Q&A’s on RFP for New MERL Tech and MERL Center Websites

Update, 26 August 2020 – The new deadline to submit an RFP is now end of day, Sunday, 13 September 2020. 

Hello Everyone,

Many thanks to those who have submitted and those who have asked questions related to the MERL Tech and MERL Center Website request for proposals. Please find our responses below. You may resubmit without penalty if the answers below change your proposal.

Is WordPress a hard requirement for merltech.org and is GitHub Pages a hard requirement for the MERL Center?

Yes, WordPress is a hard requirement for merltech.org. We are open to other suggestions than GitHub Pages for the MERL Center, but the website must be editable from the (public) MERL Center GitHub repository.

My company is headquartered in the US, but my development team is in India. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply so long as we are able to have development and design discussions with a main point of contact throughout the project. We are based on the east coast (ET) of the US.

Is merltech.org a free WordPress blog or a hosted website using the free WordPress CMS?

The merltech.org site is currently a free WordPress blog. It is possible it will move to a full hosted website running the free WordPress CMS. MerlTech.org is an independently hosted website (not on WordPress.org) site using the WordPress CMS. The selected candidate would NOT be responsible for covering the cost of hosting, security certificates or plugins. Kurante / GitHub will cover those costs separately.

Are there specific WordPress plugins merltech.org relies on now? Will this change in the future?

There are no plugins currently used on the merltech.org site. MerlTech uses Akismet Anti-Spam, Classic Editor, Easy Updates Manager, Jetpack, and Wordfence Security.  We are open to adding plugins.

Could you elaborate more on your understanding of the term “new information architecture”? There is a lot of information/content on merltech.org.

This part is flexible. A new information architecture could be as simple as reordering or renaming the current page structure. It could also be a full page structure redo with adding secondary headers, archiving or otherwise reorganizing content, and adding tags. The selected candidate will help Kurante determine the best option and migrate content, but is NOT responsible for editing or formatting pieces of content.

Will the MERL Tech Sched account be upgraded or will new Sched features for MERL Tech be added in the future?

Kurante pays for Sched to manage 2-3 of its conferences per year. Sched is integrated with Eventbrite. Kurante then links the agenda into merltech.org. No changes are envisioned to the current plan.

Your current Sched integration is mostly embedding and doesn’t use any API integrations. Will there be any future Sched APIs used on merltech.org?

Sched provides a free and simple HTML embed code that is added to merltech.org. There is no plan to use any of Sched’s APIs.

How will content be integrated across the two two websites? Will the MERL Center GitHub Pages site need to pull content off WordPress site or vice versa?

There is no planned direct integration of merltech.org and the forthcoming merlcenter.org site. The merlcenter.org site will pull its code and content from a public GitHub repository, much like how https://opensource.guide works. The selected candidate will be asked to create unified branding (CSS style guides, page structures, related logos, etc.) between the two sites and recommend how and where to link the sites to each other.

Will MERL Center working group members need training on GitHug Pages and/or Markdown?

MERL Center working group members already use Markdown. 1-2 members will need to understand how the forthcoming GitHub Pages code is set up and how to make simple style modifications, page additions, etc. ~5-10 members may also require (basic) training on adding or modifying content on the GitHub Pages site.