Website Development is one of the more sought-after skills in the world right now. Companies all over the world have started to turn away from the more traditional methods of public relations, such as newsletters and physical mail, to use more modern methods of getting their information out to the public. The most common form of this is through a website.
The Rambler has done this exact same thing. Starting out as a program where articles were written and distributed to the students of Cathedral Prep on newsprint paper, students in the journalism program today produce articles online here at TheRamblerNews.com. The Rambler experimented with digital productions, publishing PDF and iBooks versions of the student newspaper before launching the website in September 2013. The web presence allows the content that we write to be released to the public even outside of Cathedral Prep.
Throughout my three years as part of the student staff of The Rambler, I personally have been given the pleasure of working with the website. As webmaster, I have worked on everything from general site maintenance and bug fixes to changing the layout of the website in order to make it look a little different, more accessible and visually pleasing.
We publish using a blog wrapper called WordPress, one of the most popularly used engines for journalism websites, or blogs in general. This has given us a very good base framework to create what The Rambler is today. Thankfully, the WordPress staff constantly release updates, letting us turn our attention away from security to focus on the content that we distribute to the people who click on to our page to check out the articles that we post online.
Screenshot of TheRamblerNews.com from October 5, 2013
In 2013, the visual layout of the website was changed to something called Hueman, a theme developed by a WordPress user by the name of nikeo. Changing a few colors to the Prep orange and black, we went with the layout given to us by that developer. It was clean and neat.It has undergone a few minor changes since then.
More recently, I have been trying to develop a unique theme of our own before I graduate as something to leave behind for future Rambler writers. Taking the theme of ‘Urban’ created by the user MyThemes4WP – I have started to remodel a lot of the CSS and HTML code in order to change it into something unique. While this is a long job given the 43 minutes of class time I have daily, I am pleased to say that I have made sufficient progress. As the developer, I admit it’s a little messy behind the scenes, but I have the goal of making it look completely presentable by the end of the 2015-2016 school year. There is still a large to-do list, though it certainly isn’t anything that won’t be completed.
Screenshot of TheRamblerNews.com on March 24, 2016
Beyond the visual changes, there has been the concern of what will happen when I leave after serving three years in this position as webmaster for The Rambler. As of right now, beyond the teacher/faculty advisor Mr. Hubert, there is no one else who has access the internal workings of the WordPress website. I have been slowly working on simplifying the things I have changed, so that hopefully when the next student steps in to take my position, things are not horribly convoluted.
As for the layout, I will be the first person to say that I am not an artist. Through the suggestions of my peers, I still strive to leave things behind in the best state that I possibly can.