Following on from my previous post, I thought I’d explore in a little more detail how I like to optimise my Textpattern installation when starting a new site. While TXP has a pretty good setup out of the box, there are a few more steps I like to take to really make it zing.
Bear in mind that I’ve only really noticed the power of TXP in the last year or so, and there may be a heap of other plugins that I’m unaware of; listed below are just my favourites that I’ve discovered so far.
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Textpattern have announced the release of version 4.07. In case you don’t know Textpattern, it’s a lightweight and easy to use CMS with a nice XML-like template tagging system. The major new feature is a new tag parser, allowing for a lot more flexibility in site development. However, the admin interface still uses the fiddly design from previous versions, so I strongly recommend you install the restyled interface mod as soon as possible.
The ongoing documentation of Mark Boulton Design’s redesign of the Drupal website is providing some great insight into the process; Leisa Reichelt’s latest post, on the community wireframing project, is a prime example. Now — whether by happy serendipity or a desire to compete — WordPress have begun to do likewise.
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Mark Boulton Design have been selected to redesign drupal.org, the website of the Drupal CMS. I’m a big admirer of Mark’s writing about design and typography, and I think it’s exciting that a big open-source project is going in this direction.
Now, if we could get him to design the Drupal user interface (as Veerle Pieters is doing with Expression Engine), that would really be something.
As I wanted to learn about Textpattern which many people speak so highly of, I decided the best thing to do would be to create a theme for it. My first effort is an adaptation of The Ideal Website WordPress theme; anyone so inclined can download a copy of it from textpattern.org.
Unfortunately, what I learned is that Textpattern is not suitable for most of the projects I work on. It’s easy to work with, but doesn’t have the flexiblity I require.
CushyCMS is a very simple, nice idea for allowing users to edit content on their website without giving them access to the templates. It doesn’t allow changes to mark-up or style sheets, only titles, images and blocks of copy.
It requires that the site admin marks up the blocks that will be editable by adding
class="cushycms" to their containing elements; the web-based application will then automatically find each marked element in the pages you assign to it and open a text area (with or without WYSIWYG editor) allowing the user to edit.
In its current state it wouldn’t be suitable for sites with a lot of pages, but if you run a small, brochure-type site for a customer who wanted to make occasional updates, this could be a better solution in some cases than installing a full database-powered CMS.
I’d prefer it to have a better WYSIWYG editor, and it would be more useful if the interface could be branded and hosted on your own server. However, the creators are open to feedback and these ideas and many others have been suggested already.
While it may not (yet?) be the answer to all your content management requirements, CushyCMS is a neat, clever little app that would be useful for small businesses or for small clients. It’s currently in Private Beta only, but if you watch the introductory video closely, that won’t be a barrier to entry.