Uganda Radio Network, URN, is a subscription-based independent news agency in Uganda. News is distributed through an online article management system and, after having operated for half a dozen years, in early 2010, the organisation decided to move away from their existing system to a new solution to meet a range of custom requirements.
An awarded grant, via Twaweza, saw me recruited to implement this custom implementation.
Predominantly, URN’s clients are radio stations from all over Uganda. The news distributed often includes audio files which can be used by these radio stations, alongside regular news items.
In the past, all news was only available to paying subscribers. However, now, news is fully publicly available after a short moratorium.
The biggest challenge for building the URN website was not so much creating the article management system, but consolidating the content from two previous systems into one, both having been designed along very different lines.
A major update
In late 2018, the URN website underwent a full refurbishment, based on the Bootstrap framework.
The article management system’s first iteration used inspiration and work from a range of sources.
- Buttons were styled, based on an article on Particletree.
- The geographical coordinates of physical locations are picked up from Tiny Geocoder.
- CAPTCHAs are served by captchas.net.
- Plenty of icons are from the excellent silk icon set from famfamfam.com.
- Area52.nl helped me with a few Drupal tips and some extremely helpful code.
- Search is done through Google Site Search.
- Some help on sorting a multidimensional array came from firsttube.com.
- A way of displaying dates with sprites was adapted from an article over at css-tricks.com.
- Styling of the notifications were taken from an article on lonewolfdesigns.co.uk, with the notification icons coming from iTweek over at deviantart.
- WYSIWYG editing for contributors, journalists, is done with CKEditor.
- The commenting facilities are hosted by Disqus.
- The banner which currently crowns the WordPress pages was made by a URN employee. However, I adjusted a few photos by Flickr users for usage as banners. These might show up in the future. These photos were by Flickr users diga, John Connell, Kigali Wire, Internews Network and IICD.
- Maps are displayed using the Google Maps API. Shadows for markers were made with Shadowmaker and some code was lifted from geocodezip.com.
- Some help on WordPress came from htmlcenter on adding custom menus, CAM Web Design on using custom banner images and Aaron Jorbin on using child themes in WordPress 3.
- Weberdev.com provided a script for uploading files, while a download script came from finalwebsites.com.