in world.
Automattic's VaultPress, although not free, offered us a cost-effective way to keep our WordPress applications safe and secured. Monthly few bucks for real-time backup of our databases, themes and plug-ins, as well as plug-ins and scans for bad-coded themes have paid off. Whilst we were quickly getting started with a platform basis using collaborative plug-ins, we finally had to begin to write our own coding to adapt the experiences of our use.
WordPress' strong plug-in, shortcut, theme and widget creation APIs, high configurability and flexibility of its coding and data base architecture gave us all a strong toolset to achieve what we wanted. We' ve built a customized plug-in for managing all the Hello Bar that a given customer would use.
Using the advantages of WordPress's user-defined post-type system, this plug-in saved Hello Bar information. It gave us the opportunity to use many of the built-in WordPress features for the CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations around the bit. Through the use of user-defined mail styles as a way to save Hello Bars we could:
In order to ensure the smooth operation of our applications, we have developed a user-defined plug-in that requires manual approval by the user before they can gain entry to the website. It also allowed the user to input one of a kind betas keys either during enrollment or after enrollment to enable their account.
Using WordPress' actions and filtering API system, we integrated the users' logon and enrollment process to implement our own policy on users' stats and authentification, in additional to WordPress', which gives us greater visibility into who and how many users can gain entry to the system. Later, we extended the possibilities of this plug-in by introducing a virtual share module via a subplug.
Using action and filter, this minor plug-in added to the original beta key plug-in and permitted authorized user to split your keys with their buddies. As a result, the attractiveness of Hello Bars increased considerably and attracted a great deal of attention, which spurred the community's wish to enter our unique game.
In addition to the Beta Key plug-in and its virtual share add-on, a designer firm, we also wanted a more detailed view of the way the sign-up and sign-up processes work. In order to achieve this, we have developed a basic plug-in that allows us to simply specify and download user-defined style sheets for the different states of the logon page and provides user-defined rewrite policies to make some web pages a little nicer than /wp-login.php?
When we finished, you never thought it was a WordPress log-in page. A WordPress enthusiast, but that was an app, not a blogs or a website, so we have to adapt the content to mirror it. In the beginning, we didn't even want the user to notice that it was WordPress, nor did we want to release any management interface that would take them out of the application's easy and optimized use.
Additionally to blocking things, we adjusted some of the layout pathes by re-defining some constant to hide that we used WordPress. As a result, we could alter where uploads were made, where our plug-ins were, and where the main /wp site was located. Obviously, some plug-ins didn't like that we didn't use default WordPress directories, so we had to edit some of our data by hand so that the directories would match our configurations.
Remember, if you choose to modify the path files with your app, it makes things a little tricky for bot to find, but it might make some of the plug-ins a little harder to work with. After adapting our WordPress enviroment to our needs, it was finally our turn to build the user experience ourselves.
A few page postings were made and the publicly accessible pages used for Hello Bar's user-defined surface editors. In order to provide user areas of interactivity, we took full advantages of the WordPress themes submission engines and short code API. We' ve made page layouts and customized both a registered and a published event within a unique topic, thanks to the Multi-Header function of get_header() and the Multi-Footer function of get_footer().
So we liked this mobile mark-up provisioning paradigm and followed it with our own kernel plug-in to deliver short codes for Hello Bar ports. Using some user-defined page styles to deploy the " wrap " around the ports, we then output the Hello bar administration spreadsheet, the edit surface, and finally the stats overview spreadsheet and graph details using short code deployments.
As you can see, WordPress offers many great utilities and turnkey offers to get your rapid deployment software up and run. Featuring a high-performance interface system, plug-in architectures, and community-created plug-ins, you can quickly create an app and earn cash. In the next post I will discuss how we set up our servers to take over the services of our applications for our people.
Do you have a question about how we used WordPress to create Hello Bars or how we took the obstacles that I might not have taken? Helpful hyperlinks for creating WordPress applications: WorldPress as SaaS application Part II... Velocity and scalability?! WorldPress as SaaS application Part III.... Manage your WordPress application!