An Apprenticeship Assessed

It’s been an exciting ten months working alongside the Nerds at INN. I’ve learned a lot since I started and had the opportunity to work on a lot of exciting projects in the process.

In particular, I built out two WordPress plugins designed to interface with Google’s tools for publishers. The first, DoubleClick for WordPress, serves DoubleClick for Publisher ads without dealing with the underlying ad codes. I later added built in targeting, making it easier for a small organization to sell and manage inventory without dealing with code.

The second, an Analytic Bridge for WordPress, connects with Google Analytics to pull and cache metric data for use. It’s currently used to run the popular posts widget on member site Nonprofit Quarterly.

I also did some early work integrating unit tests into our development process and built another WordPress plugin to serve quizzes in post sidebars. More recently, I rewrote a significant amount of our Link Roundups plugin (formerly known as Argo Links) to get it ready to submit to the WordPress plugin directory.

Between these projects I spent some time learning the nuts and bolts of Largo and work on a number of bug fixes and new features for the most recent releases. I also worked on a handful of help desk tickets and consulting related projects as the team got busier.

In the process I learned an invaluable amount about WordPress best practices, especially when creating plugins and building extendable themes. I also learned a significant amount about Google’s APIs, which offer an incredible amount of functionality, but not without a lot of time investment.

When I started my apprenticeship or daily scrum hangout consisted of only myself, Adam and Ryan. There’s at least eight faces in our morning meeting now, an incredible indication of how quickly the team I’m leaving today has grown.

As I start a full-time job building healthcare software for Epic Systems in July, I have every bit of confidence this team will continue the fantastic work happening now and deliver some truly powerful tools to non-profit newsrooms of all kinds.

I won’t be joining those morning scrum meetings anymore, but hope to still contribute a pull request or two from now and then. You can follow me on twitter @willhaynes, or send me an email at I’m always happy to talk.