Tech

On any given day, the staff and volunteers of Bayside Church are working on a number projects and tasks spanning more then a dozen distinct areas of ministry. For most of Bayside’s history, email, paper and the good ol’ “sneaker-net” have been the main tools used for requesting and managing group tasks and projects. As Bayside grew, we got to thinking . . . “There’s got to be a better way.” In late 2009, the Communications Team at Bayside Church, led by CJ Alvarado, began to develop an in-house task and project management solution codenamed “Jafar.” Developed in PHP and utilizing MySQL, jQuery and Ajax, the Jafar project was released to Bayside Church in mid 2010. Because of its built-in accountability, conversation tracking, automatic updates and file management features, Jafar revolutionized the way Bayside staff and volunteers communicated with each other. We’re currently implementing version 1.6 of Jafar and continue to develop its core feature set with the hope of making it the ultimate task and project managment tool for the Church.

If you’d like more information about Jafar, please contact Aaron Robbins, Bayside’s Online Media Director

We’ve tried a lot of different form generation engines and Gravity Forms for WordPress is by far the best! While we love Gravity Forms, there are a few special requirements Bayside has that Gravity Forms can’t accomplish out of the box. Luckily, the developers of the plugin offer several hooks that allow 3rd party developers, such as Bayside Church, to expand its core functionality. Out of the box, Gravity Forms will only allow you to shut off a form based on the number of submissions. During Christmas at Bayside, we need to grant access to forms based on the total value of stored form field values. In 2010, we wrote an in-house extension to Gravity Forms that allows for this type of behavior. If you’re using Gravity Forms for event registration, drop us a line. We’d be glad to share our code with you!

We’ve been developing for Apple’s iOS devices for quite some time, and we’re big believers in mobile technology. Our Online Media Director, Aaron Robbins, has developed a handful of iPhone and iPad apps and continues to work on mobile projects for both Bayside Church and Thriving Churches International. A significant number of our apps are developed in-house using Objective-C, Cocos2d and Chipmunk. For the flagship Bayside Church app, we worked with a wonderful group of developers from Seattle to implement a framework that would allow rapid publishing of text, video and audio to the iPhone app. We continue to monitor mobile technology and explore apps on other devices and operating systems.

The Bayside Church website was built and designed in-house by the Bayside Communications Team. Led by Online Media Director, Aaron Robbins, the Bayside website is built on WordPress 3.0 and utilizes a very small number of plug-ins compared to other sites of a similar size. Aaron has been using WordPress since it’s 1.0 release and is the author of several popular WordPress plug-ins. Because it is open source, flexible, actively developed and backed by a thriving community of developers, WordPress has become the go to CMS for Bayside Church and Thriving Churches International web projects.

Check out our training videos to learn some of how we do what we do in our Video Department here at Bayside. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, check out these videos for training and helpful tips.