CMS vs. Blog…no you don’t need Pepto Bismol

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Wordpress as a CMS

{this is part 2 of the series “WordPress as a CMS”}

WordPress is primarily a blogging tool (or engine as I like to call it!) but I’ve learned in the course of designing three websites that are not primarily blogs that WordPress can also cross over and serve somewhat nicely as a Content Management System (CMS). In the second article of this series I want to talk a little bit about the difference between a CMS and a blog and then in the next article I’ll talk about how this played into my decision to use WordPress for the design of UnashamedSermons.com, VigliottiWoodworking.com, and gohpc.net.

On the surface it may seem that there isn’t much difference between a CMS and a Blog. They both provide some sort of backend interface for administrators to manage the content of the website. They both invite social interactivity via the ability for visitors to leave comments, register as a user, or even become a contributor to the content. Then of course the primary focus of each is the delivery of some sort of content which in later years has involved not only pictures and text but also videos and audio (podcasts and the like). But surface appearances can be deceiving!

Strangely soothing…

Yeah, I’m writing late at night.? I’m working late at the office and I’m wrapping up to get ready to go home.? One of my final tasks is running some paper through the shredder.? You know I never noticed it before, but there is something strangely soothing about seeing that paper get shred!? Now, you’ve got to understand – the paper shredder I have is not your ultra-deluxe-chew-up-stapler kind of shredder.? No, this one will do a maximum of 5 sheets at a time and is pretty picky if you don’t enter the sheets at the right angle.? I’ve had to de-jam it a number of times (which isn’t really soothing at all!).? But tonight, as I watched that paper go through the shredder, for some reason I had this incredible feeling of satisfaction – as if I’d accomplished some monumental task…

Organize Series 1.0 Released

I’d already noticed a few bugs here and there after my initial release of the plugin and so I decided to give it another once over and fix them. This is a minor release so there are no new features added but there is one rather important bug fixed that caused the list of posts to not display in the series list box on a post page. I also made a change to the default .css file that affected the way a category icon displayed in the series list box when it’s width was set to wider than the box. Before the change the category icon would appear across the borders of the box. Now the box expands to accomodate the width of the category icon.

Small things but important nevertheless! Is anybody using this plugin yet? It’d be nice to know how people are finding it and what features/things they’d like added (or taken away) to make it better!

click here to go to the plugin page

WordPress as a CMS – Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Wordpress as a CMS

Here’s the promised first post in a series of articles I am going to write over the next month about the challenges and benefits of using WordPress as a content-management system (CMS).

Now I know that this topic has been covered fairly well already on the blogosphere – I’m not so naive as to think that I’m somehow setting a trend by writing this series! I am writing this series primarily as an excercise of recording for my own benefit some of the problems I ran into and the solutions I came up with in the process of designing a wordpress cms website.

In the course of these articles I’ll be referencing three websites that I’ve designed in the past 6 months as a CMS: vigliottiwoodworking.com, gohpc.net, and unashamedsermons.com. Here are some of the topics I’ll cover:

  • CMS vs. a blog – what’s the difference and how to you determine what is used? (among other questions I found myself asking when designing a site around WordPress)
  • Challenges that face a developer when using WordPress as a CMS.
  • Benefits for using WordPress as a CMS

WP2.1 Upgrade a success…

It was with a little bit of trepidition that I approached the task of upgrading UnfoldingNeurons.com to the brand spanking new version of WordPress. Since I use quite a few plugins and some custom code on this site I wasn’t sure if everything was up to kitsch for 2.1 Well, so far, things look okay and I used the opportunity to clear out some plugins from my install that weren’t being used.

Anyway, just thought I’d join the horde of other wordpress users posting about 2.1! Of course, I’m just going to leave it at that. Really!

Another Organize Series Plugin update…category icons!

One of the key components (in my eyes) that adds some “eye candy” to the organize series plugin is the “category icons” plugin by Ivan Georgiev – but I’ve notice that his website has been inaccessible for a few days now (test it by clicking on one of the links to him in this post!). So I’ve decided to make my copy of his plugin available so those who want to use it, can. As soon as I discover his website is back up I’ll take down my link so that he can get the traffic. If you want to download the category icons plugin to complement my organize series plugin head on over to the plugin page here and look for the “Category Icons Update” heading.

By the way: Ivan, if you happen to come across this post – leave a comment to let me know if what I’m doing is okay 🙂

Organize Series Update

Well, since releasing this plugin I’ve had 82 downloads – which is great news! The bad news is I should have done a closer check to the plugin before releasing. I forgot to update the link for the plugin in the orgSeries.php – it pointed to the wrong page (…/orgSeries rather than …/organize-series-wordpress-plugin). Nothing major except that when people click on the resulting link in their wordpress plugins page they’ll get a page not found. Thanks to Drew Vogel for catching that and letting me know. His observation led me to a closer looks of the orgSeries-options.php as well where I discovered that the link for “documents” in the options panel of the plugin also pointed to the wrong page.

I’ve fixed both incorrect links and updated the install file so if you downloaded the plugin and those links direct you to a “page-not-found” you can simply re-download the plugin and overwrite the files existing in your copy of the orgSeries plugin with the new files and that’ll take care of the problem. Sorry for that folks!

As a sidenote I’ve added this plugin to subversion over at dev.wp-plugins.org for those of you who know what that is. If there are any developers interested in helping me with this plugin please contact me.

Organize Series Plugin Released!

Finally, I’ve managed to assemble a release-worthy version of some code I’ve been using for a while on my sermons site. When I was developing the site for hosting all the various messages I preach at my church I looked unsuccessfully for a plug-in that I could use that would help in the organization and presentation of sermon series.

Finally, I decided to take the plunge and write up some code myself. Please understand, I’m very limited in my skills at programming in PHP/MySql so what may take some a few hours ends up taking me a few weeks! Nevertheless with much persistence I came up with something that has served me well at unshamedsermons.com.

Then came the new design for my church website and my interest in starting to write “series” articles here at this blog and I started looking at packaging the crude code I was using for my sermons into a generic, yet more robust plugin that can be dropped into a fresh wordpress install and make available a way to present special series articles on one’s blog.