Content Management

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
Okay, so I just noticed all these Content Management thingies in my control panel: Drupal, Geeklog, Mambo Open Source, PHP-Nuke, phpWCMS, phpWebSite, Post-Nuke, Siteframe, Xoops - and wondered what people's thoughts are regarding these things; what are the pros and cons? How far can you go with making them look individual?

I've only just started to make a website on planets etc (in my sig) and it's only got 20 pages at the moment so it wouldn't be much of a bother to change everything; but then I'm thinking do I really want it to be a website like that (or this one), or maybe I could do both - keep the format of the site as it is now and use a Content Management script in a different folder instead of just a basic message board, or would that just be silly? Opinions will be much appreciated. :)
 

Jonty

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,411
Hi Maljonic

Content management systems can be very useful indeed, even for small sites. They help automate common tasks and allow you to separate content from the design of your site. In this context, you could have all your content stored in a database, a webpage to structure the content, and CSS to determine the presentation. This makes updating your site a breeze. Instead of modifying twenty-some pages, you can usually alter just one file.

Of course, they're not for everyone, and some content management systems (CMSs) are better than others. For what it's worth, somebody I know uses Drupal and his site looks very unique whilst remaining the functionality the CMS offers.

Good luck with it all

Kind Regards
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
I'm not so sure it is what I want for my space site http://www.planet-surveyor.com/ but I am wondering if I could still use it in some way alongside the existing site, or if that's just a bit silly? I already use bulletin boards on my other sites, I could just add one of those to this, but I'm wondering if adding the cm makes it more interesting, interactive etc and if keeping the existing format as well is defeating the object a bit? :)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
I have used lots of different portals. The one I am using now is an Xoops one. As for making them individual they can be made to look any which way you want. My site looks like no other because I have used the theme off a Coppermine Gallery. I transfered the core components into the Coppermine so that it worked with the Xoops files. I have also created another much darker blue theme using Frontpage which you can also see on my site. This does take a lot of figuring out initially unless you have quite a grasp on website designing but wot the heck the stuff is free so you can experiment. How I went about things was to create a 'test' site where I would alter things before placing them into the 'real' site. Pretty good tip that with regard to portals as if you make a mess of the code you end up with nothing more than a white page and a hell of an headache!

Personally, for a small site ,I wouldn't bother with portals as they require mysql access etc to work and can be a little slow and ponderous. They can, though, help build a site remarkably quickly.

Infact my site will feature lots of portal, forums etc demos soon where you will be able to see the best working in all their glory. Must say that Mambo looks incredible now and is well worth a look.

MKJ
My site
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
Hee, I just spent all day, like 14 hours, looking through (installing and removing) every single one of them I listed - Mambo does look quite nice but I found some of it way too irritating to get working right. I nearly went with Xoops, then found you can do an easy little forum thingy with Drupal, so I might stick with that - though I might have another look at phpnuke, but I doubt it.

I'm going to keep making the main site the normal way with Dreamweaver and use the Drupal portal for folks to mess around with if they want to or not, pretty much leave it alone - don't want to get to heavily into this site, I already have about six on the go, I'm just going to add bits now and again and sort of leave it cooking and see what happens - though that's what I always say when I start these thinhs. :)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Moved over to Mambo now. Joined a theme club (link on bottom of site) and have access to some fantastic designs. Using this cool blue theme which I quite like. Flash header. Not sure that is a good thing or not but wot the hell nearly everyones comp can run flash now. Music might have to be ditched though. Also installed a very nice design phpbb forum. I am going to attempt to upgrade it so that it can have multiple linked categories, forums and subforums vbulletin style.

Also I have built in an advertising board displayer housed in the bottom of the site. This automatically feeds adverts into a auto-resizing iframe (timer rotates the adverts) . You can manually select the adverts as well though. To get around the problem that the links could cause the links to load into the iframe I covered the adverts with a transparent gif that has the advert site's hyperlink attached to it. This makes a popup window show of the site instead. Neat eh? If the links can be altered to form popups instead I can remove the gif. Any browser not supporting the resizeable iframe just doesn't show which is great (Opera etc).

Wot you think?

Sites-4u

PS: All the site has to be sorted for validation which is going to be a lot of work cos I am as messy as hell with coding :) .
 

TheJkWhoSaysNi

One of Freddy's beloved
Joined
Dec 23, 2003
Messages
187
I spent ages looking for one which I liked... eventually i gave up and wrote my own. :p
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
I went for the phpnuke one in the end because it was the easiest to follow, had the phpbb already attached and there's tonnes of info about it, styles etc. It looks spacey enough for me. I made the existing html site into something else rather than let it go to waste. :)
 

TheJkWhoSaysNi

One of Freddy's beloved
Joined
Dec 23, 2003
Messages
187
Heh, the main problem i have with most CMS's is that the layout is always the 3 colum, lotsa individual boxes look and nobody botheres to change it so every site using them looks the same.
 

Chilly

Balls of steel
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
9,046
With a bit of php and CSS knowledge you can drastically alter the layout of the standard CMS packages, because everything is so modular and designed so that virtually nothing is hardcoded in, it can be quite easy to change certain things as well. On my phpbb forum I hacked the css and tpl files a bit to change the layout a little and improve (from my pov) the content offered in the form of statistics and such.
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
TheJkWhoSaysNi said:
Heh, the main problem i have with most CMS's is that the layout is always the 3 colum, lotsa individual boxes look and nobody botheres to change it so every site using them looks the same.
I agree, but this is the only site I'm using this on and it's a news site so it kind of fits to be in columns, like a newspaper. Having said that, I never leave things the way they are for long, it's bound to look quite a bit different after a while. :)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Hi

I ain't really altered the Mambo too much cos then it will be harder to change a theme should I ever feel the need. I have though in the last few days added some forums - phpbb2 ones. I thought about a singular one with a category modification in it so it appeared similar to this Freddyshouse forum but I dunno I wanted to try something different. I instead have installed 3 forums (for now but more to follow) that share the same login and logout. You can simply move from one to another with links on the headers of each. What I have done though that is a bit of fun is to install a full width shoutbox in place of the upper large gif. The same shoutbox appears on all forums so that even switching from one to another or opening sections doesn't make you lose track of the shoutbox postings. Also you can simply close the shoutbox with a link. Works a real treat and could come in handly eventually. There is ip banning and the blocking of swear words in the shoutbox too. Funny enough but it would be very easy for others to install the same shoutbox in their own forum and all could communicate :) . Who knows what the future holds!

Take a look here New Computer Forum
 

MYstIC G

Official Licensed Lump of Coal™ Distributor
Staff member
Moderator
FH Subscriber
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
11,626
Design is a bit naff MKJ, no right hand borders on the forum lists is the pooey, soz.

CMS are generally good, I find however people tend to have CMS where they have 600 categories and 2 items of content.

My general favourite is to use a forum in conjunction with an external script and let it simply churn the posts from a forum into the news, or whatever. This is how i've got it hooked up on www.mysticg.com (I still to this day have no idea how i've got 46 members on that board?!?).

If you're going for pure content only (i.e. not a high level of follow up discussion) then I think that www.wordpress.org does a pretty good job and is fairly easy to mingle into your own design works.

On another front sometimes ya don't need a CMS at all, on www.consoleforums.org (which after a long time I've been able to restore after some **** hacked it) a section of the forums is more than suffiecient for purpose.

*shrug*
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Hi

Well I was going to use a couple of punBB forums but I couldn't figure out how to make them all use the same login and out. If I can get that to work I will probably go back to them. Very fast loading board. I have one installed for test purposes here. Very easy to do this on phpBB forums and no-doubt I will find out how to do in on the punbb boards as well. I much prefer the design and speed of the punBB board. I have used invision boards in the past and it is a good board too.

There are a great many themes available for the phpbb boards though and I should be able to locate something more suitable. The theme I am using for now will kick things off though. I can always alter the themes later.

There is also the xmb forum that is a little different along with minibb (sweet little board this). I will feature all on my site as demos.
 

Shovel

Part of the furniture
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,350
I've used a couple.

Students' Social v2 was based on PHP-Nuke 6.5. It was not a huge site but after a few months culling PHP-Nuke into shape it came out ok. Essentially it was a bad choice though. The HTML it produced was foul and most of that hacking time was spent fixing it up so I could do a CSS layout.

My current blog runs of b2evolution, which isn't bad. Though it could do with an update, really. It'll let you have multiple sections of chronological content (unlike Wordpress, which has just one). However, it wont let you create standalone pages very easily (which Wordpress will). It's not bad though.

Wordpress is the daddy for small sites. As above, it's very much designed for blogs, with catagories rather than completely standalone sections. This means you can have an ongoing "site news" feed or something, along with any number of standalone pages which is a simple, new feature they've added in 1.5.

Also worth a look is TextPattern. This works rather differently, but has an excellent backend interface. You'd have to spend some time learning your way around the template system, but rather than hacking around directly with the PHP, you instead use a number of XML tags to insert content into your pages. Quite neat, though not something I've ever had a huge amount of time to explore. JoshuaInk and Hicks Design both run off TextPattern, which gives some idea of how flexible it is.
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Hi

Taken a good look at your website and created a reciprocal link to it. Must admit though am wondering wot your site is? Are you creating these sites out of interest? Wot do you get out of it? Strangely enough the site is quite compelling in content. Wot you upto m8.

MKJ (not exactly sober!)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Sorry

Was drunk and cruising the boards. Posting rubbish as usual.

You got some nice sites there and I will take a further look at them when I have the time. Looking for link partners now so will link to them all if you have reciprocal linking.
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
Now worries, and thanks. They all have reciprocal links directories btw. :)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Hi

Yu messing? Well I am messing too. Installed a couple of Azbb forums now. Bit unusual these but sure are fast and easy to work on. Linking them to the main site for special offers. I dunno need something to generate some interest. Both for myself and others. What are good subject matters for a main forum?

MKJ
My Site
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
I'd say that depends on you, you have to write about stuff you're interested in, or bore your self stupid writing about stuff you couldn't care less about, which wont get you very far I guess. I think the best topics are ones you know a lot about but where there isn't much info about them on the net yet. :)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Web stuff

Funny thing. Been learning about web designing for quite some time now. Thought I had good designs ages ago and stuck the site up on various websites hoping for good reviews. Was really taken aback when the reviewers posted all sorts of disparaging remarks. But I persevered and kept learning. Now I can rip any forum apart - any portal apart - infact practically any code and reconstruct it. Just posted my site on more or less the ultimate critical site full of professional website designers expecting the worse but ...... no, hell they like it. Shows how far I have come on this website designing lark. Ok am using a design created by someone else but I have altered it greatly. Also altered the forums and all the rest of the scripts I use - even the javascript window popup codes. Still got to market the site though. Strange thing is I am kind of reluctant to do so. Going to take a breather and continue to upgrade the site and make it far more 'friendly'. Doing so will help me get more involved too. Just installed a quite neat Gallery script. I play the geetarrr so am going to look at ways to include my own playing on my site too cos my geettarr playing is a bit unusual.

Lots to do!

MKJ

My site
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
In what seems to have become a quest to try all the free content managment systems available, I have begun endeavours with Mambo which, though it looks rather nice, I have to say is by far the most irritatingly difficult to get to grips with right away. I can imagine a few people must have thought fook this and gone back to whatever they were using before; not me though, I'm made of sterner stuff. :)
 

Shovel

Part of the furniture
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,350
Well, the potential for Mambo to produce good markup seems reasonable. The XHTML DOCTYPE is good to see (though you've invalidated it by using uppercase SCRIPT tags in your head, you might wanna fix that).

One thing of interest that I see there. That template actually includes the firstline XML declaration (as is required for 'proper' XML documents): '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>'.

Now, this is ordinarilly left out of all XHTML pages because it sends Internet Explorer 6 into quirks mode (IE6 looks for a DOCTYPE on the first line only, if you put anything but the DOCTYPE on the first line, it goes into IE 5.5 broken mode).

However, in this case the <?xml ?> declaration is on the same line as the DOCTYPE. Could it be that someone has come up with a truely ingenious way of tricking IE into working in standards mode, but still with the proper XML declaration at the top? Does anyone got spare time to test it? (or, for that matter, does anyone know how to find out from IE if it's running in Quirks Mode or Standards Mode?)
 

Shovel

Part of the furniture
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,350
OK, did a little test based on this extremely handy layout mode tester. Even with the <?xml...?> on the same line as the <!DOCTYPE ... > it still kicks off Quriks mode in IE, so no luck there.

Maljonic - you'll need to edit your template to remove the <?xml .. ?> part, since it will make debugging your pages infinitely harder. In quirks mode, IE sizes boxes differently (wrongly), which can be a huge bain on getting layout correct.

Hope that helps,

Ben
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
Thanks, that explains why I couldn't view source in IE; you found the problem quicker than the Mambo forums, and I didn't even ask you to! :)

Edit: that's strange, it was the <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> I took out by mistake which let me view source in IE, but now I put it back in again I can still view the source - maybe it was my computer? Anyway I took out the bit you said, all the templates seem to have it that way though. Can you test to see if it works beter now?
 

Maljonic

Can't get enough of FH
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,297
Oh wait, the layout messes up and bounces around if I take that out. :)
 

MKJ

Fledgling Freddie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,196
Empty Mambo

Had enough of masses of data to look after and fancy graphics. Got so many sodding links and banners on my site it is truly a nightmare. Had a funny turn and ripped all the coding out of a theme of Mambo. Just showing a bare minimum now. No right or left blocks. Still able to use all the modules though by linking direct. Totally minimalistic design :) . Don't really care if people like the looks or not. I mean what do people want? to find stuff or some silly display? As for Mambo or any portal code come to that when you understand one you more or less understand the rest.

I have these funny turns now and then.

Piff now I gotta rework loads of the Software section!

MKJ
My white site
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom