Earlier this week, someone contacted us through our contact page and gave a brief description of what he/she was looking to do with his/her site. Here is part of that description:
….concerning my website mydomain.com I would like to cut it in N subdomains by category….
The contact email did not get into the specifics of the desired categories. However, I did have a picture of what the framework of the implementation for that would look like.
I used to teach at a community college. Most of the students I taught registered a domain and set up an online portfolio. Let’s suppose that the college (or student council) wanted to provide the students with a site to do that. A second feature that they wanted the site to have was a social network to facilitate coordinating student activities. All references to “site(s)” below refers to WPMU site(s). The rough steps they would follow would be:
- Install WPMU on college.org configured for subdirectories
- Install and set up BuddyPress (BP) including adding profile fields, etc.
- Install the Simple WPMU multi-site plugin (SMSP)
- Add appropriate themes
- Setup DNS subdomains – ex. gamedesign.college.org (one of the programs I taught courses in)
- In the SMSP create the respective subdomain site for each of the college’s departments
- Customize each site’s home page to reflect the flavor of the department
- Chose and enable user themes on each site that reflected the flavor of the department
- Enable signups on each of the subdomain sites and have the students sign up on the site for their respective departments
- The url for the student portfolios would follow the pattern of http://gamedesign.college.org/ronr/
- All the students would have access to a single common social network (as of BP RC 1.0)
In addition to categorizing the blogs/portfolios, from a site architecture/administration perspective there are a number of bonuses to doing it this way:
- The SMSP ensures that the admin username cannot be removed from the site admin list on any site, so the main site admin has access to the entire site
- One or more site admins from a department could be added to the respective site. Being a site admin on one department’s site does not give that user any access on another site
- All site options can be tailored for that department/site: enabled themes, welcome email, plugins enabled, etc.
- The WPMU list blogs functions could be used on the department sites’ home pages for listing portfolios from that department
- Some departments might not require online portfolios for students, so registrations could be set to just user signups
- Student names could be duplicated across departments – both http://gamedesign.college.org/ronr/ & http://webmaster.college.org/ronr/ could be created
Now that I’ve put it all down on paper, it looks like a pretty sweet setup. And, a different way of doing blog categories.