Bonnie Babes website now live

Deakin Uni was approached by Bonnie Babes a couple of months ago to assist with their web presence, which was quite dated. I’ve been working on a redesign using free and open source software. The key features are;

  • An easily updateable website using the WordPress personal publishing system
  • A custom theme for WordPress based on Bonnie Babes’ organisational colours
  • A number of freely available WordPress plugins including WP e-Commerce, SEO Tools, ShareThis and pageMash

It wasn’t all plain sailing however. The hosting platform (which is freely provided with thanks to Apex Hosting in Melbourne) is based on Windows and IIS. My use of WordPress has centred on a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) based platform, and I’ve certainly not used PHP much under IIS. The fact that this platform is in use has limited a number of the features of WordPress, so much so that it is likely that the site will be moved to an alternative hosting arrangement. They include;

  • Inability to use nice permalinks: Because IIS has no inbuilt mod_rewrite (one of the Apache modules that most hosting providers have installed), the pretty permalinks don’t work in IIS without a lot of kludging. While it is possible to get them to work using mod_rewrite alternatives for IIS, most hosting providers don’t have these installed by default – and they’re unlikely to install on request. WordPress have obviously come across difficulties with IIS and permalinks before – hence this article.
  • Inability to use cURL libraries: The cURL libraries in PHP are incredibly useful. They are also used by the WP e-Commerce plugin (which I was aiming to use to facilitate an online shop) as part of the checkout functionality. It wasn’t until I got to testing the checkout that PHP threw a fatal error 🙁
  • Inability to have WordPress in one directory, and make your blog another: This is related to the permalink issue, largely due to the fact that IIS does not support mod_rewrite or .htaccess without third party tools
  • Difficulty making certain files and directories writable: On a Linux system, you can easily use filesystem permissions to make a file or directory (to Linux they are the same thing) writable. Writable files and directories are used all throughout WordPress, for things like;
  • Sitemap generation
  • Storing of uploaded media such as images, word documents and pdfs
  • The ability to edit CSS and other design elements through the administration interface

So, where to from here? It’s likely that we’ll go with another hosting provider who provides a LAMP architecture..

Remember me when I’m gone – memory book project

Juliette Reinders-Folmer, a colleague of mine from PHPWomen, is currently involved in a project which is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at once. It’s the ‘Remember me when I’m gone’ project – which provides parents who know that they will die while their children are young an opportunity to record a memory book. The memory book helps children foster a sense of identity after losing a parent, through being able to understand the messages and images left to them.

From their website;

Request for your help from the Remember me when I’m gone project The Remember me when I’m gone project is a world-wide, no-budget, non-profit initiative which aims to inspire, motivate and help parents who expect to die before their child(ren) have grown up, to make a memory book about their own life for their child / each of their children. Though the concept of memory books is valid in all situations where the early death of a parent is imminent, memory books have so far mainly been used in AIDS-related projects where the concept has more than proven its worth. The Remember me when I’m gone project opens up access to the memory book concept to all by providing a generic Memory Book template through the website www.remembermewhenimgone.org. We realize there are numerous projects in the field which already work with memory books, however with this project we hope to fill the gap for people who are not in these projects. This template can be downloaded free of charge and is currently available in over a 100 languages. Distribution of the template is freely allowed providing the document is distributed as is and without charge.