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 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.

The key to blogging for the long haul…

Even though I’m still relatively new to the blogosphere (I’ve been blogging since May 2006 – see my first post!) I have been journaling off and on for quite a few years and blogging and journaling share some similarities in terms of what gives lasting power. Of course, there are pretty significant differences between the two (the primary one being the “public” and journalistic feel of a blog vs. the private and diary feel of a personal journal) but for the purpose of this article I think I can write out of some modicum of experience! Another reason that contributes to a measure of insight found in this article is the fact that even though I haven’t blogged myself until recently, I’ve been an avid reader of other peoples blogs for quite a while – there’s certain things that are common among bloggers with lasting power that stick out to me.
Anyway, the purpose of this article is to answer the question, “What are characteristics that keep someone blogging for the long haul?” According to David Sifry’s, “State of the Blogosphere Report” for August 2006 Technorati tracked it’s 50 millionth blog! Now that’s a lot of writer’s out there – however according to a comment David made in response to Glenn Fannick’s article, “Technorati’s Active Blogs — Perhaps 1.4 Million?“,

A wordpress plugin I’d scramble to get…

Okay, I wasn’t going to post about the recent interview Matt Mullenweg did with Blogging Pro but there was an intriguing response to one of the questions asked that led me to leave a comment on Photomatt where Matt posted about his interview. The purpose of my comment was to try and tickle out more information – alas my comment was deleted for some reason and so I find myself writing this little blurb in my blog hoping (I’m not quite at begging yet hehe) that someone might have more information ;)

UPDATE: Mysteriously my comment reappeared on Matt’s site…dunno what happened there hehe ;)

Anyway, in the interview, Matt was asked,

What?s Automattic?s next move? I know you have been focusing on the next versions of WordPress, and your great Anti-spam service Akismet, but with the people in the Automattic now and your great eye for filling a gap in the marketplace, could you give out any hints on what we can expect next?

Tucked in his response was this reply…

We?ve got a few plugins and services we?ve cooked up internally that we?re going to provide to open source, including a little todo/project management app.

Been a bit quiet here…

Yeah I know, I haven’t posted in a while. It’s just things have been so busy everytime I visit thinking I’ll post something I’m just so tired – too tired to think let alone type :lol:! Anyway, what have I been up to that’s kept me so busy? Well aside from church stuff I’ve been working on a website for my brother-in-law in the evenings. He’s got a cabinet making business and asked me to design a simple website for him that’s easy to maintain. I just finished most of it last night – when it goes live I’ll post a link.

Another thing that’s been keeping me busy is cutting wood in preparation for winter. My house has a woodstove and it is by far the most economical way of heating our old house. So between cutting/splitting wood and preparing the house for winter I’ve been kept pretty busy outside as well. The upside to this is I’m getting lots of needed excercise and fresh air!
Meanwhile…other things that have been percolating in my brain in the last little while – get ready here comes a list…