Going Multi

This is the first post in a series of posts about migrating a large collection of websites to WordPress Multisite.

The Mankind Project (MKP) is an international organization that helps men wake up, grow up and show up as better men. I have been active with MKP since November, 2001 when I attended their New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) weekend and was “initiated” into adult manhood. This has been a highly transformative experience that has certainly saved my marriage and maybe even my life. For more about my MKP experience, click here.

In November, 2013, I was laid off as a programmer. I was 67 years old and happy for the opportunity to reinvent myself. I didn’t particularly care for the young owner of the business and never felt a part of the company. It was a good job, but it was also time to move on.

For the previous 10 years, I had been working entirely with Microsoft ASP.NET, C# and SQL Server.Most of the projects I worked on were huge and took many years. It was time to shift gears.

The Northwest Area of MKP was going through a process called “Unification” which meant dissolving itself as an independent corporation and merging with MKP USA. The Board of Directors was replaced by an “Area Council” which was akin to a departmental management team. We no longer had to file taxes and follow Robert’s Rules of Order and were tasked with reorganizing and revitalizing the Northwest Area which stretched from northernmost California to the Canadian border and east into parts of Idaho.

The Northwest Area was considered by much of MKP as the poster child for how to “do it right”. We certainly know how to conduct an NWTA, but frankly our communications infrastructure was a mess. Our website was pretty bland and not very informative, and our information about who lived where was a mess. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I dove in and started working on our website.

One of my first goals was to use the information stored in our central database to make it easier for men to connect with each other. I taught myself how to write WordPress plugins and created one to pull an XML data feed from our central site and populate the site with good information about who was where. This immediately solved one problem: we no longer needed to keep our own information about who was where. All we had to do was get the central database updated.

My work caught the attention of some of the men leading MKP and I was asked to “generalize” my code so that all of the MKP websites that went through the Unification process could use it.

As I write this, I am beginning that process. There are 25 websites that represent various MKP areas around the USA that all need to be converted to use my code. And since my code will need many updates (Humble admission: I haven’t written any perfect code since 1983), I was facing the prospect of updating about 30 websites every time I posted a change to my code.

MKP USA quickly saw the problem and asked me to convert all of their area sites (and a few others) to WordPress Multisite. I got the contract to do that work just last week. Now the fun begins.

to be continued…

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