Using WordPress MU as a foundation, we built a custom “Flavor System” that allows for rapid deployment of hundreds of sites. The key is in restraining the style configurations so that every site can feel totally different without needing custom code.
The overall build of the systems took closer to 6 months, but once the beta version was live, RocketFuel engaged in a rapid deployment process training a new generation of bloggers and configuring sites at a breath-taking pace. All things said and done, there are now 200,000 registered users and WordPress seems to be chugging along just fine. This deployment process was an impressive sight to behold and was made possible by Jim Crosby, Dig (Joel Digiacomo), Rob La Gatta, Chris Kissel and the rest of the RocketFuel team.
Reid joined me to tag team the management of the project build. Reid mostly managed and art directed the design and theme development while I lead the architecture, development, and deployment. Having already done similar multi-site radio deployments, we had some experience to draw from. All the same, it took a lot of great talent and hard work to get this bird off the ground.
Among other brilliant innovations, Nick Ohrn built a robust yet friendly deployment tool using Symfony that enabled us to deploy code to multiple servers and create tags with the click of a button. This project would not have been possible without him (or at least it would not have been nearly as fun and smooth).
Dan Cameron once again lead the Theme dev with a Carrington framework. Keeping us in line and working hard to integrate with third-party systems, Dan’s mastery of the Carrington framework went a long way to ensure that we kept things in good order.
And of course this whole project would not have existed without TownSquare. We’re deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with such a great group. If I was to describe the perfect customer, it would pretty much be TownSquare… Clear direct, mutual trust, smart and friendly people who are eager to exchange respect, not to mention, pay on time ;P In particular, we’ve enjoyed working closely with Sun Sachs, Juan Sarria, and Eric Tsuei, building a sustainable deployment process and keeping the wheels of innovation rolling along.
We’d also like to give a shout out to Blue Gecko and Rackspace for keeping us sane and ensuring that the servers are up for the task. In particular, Mike Hamrick, from Blue Gecko makes late night code deploys fun. If you ever need some good people to help you with your database administration and to help fill the gap between coders and host companies, Blue Gecko is the place to go.
So, if you have a project where you need to deploy 170 radio station blogs, you should contact us!