Facelift Update and Wordpress Wrapper Framework

I have settled on a new theme, Atahualpa. I can’t pronounce it or remember how to spell it, but so far it is proving very flexible, easy to work with and has a great support forum.

So, a little about what I am planning to do with it (and wordpress).

I see a need for sites that use data from a database other than the pages and posts that Wordpress (or any blog software) supports. I know it is possible to do this within Wordpress. I have see plugins that add ecommerce functionality and real estate listings to a Wordpress blog. But in addition to being very complicated, these look like they are almost their own themes or at least require modification of a theme to work. When I have time, I will install them and study how they work.

However, the approach I am trying is to incorporate Wordpress into an existing site. There are a couple of articles in the Wordpress codex about how to do this. Most of them discuss how to make Wordpress in a blog subdirectory look like your original site. Instead, I want to use the wordpress theme to style the entire site. If a client wants to change the look of their site, all they have to do is change the theme.

My test site for this is Tiffanywineshop.com. The original site has wine tastings (yse they could be blog posts) but the goal is to create an “almost” ecommerce site with thousands of wines categorized by variety and winery with the ability for logged in users to rate wines and keep lists of the wines they have tasted and like (or don’t like). All in all this is an excellent example of what I call a hybrid site. Multiple database tables with optional links to blog posts.

I had already created a basic blog for the site but when faced with a comment system and post management, it was obvious there were too many wheels that I shouldn’t be recreating. So, I installed Wordpress in a blog subdirectory. The Atahualpa theme allowed me to style the site very much like the original design. I modified the site header and footer views to use the plugin header and footer, added a mod_rewrite condition to¬† pass through requests to the blog subdirectory and things are looking very promising.

Once I am finished updating some of my code to use Wordpress functions (user registration and login, etc). I am planning on creating a generic framework to use for other sites. The first of these will be a real estate office or agent site with RMLS idx listing search built in. I think companies who are charging thousands of dollars for real estate web sites should be a little worried. With the new real estate site, agents will be able to have a very functional site with their choice of thousands of themes for $300 or so per year including hosting.

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