HighEdWeb Assocation October 10-13, 2010

Session Details


There, I Fixed It: Leveraging WordPress to Build a Web Application on the Cheap

TPR7 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track

Salon H & I, 4th Floor


In 2009, the University of Missouri Division of IT began a project to develop an IT systems status notification and alert system. The purpose of the project was to provide a central source for all IT system alerts -- scheduled maintenance, network or application outages, e-mail problems, and so on -- that could be searched and archived. Alerts could be posted by a small group of managers or on-call staff at the IT operations center. The alert system needed to be able to categorize alerts by affected service (so that a user could bookmark a page that listed only alerts of specific interest), as well as offering RSS feeds for all alerts and individual service alert categories. What do these requirements suggest to you? To our team, it sounded like a blog! Considering our limited budget and the alternatives, which were to either create a custom application or purchase a vended application, we opted to try WordPress. Other project requirements included the ability to output structured data (XML), so the system could be used to "push" current status alerts to other external and intranet sites; Active Directory integration, so we could use security groups to limit posting access; automatic e-mail alerts sent to individuals or mailing lists, according to category; custom fields for event severity and current status (active/resolved); and several other functions. WordPress was not a perfect fit, but it was able to bring us close enough to the primary project goals that we could develop the rest on our own. 


Glenn Rice
Internet Administrator, University of Missouri

Glenn is mostly self-taught Web developer and database designer, with a background in print journalism and magazine design. He has worked in journalism, graphic design, information graphics, publications management, photography, multimedia development, Web development, and Web programming.He currently develops and manages Web projects for the University of Missouri Division of IT and several large side projects, including Web presence, ticketing, and IT support for a medium-size film festival. He is active in his community, serving on various city planning boards and commissions, and lives in Columbia, Missouri, with his wife Tracy and assorted pets.