Guggenheim.org Relaunches on WordPress Using the WP REST API

guggenheim

The Guggenheim relaunched its website on WordPress this week. The site, which represents the collection of Guggenheim museums, was in need of an overhaul that would modernize its underlying architecture and design.

Laura Kleger, who oversees the foundation’s online projects, explained why the Guggenheim chose WordPress for its new website. She said that the team began with a CMS analysis phase, which included Drupal and WordPress.

“The ideal process for improving websites is incremental and rapid change, but the old Guggenheim.org had accumulated too much technical and structural debt to produce further results, and a big leap forward was required,” Kleger said.

Prior to embarking on the project, the Guggenheim was running on Joomla, but the team had a difficult time implementing small changes.

“We wanted to use a widely adopted, open-source CMS with enough muscle to meet advanced needs,” Kleger said. They needed a user-friendly way for museum staff to create and update content without requesting the help of of designers and developers for simple updates.

“We chose WordPress for a few reasons – among them, the broad pool of developer resources, the excellence of the content administration interface, the rapid update release cycle, the ease of extending functionality, and the CMS’s deep taxonomy,” Kleger said.

The Guggenheim partnered with New York-based development agency Alley Interactive for the website’s overhaul, who recommended implementing a headless version of WordPress with content served via the WP REST API. This allowed the team to build out the frontend of the site using AngularJS.

“As noted by others, this approach is superior to the standard WordPress templating approach for achieving some of the more exciting possibilities in user experience today,” Kleger said.

The new website is a beautiful example of the WP REST API in the wild. For a deeper look at the design and development process, check out Kleger’s post announcing the new Guggenheim.org.

11 Comments


  1. Did WP Tavern just crash the Guggenheim? I’m just getting a blank screen. Every URL I hit is a blank page.

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    1. Heppened to me too. I fixed it allowing Twitter connections on the Disconnect Chrome addon. Weird.

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      1. Oh wow. Yeah, I saw the twitter errors in the chrome console, but figured it was dumb luck and the twitter API just happened to change today. Nope, I’m running ghostery and apparently one of the 25 trackers that ghostery is blocking causes the entire site to fail for me. wow. Not a graceful fail at all.

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  2. The new website is a beautiful example of the WP REST API in the wild.

    Not sure if “beautiful’ is the right word. Browsing that site is not so good experience for me.
    Using some “cool” technology is nice if it’s helpful. Their videos still require Flash player. Not sure if Flash player is something related to 2016.

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    1. Yikes. I agree with Peter, that’s a jerky, stilted experience. The floating side nav is annoying (was it a deliberate decision to float over content too?), and when you select a category, it can jump a few times before settling on the section.

      Not very optimal, and it would put me off REST if this is an example of a good use of it.

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  3. Now that’s a ‘content management system’ full of archives and such. Navigation is a bit disjointed though however, it’s got such impressive content.

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  4. I had to unblock Soundcloud to get the site to load. Blocked, it’s a blank page. Not precisely an advertisement for building your site with a JS framework on the API.

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  5. They’re using WordPress version 4.3.1 which is affected by at least 3 vulnerabilities.

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