I was brought on as a Senior Engineer to help Huge with the back-end portion of a
WordPress redesign for the US Department of State. As an experienced front-end developer, I was able to shift back and forth between teams as needed, unblocking myself whenever I couldn’t integrate the data because the UI didn’t exist yet. We created a
custom theme and
custom plugin. My main responsibility on the back-end side (
PHP) was to use a combination of Advanced Custom Fields,
Custom Post Types, and
Custom Taxonomies to create templates with customized editable fields in the CMS. Then I integrated the data provided in these fields into the UI, ensuring it would fail silently if a piece of information was missing and sanitizing the user input to ensure it was safe. On the front-end side I built various aspects of the UI. I also queried the database as needed, such as getting the top 5 tagged terms on a specific custom post type for use in a tag cloud, listing out the 3 most recent articles from a particular taxonomy, or building a nav. We used
Pantheon to host our development environments and handle database migrations.
One of the more challenging aspects on the front-end was building out a country selection dropdown. Without any pre-built select packages that could do everything we wanted, we went with a plugin called Chosen to get us some of the way there. I made a number of modifications such as getting it to break up the dropdown into sections by alphabet and displaying the letter to the side, making it navigate to a new page on click rather than function as a traditional select box, and changing the sort order to ensure results that start with the letter typed appear first.