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Is WordPress a CMS?

December 22nd, 2007

There is an interesting discussion in WordPress Garage about whether or not WordPress can be considered a CMS (Content Management System). In the comments on this article, Miriam argues that WordPress compares favorably with both minimalist CMS systems that require a lot of custom coding, as well as full featured but complex CMS systems such as Joomla or Drupal. For many users, WordPress functions as an easy to use and highly customizable mid-level CMS system.

Posted by Ken as Wordpress | Comments Off on Is WordPress a CMS?

WordPress as a CMS needs user groups

October 19th, 2006

I have been doing additional work on our church web site, and have been frustrated by the lack of support for user groups. For the members section of the site I would like to have a dedicated section for various co-worker groups and have their posts automatically show up in the right section.

Here’s what I’d like to do:

The purpose of this is to create a private space for various ministry teams and leaders to have their own discussion. Ideally, when they enter the site they would see a series of titles of the latest posts in the group(s) to which they belong.

WordPress does work pretty well as a CMS, as long as you give editing privileges to a small number of trusted people. But since they can post anywhere, you don’t really want too many people working on it. Inevitably posts will show up in the wrong category, and pages will not be in the correct section. WordPress does not lend itself very well to managing people as groups. Existing plugins do not really meet this need. Two of the best are:

It is possible to make use of roles and capabilities to create pseudo-user groups, but WordPress still lacks support for true user groups. For our public church web site this might be alright, since there are only a few people who really need to be authorized to make changes, but for the more collaborative environment that I would like to have in the members section I may need to consider another CMS package. Either that or hack together my own plugin based on the excellent work already done by others. When I have some spare time. Right.

Update: Here is a list of plugins that restrict posting/viewing in a number of ways.

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Creating a Custom Header

October 2nd, 2006

Blog ministry has a good introduction on how to create a custom header for your blog.

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Five Reasons to Use WordPress as a CMS

August 29th, 2006

Blogging Pro has an article on 5 Reasons to Use WordPress as CMS by Blogging Pro, including some links to tools useful to those using WordPress as a CMS.

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Testing Croissanga Xanga cross-poster

April 15th, 2006

I have been testing the Croissanga cross-poster for posting WordPress articles to Xanga. It seems to work perfectly, and does not create a duplicate when you edit a post as the Xanga Crossposter does. If you delete your WordPress post, the plugin will delete the Xanga cross-post as well.

The only trick to installing it is that you have to manually create a table in the SQL database. My host is Bluehost.com, and they provide phpMyAdmin in the control panel. So adding the table is simple. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go into phpMyAdmin and open the database for your WordPress installation. You do this by selecting the appropriate database from the drop down box on the left side. If you installed WordPress via Fantastico, it is probably named something like _wpdp1.
  2. In the database, select the SQL tab at the top of the page.
  3. Go to the file named croissanga.sql that came with the plugin. Open it up and copy out the CREATE TABLE command (you can omit the two comment lines starting with “–“). The command is on several lines, so be sure not to leave anything out.
  4. Go to the “Run SQL Query” box and clear out whatever is in there, then paste the CREATE TABLE command in there, then click on “Go.”
  5. If everything works correctly, you should see a message saying that the table has been created

That’s the only tricky part. Now you just need to open up the file croissanga.php and put in your Xanga user name and password in the place indicated near the top of the file. Then just upload the file and activate the plugin.

Posted by Ken as Wordpress | 7 Comments »

dmry tree menu plugin mods

March 28th, 2006

I have customized the dmry tree menu plugin by Hakan Demiray so that it will do what I want. It’s a great plugin, but I needed it to work a little differently. I wanted it to automatically open the child nodes of the selected menu item, so that users can see what is there.

I have submitted my modifications to the plugin for possibly inclusion in the next version. In the meantime I will make my version available for download here.

Update: Here is some code to add OpenAll and CloseAll links (in response to the comment by Alby below).
[code lang=”html”]Open all
Close all[/code]

Just put this code after the menu call in your page template (mine is in sidebar.php). If you want to you can use images or buttons instead of simple text for the link.

Posted by Ken as Wordpress | 13 Comments »

WordPress as a CMS (Part 1)

March 9th, 2006

My church site is now on line using WordPress as a CMS. Although we are still making improvements, there has been enough progress to begin to share some of what I have learned.

In order to use WordPress as a CMS, there are several needs that have to be met. Some of the ones that come to mind are:

In this post I want to share what I have learned about navigation. To make the site user-friendly it is important to put navigation controls where users expect to find them, which is normally either a horizontal menu bar at the top or a menu in the left side bar. I opted to use both. (You can try them out at the church site.)

To make the horizontal nav menu I have seen WP themes that hand code the links, but I wanted to have top level pages automatically appear in the menu. Here is the code I use:

[code lang=”html”]

[/code]

Then you need to define the “topnav” list style to use an in-line list. Here is what I have in my style sheet:
[code lang=”css”]
#topnav
{
list-style: none;
font-size:1.0em;
margin: 0 0 0 178px;
padding: 3px 0px 3px 0;
text-align: left;
font-family: Verdana, Arial, Sans-Serif;
font-weight: bold;
}

#topnav ul
{
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
color: #BBC4A3;
}

#topnav ul li {
display: inline;
margin: 0;
}

#topnav li a:link, #topnav li a:visited
{
text-decoration:none;
color: #BBC4A3;
margin: 0;
border-color: #BBC4A3;
border-left: thin solid;
padding: 0 10px 0 10px;
}

#topnav li a:hover, #topnav li a:active
{
color: #F7F3ED;
}

[/code]

There are probably a few places that this could be cleaned up, but anyway it works!

Next time I will write about the sidebar menu. . .

Posted by Ken as Wordpress | Comments Off on WordPress as a CMS (Part 1)

WordPress 2.0 Released

December 28th, 2005

Yesterday WordPress 2.0 was released. I haven’t tried it yet, but hopefully soon I will have time to give it a spin on my test site. The main thing is that some of the plugins that I use might not work yet with WP 2.0, so it might be wise to give the plugin authors a bit of time to update them.

Since my current project is using WP as a CMS for my church web site, I am especially excited about a few of the features.

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WordPress as CMS

August 29th, 2005

WordPress isn’t just for blogging anymore. I am exploring using WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System) for our church web site. A number of churches are moving in this direction:

The Village Church and WordPress
Higgins Lake Baptist Church
Lakeshore Community Church [update: not using WordPress]

There is a theme/plugin combo called Semiologic that significanly changes how WordPress works. It is being used for the site of Cal Christian Fellowship, the IVFC group at Cal.

So why would anyone want to use a CMS instead of just creating ordinary html? And what is a CMS anyway?

Read this article about what it means to have a “data driven” web site.

I think that for our church web site the key consideration is to make it as easy as possible to update and maintain the content of the site. With a WordPress based CMS, we could assign different pages/sections of the site to different ministry leaders who then could update the pages as needed. If you can write in a blog, then you can update pages on the web site. We have to make it possible to update information in the site without needing to know html or how to use ftp.

Here is an article on using WordPress as a CMS

I will add to this post as I learn more about this topic…

Updated: 9/1/05

Posted by Ken as Wordpress | Comments Off on WordPress as CMS

Why I chose WordPress

July 26th, 2005

It’s time to post something in the Technology category…

I was thinking about blogging for quite sometime, and I considered the alternatives. Basically it breaks down into two approaches:

1) Blogging services that provide a ready to use blogging site (Blogger, Xanga, Livejournal, etc.)
2) Blogging software that you run on your own server (WordPress, B2, Moveable Type, etc.)

The advantage of the first category is that it is very easy to get started and you don’t need web hosting. The second solution offers more powerful software with more flexibility, plus you are in control of your own data.

For a simple introduction to some of the most popular choices read here. For a detailed evaluation of various blogging software solutions see this.

Since I was already getting my own web site, I opted for choice #2, and specifically I decided to go with WordPress.

A few more thoughts about why I specifically chose WordPress

I could add more to this list, but I think that you get the idea. If people are interested I could tell you a little more about some of the plugins that I use and what they do.

Posted by Ken as Wordpress | Comments Off on Why I chose WordPress

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