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March meetup follow-up

Great Meet Up Tonight. If you missed this months Meet Up, Dont Worry, I we have you covered.

7:00pm – 7:30pm – Introductions and Hello’s from the Group Admins (John and Russ, But Mostly John).
7:30pm – 9:30pm – The Group Admin’s Answered questions from all who attended the meet up, Mostly about Multiple Site or MU.
9:30pm – End – Russ showed the group a few simple plugins from the Repository to use with any local (your own WordPress site) copy of WordPress.

WordPress is a Powerful Tool. By now, our group of WordPress users should know that. We try to make this message as clear as possible for anyone who does attend the meet up. So let’s dive into it, Shall We?

Multi-Site, or MU, is a function or install of WordPress that takes on “Installation” of WordPress and makes it easily accessible for an Admin or any user of a MU site for that matter to create more installations of WordPress within the same Site. Think of it as creating 3 or 4 WordPress Sites inside one domain, or .com but not limited to, without having to create a new Database or installing another copy of WordPress where a user would have to create another login and password. With in MU, a “Super Admin” can create a site using WordPress like wpvegas.com. Then with in a Network Tab, you can make another site called “dev.wpvegas.com” or “wpvegas.com/dev”. From here, a Super Admin can assign other users to become a Administrator to manage that specific WordPress site and others. Now that we understand what MU can do, lets look at some more things MU is capable of doing.

Installing MU is fairly easy once you have read the codex a few times. The Codex will help you step by step with just about any WordPress Questions you might have. Once you have installed Multi-Site you can begin managing your “Network”. Your network is basically a series of sites you might want to create that correspond to your actual domain. Take SmashingMagazine.com for example. This site is broken down into simple categories. Each category is using using a different WordPress install within “ONE” copy of WordPress. This allows a user to post an article about WordPress one minute and then post an article about Coding on the next minute. This is a very effective way to do things when you have a team of writers and developers who not only know what they are talking about, but can walk you through step by step.

So lets get to talking more about the inside of MU. There are basically two types of ways to do everything inside Mu. One is by using the Network Admin side of things to install Plugins and Themes, add users and update their roles in the network. The other side of things would be for a Admin of each installation of WordPress MU to activate individual plugins needed to run the site and manage comments etc.

The Network Admin allows anything to be used inside the entire network. This would be Themes, Plugins, API Keys with no limitations. WordPress did an amazing job with allowing these methods to be distributed at the Network Admins discretion. This is important to MU because like any business, you have the main person of the site making the final decisions regardless of debate while allowing them to focus on their tasks while others act as managers of a sub WordPress site in the network. The network admin can basically make changes to code with in a theme, functions.php file, or plugin file. Allowing one person to only have this level of admin rights is smart for many reasons. I’ll give you the biggest one, it’s called not letting to many hands dip into the cookie jar. Say right now, as I am writing this post. I am not an admin of the site. I am simply an author that writes content for the site. I cant publish a article until I get a final approval by a Super Admin. Now this is possible to do inside of a single install of WordPress, but on a more global level. Instead of a Super Admin logging in and out of different WordPress sites, they can simply jump into each site with in the network, approve and move on.

The “Managers”, or Admins of a sub WordPress site handle the daily function of the site. Updating articles that might be written in a way less productive, approving/denying comments and activating/deactivating plugins for that specific sub site. They do not have the admin rights to uninstall anything like a Theme or Plugin. All one could do is switch out themes/plugins. They can also make changes to the appearance of the site. This would be like updating the Navigation, or Menu, in the appearances tab, settings tab and media tab. This makes it super easy to delegate tasks and keep sites running smoothly. Just like a store would have it’s Managers, Shift Managers and Supervisors, keeping them responsible for just their store.

So now that we know what MU is capable of doing, lets talk more about moving around within MU. When you have a single installation of WordPress, you are only able to see inside that specific install. With MU, you can jump around to each SUB PAGE inside the Network. This makes life and any business so much easier to manage.

With in WordPress you have categories assigned to each post called Parent Categories. You can also have other categories inside the Parent Categories called Children. With MU, you can have Parent Installation’s of WordPress and Children Installation’s of that parent. Using Smashing Magazine as our example, You have the Parent site, SmashingMagazine.com. Then you have the children of the site called wp.smashingmagazine.com or smashingmagazine.com/wp. Either way will work and is accepted. Then inside each child install, you can assign Parent and Child Categories of posts and pages. So hopefully by now you can see what we are doing with MU. We are taking a site, breaking it down into smaller portions of WordPress and only talking about specifics topics related to the Sub Site. It is to my knowledge that you can not make Grand Child install’s of MU. Frankly, I wouldnt see the point to do so.

This covers the topic of MU that was discussed tonight in the meet up. If you have further questions, feel free to ask myself or John Hawkins.

Below is a list of most of the sites we visited and discussed in this months meet up.

http://wp.tutsplus.com/
http://www.studiopress.com/responsive/
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
http://designmodo.com/

http://trailsherpadesign.com/2012/01/18/responsive-web-design-for-outdoor-bloggers/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-rotator/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/flex-slider-for-wp-rotator/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-cycle/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/genesis-slider/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/genesis-responsive-slider/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gd-taxonomies-tools/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facepress-ii/

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