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Open Source Powers 9rules

Written by Scrivs on October 24, 2007

When it comes to coding up this site we have three options:

  1. Do it ourselves.
  2. Put a blindfold over Tyme’s eyes and four keyboards and hope that after a week of solitude she pushed out something cool.
  3. Get someone else to do it.

We went with 1 and 3, but not in the way you might be thinking. The core of 9rules is powered by WordPress, bbPress and simplepie. Now you can’t get both of those packages, install them and all of a sudden have another 9rules. We customized them a ton to fit our needs, but without them as the foundation we wouldn’t be close to where we are now.

So much of the stuff that we do around here extends on the principles created by these two wonderful software packages. Too often we have visions of coding elaborate websites that do things that no one has ever seen before, but unless you are dealing with hardcore computations, most of the stuff you need has been done already in one form or another. Do enough research, a little bit of tweaking and you have your own version of whatever you want.

We never expect to have a technological advantage over anyone and in all honesty it is hard to imagine many sites having one anywhere on the web anymore. The value we bring to the many people that use 9rules will never be what we keep under the hood, but what we provide on the outside and that is where we want to maintain our advantage.

There are circumstances where putting the effort in the backend to give yourself a huge advantage pays off, but many times you just need to provide people what they want and it doesn’t matter what you use to achieve it as long as you do.

  1. seriocomic Says:

    I would LOVE to know the list of plugins you have used for WP, and to know what % is WP and what is bbPress…and to know how much core of each you changed or were you able to get by with hooks.

  2. Mike Rundle Says:

    seriocomic – No plugins that I can think of are used, I think we have one custom one that allows cleaner output of our blog categories in the sidebar here, but apart from that it’s a stock WP install. WP is used to store metadata about members, bbpress manages Notes and user authentication. We haven’t modified the WP core at all and have only changed small things in the bbpress core; the majority of 9rules is hooks into bbpress or WP data sources and then we pull out the data and work with it the way we need. my.9rules friends, profiles, points, dashboard, store, etc., are all custom code but sit on top of the user authentication and management of bbpress.

  3. Geoffrey Sneddon Says:

    Is there any reason you chose to use SimplePie (I assume in a cronjob) and not something in some compiled language?

  4. Mike Rundle Says:

    Hey Geoffrey, no real reason other than the usual one: we used what we know. The rest of the site is coded in PHP and we were moving from Magpie (PHP) to SimplePie (PHP) and didn’t really consider other options. That’s not to say there aren’t better options out there because they’re probably are, so perhaps at some point in the future we’ll take a look at compiled options. Did you have any open source projects in mind?

  5. Trent Says:

    We are pretty stoked that you have such a great bbPress forum site and I am personally really impressed with 9rules.com! It is great stuff!

  6. Hector Says:

    What happened was that Codie had been assigned to work on a project with a group of five Asian students, four of whom couldn’t speak English. And the fifth was probably limited to the pidgin variety. After being seated with the quintet and instructed to discuss the subject matter in question, the foreigners commenced speaking amongst themselves in Urdu (don’t ask), a language Codie couldn’t understand, prompting her to approach the teacher and request placement elsewhere. The teacher’s response was to scream, “It’s racist, you’re going to get done by the police.”

  7. Andrew Says:

    9rules.com is very impressive. I really like the simplicity intuitiveness and the eye-candy layout. I’m curious about what you are using for the “clip it” functionality. Is that also part of any package or is it custom code? I have came across pligg’s package and was considering trying it out.

  8. Mike Rundle Says:

    Hey Andrew, Clips were custom written by us with Javascript (Ajax) interfacing to our backend. I never checked out any packages because I thought I could do it faster from scratch and I was right, it only took a few days to code it up and test it, probably the same amount of time it’d take to hook a pligg package into our system and have it behave the way we wanted.

  9. Eyenovation Says:

    You’ve made WordPress do backflips. Nice work customizing it.

  10. 9rules Community Site Powered by WordPress and bbPress « WordPress Publisher Blog Says:

    [...] As 9rules wrote on their blog a few months ago: When it comes to coding up this site we have three options: [...]

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