Case study: Biofolic

Or: How to Build an Online Community on a Commercial (WordPress) Website with a Tight Deadline

Biofolic was an intriguing project. A long-time client asked us if we could create a separate website with a webshop and, more importantly, an online community. Not something like Facebook, but an option to schedule doctor appointments, maintain a timeline of user actions, incorporate basic chat functions, etc. After further inquiries from our side, we agreed to take on the project with one condition: to spend as much time as needed testing if WordPress could be used for such a website.

Now, we know what you're thinking, "WordPress is not meant for these kinds of websites in any case," but bear with us. If Shogun and many other big players can do it, why can't we? Besides, we've been without a significant challenge for some time.

So, we dove into research and testing. The client insisted on WordPress, so we had to tweak many things on the user side to not look like WordPress, yet remain fast and simple. Another challenge was assessing how the website would handle a large user base. Would it break, become slow, or unstable? Additionally, we needed to connect it with external services via microservices, introducing AWS into the story. A lot was going on.

But it also took a considerable amount of time.

Everyone was eager to see the final product, something that could be viewed online. However, it couldn't happen until uncertainties were resolved. Consequently, we started some processes simultaneously. Every day, hours devoted to the Biofolic project grew longer. We commenced with theme design, concurrent with microservice development and the user panel. The deadline loomed, so we pushed ourselves as hard as possible. When in doubt, we referred to the extensive documentation built during the testing phase. It seemed like we might not finish on timeā€”our client thought so too.

Yet, we managed to do it. How? To be honest, by accepting that we couldn't test every little thing that could happen in production. We had to have a little faith in our product. So, after the QA phase and with fingers crossed, we released our project into the digital ocean, ready to address any bugs that might come our way. Surprisingly, WordPress proved to be a platform that could handle this kind of website after all.

And were there errors? Of course! Nobody is perfect. But what's important is being ready to act when they arise.

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