Choosing WordPress: “She’s got guts”

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

In the previous article in this series I introduced the first reason for why I chose to use WordPress as the engine for three CMS-like sites that I designed recently. I wrote about the theming/template system in WordPress – the “looks”. In this article I’m going to talk about the “guts” of WordPress.

Why I chose WordPress

2. The Guts

When I refer to guts, I mean the following things that are “inside” the WordPress engine:

i. File Structure

From the perspective of a newbie developer, the WordPress file structure greatly aids in comprehending where things are and what files need to be edited/looked at in the development process. The fact that directory trees and file names are descriptive of their function cuts down on a lot of the guesswork into where things are located.

Here’s the layout of the directory tree structure:

/wordpress (root): You’ll find all the main configuration and base level files such as config.php (database settings), wp-blog-header.php (calls necessary includes and header information), and various feed related files among others. I’m not going to go into detail about each of the files but I’ll just mention that for the most part, the files in the root wordpress directory are what WordPress accesses when initializing.

Choosing WordPress: “ooo doesn’t she LOOK fine?”

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Wordpress as a CMS

In the previous article in this series I gave a summary of some of the core differences between a CMS (content management system) and a blogging engine. I talked about some of the cases where one system is more preferable over the other when designing websites. In the conclusion to the article I mentioned that in light of what I had just written, it would have made more sense for me to go with a CMS for the website designs of Hanover Pentecostal Church, UnashamedSermons.com, and VigliottiWoodworking. Yet, as can be observed from the title of the series I obviously used WordPress instead. This article will focus on the first reason for why I made that choice.

But before I get to that I’ll give a quick rundown of some of the requirements that needed to be considered for each site.

UnashamedSermons.com
UnashamedSermons.com UnashamedSermons.com is where I host all the various sermons I have (and still am!) written and preached while pastoring at my church. There were predominately two purposes for me creating UnashamedSermons. One, I wanted a place where I could archive all my messages and access it for personal reference. Two, I wanted to make available to as many people possible these messages in the hopes more people would be impacted.

Organize Series 1.5 Released!

I just can’t get away from working on this plugin – I find it too useful for the various websites I write and I keep tweaking it to make it easier for me to write posts that are a part of a series and display the information that I want to display. The problem is, I’m spending so much time on developing this plugin that I have little time to actually write articles 😆 !

Anyway, this release of the Organize Series WordPress Plugin is chock full of great enhancements and minor bug fixes including the following:

  • Added a function/tag for counting the number of posts in a series. (tag returns a value). See usage instructions below for manually placing this tag (it is automatically included in the auto-tag insertion for series meta information)
  • Added a function for writing series meta information (?This entry is part x of x in the series, ?The name of my series?) to the posts that belong to a series. This is automatically added by default to your blog but it can be disabled for manual insertion via the new option on the options page for the plugin. See usage instructions below for manually placing the series meta tag.

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!

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

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 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.