What makes this site go?

There are a lot of things that made designing this site enjoyable. The one that made it enjoyable AND fast is Foundation, an awesome, smart rapid development framework from the smart, creative people at Zurb. Like many of their products, Foundation is powerful, yet easy to implement. Its elements are clean and modern. Most important, it just stays out of the way, doing what you expect it to be doing, and allowing me to focus on content and functionality. I'm not sure how Raptorize can fit into the site, but there's still a will and a way.

The content of the site is managed by ExpressionEngine. There are far too many opinions online about content management systems. Most of these opinions are bad. I get it; everyone either hates all CMSs, or they think theirs is best. Whatever. I like ExpressionEngine. It does what I need it to do. It has an active and helpful community. And most important for this site, it has nice integration with third-party add-ons. Our voting is handled by the Solspace Rating module. Their community is also active, and I've had nothing but good experiences with their products.

If Zurb is the aluminum frame and run-flat tires of this site, then Isotope is the 8.1 surround sound, the navigation system and the DSG… the toys. You can see Isotope's functionality on the Filter & Sort page. We barely scratch the surface of what it can do. Fully tricked-out, Isotope is one of the slickest JQuery sorting implementations I've seen. Here it is just filter and sort (or both!), and it still makes me smile.

Of course Isotope's sorting and filtering add hashes to the URL, which sucks if you want to send someone a direct link to, say, all of the schools in California. As with many things in life, this site is better with BBQ. Specifically, JQuery BBQ from Ben Alman. It adds hash state and hash history management.