WebApp: MyBabyOurBaby – online scrapbooking for family and friends

In mid-2007, Ray Hernandez and I set about to create an online scrapbooking website for friends and family to create an online journal of the lives of their children. The plan was to create a website that would allow people to:

  • Create a simple website for their child
  • Collect and organize their photos and memories
  • Share those photos and memories selectively and securely (or with everyone!)
  • Create keepsakes based on those memories (in particular the photos)
  • Communicate with other people with children in their lives

As the sole developer on the project, I settled on using WordPress MU as the engine to power all of this, since the majority of the site (the baby’s actual journal) was very much like a blog, and I’d done a little bit of work with WordPress previously, so I was familiar with its capabilities and was a big fan of the WordPress community in general.

MyBabyOurBaby Homepage

MyBabyOurBaby Homepage

This was a major project (very major), and took literally months of work from both Ray (design) and me (all development work including WordPress plugins/modifications and frontend theme development/coding). Here’s a breakdown on some of the things that make up the MyBabyOurBaby experience:

  • Completely custom administration interface for users (they never see the traditional “/wp-admin/” UI), with quick access to all of the books you’re a member of, a panel showing recent photos and recent forum posts,
  • Integrated bbPress forums for discussions between members (single sign-on, profile photos carried across, etc),
  • Modified and streamlined signup process to capture more information relevant to the baby that the book will be about,
  • Extended profiles for users and their babies, including uploading and cropping photos, contact details, etc
  • Custom themes that make use of some of our own custom options,
  • Massively customized posting process that integrates uploading/resizing photos and provides either a split view for commenting on each photo, or a gallery view for including a gallery and then commenting on them all at once,
  • A variety of notifications and alerts based on when people do and don’t post to the books/blogs, all delivered in HTML or text format where appropriate,
  • Customized invitation system to add people automatically to your blog when they sign up,
  • Ability to log into your book via your email address (one less username to remember!),
  • Extremely customized comment system with integration of user avatars/icons, AJAX-powered posting and threaded conversations.
  • Lots of sexy animations and dynamic stuff care of the wonderful jQuery

Here are some screenshots to show you some of these features: