All Things Digital

Published on by Devin Reams

allthingsd-homeHelp build a home for: Walt Mossberg’s columns and blog, Kara Swisher’s BoomTown, John Paczkowski’s Digital Daily, Wall Street Journal content, multiple other contributors, and the D Conference? Sign us up! On top of that, we integrated related posts, featured posts, ShareThis, author photographs, advertising, ethics statements, and video. It was an aggressive build schedule for the initial launch of All Things Digital but with two teams and multiple resources per team we finished it in the tight 6 week window.

Working closely and quickly, no problem

We worked with the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Automattic, Brian Oberkirch, Raanan Bar-Cohen, Adam Tow, the design studio and many others to (quickly) build this high-profile technology news site. Additionally, each of the principles (Mossberg, Paczkowski, Swisher) were very involved and cared deeply about the end result. We worked through an extensive revisions process and made sure we did whatever it took to make everyone happy.

Easy for editors and contributors

We built the site knowing that content would need to be published quickly and easily. Luckily, WordPress does the heavy lifting here. But, we've structured the MU instance and administration permissions to allow for everyone from the editors down to the individual contributors to log in and publish content. WPMU is suited well for All Things Digital as there are multiple authors each working on their own individual content. On top of that, we were able to set the permissions to allow Editors to work throughout different areas of the site and transcend the silos that might otherwise been established with multiple properties.

Video as an integral media format

Throughout the site, you'll notice video including interviews and clips from the D6 conference. We built the plugin and functionality that allows for Brightcove video integration. This means clips are inserted into prominent locations in articles in addition to the video landing page.

WordPress MU vs WordPress

We actually vacillated a little between using WordPress MU (WPMU) and a single user WordPress (WPSU) installation. It's easier to access data globally from a WPSU installation, but creating the appearance of multiple properties requires some complicated category manipulation. Besides, it wouldn't allow for separate administration interfaces for each “blog”. When we made the choice to go with WPMU we weren't sure if we were making the right decision, but with the benefit of hindsight: we made the right choice.

WSJ integration reduces publishing effort

Although “run autonomously as a small online startup,” All Things Digital is wholly owned by Dow Jones (publisher of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). We built functionality that allows the WSJ to push content from the journal into the various corresponding blogs. This means articles are automatically published to blogs such as Walt Mossberg’s Personal Technology column and no duplication of efforts are required.

Design is never easy with this many eyeballs

We implemented the top-notch XHTML and CSS stylings provided by the Mule Design studio. From it we created the WordPress theme used across all the sites.

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