Music for a Cure is a local Non-profit organization aimed at bringing the healing power of music to critically ill children by financially supporting music therapy programs at children's hospitals. The NPO was founded by Julie Karges, the wife of the bassist from the band Sugar Ray. The website targets middle aged adults in the middle to upper class that share the passion of Music for a Cure, but they are also looking to boost their presence among the youth.
Objective or Challenge
I was the lead developer in this project in a group of 4, my role was to integrate the Charity’s social networks to the website as well as implement dynamic content that can be updated via a content management system by the administrator. A news section was also needed so that the site’s administrator could make posts to inform the users of any upcoming events the charity is participating in. There needed to be a blog section as well intended for therapists to posts stories about their experience working with children and the charity. In addition, I needed to find ways to boost the site’s presence on the web and appeal to younger demographics.
Multiple areas of the website needed to be stored in the database, so prior to constructing the db, I planned it out on paper to determine all the information that need to be stored in it. Once the database was created, I inserted the information so that it can be accessed by the website. Various sections of the website have paragraphs pulled from the database using PHP and MYSQL and can be updated by and admin via the Content Management System I created from scratch that sits behind a login so not just anyone can update the information. I implemented a Rich Text Editor to make it easier for the administrator to style paragraphs without the need to know HTML or CSS code.
The news section of the website uses PHP and accesses information from the database utilizing MYSQL. Using PHP, the posts are organized by date and can be filtered so that the user can display posts by category. In the CMS, the admin can add new posts and they will automatically appear at the top of the news page. The CMS also allows for the admin to view all the entries and edit or delete them should the need arise.
The Blog section is ment to be used by the therapists part of the music therapy program. It needed to be easy to use so non-technical users could login and post their stories. We decided to implement a Wordpress CMS for 3 reasons. The first was to use a technology that the therapists were familiar with, the second was to separate the sections of the back end so the users adding posts to the blog are not also accessing the same CMS the admin uses to update sections of the website and the third reason is that wordpress is easily indexed by search engines so the website had more opportunities to attract new visitors.
I decided to not only add icon links to Music for a Cure’s social networks but I also integrated a couple of the feeds into the website to promote traffic not only to this site but on MFAC’s profiles on those social networks as well. Using PHP, I parse the Music for a Cure Twitter RSS feed to display the 4 latest entries and using Facebook Markup Language (FBML) I pull a stream of the charity’s Facebook profile so that it can be displayed on this site. A “Like” button is also incorporated as so more user can be made aware of the Charity and also be kept up to date with the charity via their Facebook news stream page.