Eat Anglia – now a little shinier

I’ve been a bit quiet recently – leaving Lucy to blog and tweet away in my absence – but can finally reveal what I’ve been up to. After a particularly busy time at my day job in London (building websites for corporates), I’ve been spending some of my free weekends rebuilding this site.

We decided to launch the site last year without any kind of fanfare or flashy design as we wanted to just get started, telling the stories of our discoveries as we made them. A couple of months ago, however, we decided it was time I took a look at Eat Anglia, and turn it from something that looked like a poorly churned out WordPress template into a proper site.

After reacquainting myself with WordPress and PHP, and having a slightly quieter time at work that allowed me to think more about this site, I started experimenting with some code a few weeks ago – and after some work over a couple of weekends, here we are.

So, what’s new?

Hopefully the site feels a little nicer to use after this work!

For those more technically minded, I’ll explain what’s going on here!

The site remains based on WordPress (as it was before), but has been heavily tuned and customised. It no longer runs on the usual WordPress themes hawked around by some agencies or developers – I found them to be clunky, buggy, and far too “heavy” for successful use as a responsive site, especially on mobiles. There’s simply not the ability to fine-tune code that you get with hand-crafting – something that I’m not willing to give up.

So, instead of “themes” I decided to go for a custom front end built in PHP, with WordPress handling the heavy lifting of content and post management. Sitting between the two is a lovely little plugin called JSON API, which is a restful API for WordPress, allowing you to return WordPress content in JSON format.

We’ve used a few other plugins, but without fail they’ve only been used to allow us to add data to posts and pages – the actual surfacing of all data on the site is custom code.

Moving away from WordPress, we’ve chosen not to support older versions of IE – sorry for folks using them, but seriously please upgrade or switch to another browser. The site uses a few additional tools:

Anyway. that’s enough of that. The point is, we’ve done some weird stuff with WordPress to make it work this way, and are quite pleased with the results.

As we move forward with Eat Anglia, we’ll possibly offer help with websites – from just general advice, through to actual build services. If you’re interested – please get in touch!

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