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Author Topic: Transitioning the DC website pages to a CMS  (Read 4500 times)
mouser
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« on: April 11, 2012, 08:59:30 AM »

Currently the DC website (absent the forum and help desk) is built with old school hand coded html.

While this is great for server efficiency, it has several glaring drawbacks:
  • Much harder than it should be to edit pages.
  • Much much harder than it should be to make sitewide changes to headers, layouts, etc.
  • Virtually impossible to give permission to others to edit certain pages.
  • No easy way to set up donationcoder bloggers/columnists.
  • No help in setting up a software repository.
  • Etc.

So, we're finally going to transition the site pages (not the forum) to using a CMS (content management system).

Despite my experience building several drupal sites (or more technically, because of it!) I have agonized terribly over what CMS system to use.  Somewhat to my own surprise I think I have actually decided that we should use Wordpress -- more of a blogging system than a true CMS.  Our content management needs are small, and Wordpress just seemed like a reasonable match for us.

Anyway, this section should help us discuss any issues people want to discuss about the pending transition.
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flamerz
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 10:20:00 AM »

i used expression engine and cms builder but i dont know the DC needs smiley

both are commercial (cms builder is simpler but it does the job nicely).
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mitzevo
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 10:27:06 AM »

Wordpress is fine, yeah it's a blogging platform, but with modification (and a couple plugins), it can be a pretty good CMS overall. You just have to set it up nicely.

Make sure to keep an eye on updates each week though and get them patched asap.
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The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.
rgdot
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 10:46:41 AM »

Big fan of WordPress, however as a CMS it is somewhat overrated (overstated?) because to me a CMS' starting point is built-in content blocks, multiple editable areas within the main content.
Not that should stop DC using it because I am positive it's a good option, I know a bit more about WordPress than my usual so just in case some help is needed I am here  smiley
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wraith808
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 11:24:56 AM »

I think what you'll find is that the biggest advantage to WP is that most people have used it and know about it in some form or another and it's pretty easy to work on and find help when needed.
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 10:33:15 AM »

DC members Stephen and Mitzevo have been working on getting the new wp-based dc site design looking good.  I think it's really coming along nicely:

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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2012, 10:50:18 AM »

The new sidebar design logic that I think is planned is like this:

Left sidebar: will be dynamically updated NEWS.  So things like site news, latest forum posts, lasted memberblog posts/comments.

Right sidebar: will be for site self-promotion type stuff.  So things like "join mailing list" and boxes with testimonial comments or screenshots of a random dc software with link to its page.

Then we have to handle the main custom sections:

Forum: Will stay the same.  Probably with no sidebars.  Maybe with the new site banner.

Help area: I think we will transition to a new help area based on a wordpress plugin; content unchanged.

Software area: This is the one that will undergo the biggest change.. we are still investigating the best way to implement this that will make it easier for authors to manage a software section of their own.  This is the one aspect i am still struggling with conceptually and in terms of what to use to implement it.

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mitzevo
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2012, 10:56:33 AM »

It's definitely a good start.  smiley We shall finish soon (ideally)  Kiss
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wraith808
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 11:14:52 AM »

Yes... very nice start!  One suggestion- look at the colors in the callouts.  The background and buttons on the search and mailing list widgets clash with the main coloration IMO, and the text at the bottom of the mailing list widget isn't easily distinguishable from the background.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 08:13:58 PM »

If you manage to find a half useful backup system for Wordpress I would be interested.

I love Akeeba Backup for Joomla but I haven't been able to find anything even remotely comparable for wordpress and have to restort to either a CPanel backup or use a third party tool.

One of my biggest annoyances with all CMSes is it is really difficult to control content (especially when more than one or two people are involved). In particular it is difficult to organise things like graphics etc. so that when pages/articles are deleted all the associated media and files get deleted too.

Don't want to start banging on about Joomla again (for some reason I seem to be the only one that likes it) but has anyone looked at 2.5 - it is really nice. Much easier to use than the older versions and the whole thing has been considerably rationalised - especially categories and menus, and now has definable user group permissions. Most of the really useful addons are also now 2.5 compatible.
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cthorpe
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2012, 01:00:10 AM »

If you need/want GravityForms (and ALL of the addons) or BackupBuddy for the site, I can take care of that.

GravityForms is widely considered to be the premier contact form plugin for WordPress. site

BackupBuddy is also highly regarded as far as backup solutions that work from within WordPress.  site.

In both cases, you would get a license key to install with the plugin that would get you automatic updates for as long as I keep paying for updates.  And since all of my online ventures depend heavily on both, I will be paying for them indefinitely.

I also have the appropriate licenses available to provide DC with licenses to a few other premium plugins, however they are more "Internet Marketing" type stuff that likely does not apply here.

And yes, I did just unlurk myself.

And also, I did just associate myself with Internet Marketing.

I feel so exposed... and dirty...


C
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2012, 01:03:00 AM »

Great to see you thorpe!!!
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mitzevo
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2012, 02:03:53 AM »

hahaha cthorpe, all that matters is that you don't become a dirty im'er Wink thanks for the offer on your scripts, but I reckon if a contact form is needed (or any other forms), it's not very hard to code a custom/decent one in php, therefor you should keep them for your biz/im'ing.  smiley I think it's clear where and why you've been lurking now Wink
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 02:12:34 AM by mitzevo » Logged

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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 04:19:35 AM »

BackupBuddy is also highly regarded as far as backup solutions that work from within WordPress.  site.

Backup Buddy looks like a good product - but I don't want to spend $75 just for the convenience when backing up someone else's website and they won't want to pay it either..

The thing I like about Akeeba backup for Joomla is it does everything in its free version that BB does for WP. You can even do automatic backups from the desktop.

I can't see anything in the WP extensions repository that has similar functionality for free.
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nudone
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2012, 04:39:17 AM »

Not the "perfect" answer to backing up WordPress, but a good place to get an idea of what's available (paid and free)...

http://www.carefulcash.co...ons-for-a-wordpress-blog/

(Worth reading the comments too.)

EZPZ is probably the one to go for - if DC members are required to understand how to do the backup. If not, then maybe a plugin isn't the way to do the backups.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 04:44:40 AM by nudone » Logged
mitzevo
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2012, 11:43:26 AM »

nudone we need some nice shiny new gfx for the new cms.. just sayin'  Grin couple icons, images, a banner or 3, etc. you're good with gfx aren't ya? I remember you done some nice cody gfx a few years ago.
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The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.
mouser
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2012, 11:44:06 AM »

The main thing we really need to make the new cms version of DC a hit is a revamped banner to breathe new life into it.. after all these years i know everyone wants to see a new Nudone-Cody masterpiece to last us through 2015.

A new banner that was similar to but different from our current one -- an evolution of the current one -- would really catch people's eye and make them excited to revisit DC, and make it clear there are improvements under the hood.  Even if we change everything else, with the old banner people will think it's just cosmetic.
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Redhat
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« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2012, 02:24:32 PM »

New design looks lovely from the April SS Thmbsup

Excited to see the changes!
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DeVamp
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Let the coding begin :-)

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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2012, 02:19:41 AM »

Looking good so far.

can't wait.

Keep going :-)
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app103
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2012, 07:43:55 PM »

A new banner that was similar to but different from our current one -- an evolution of the current one -- would really catch people's eye and make them excited to revisit DC, and make it clear there are improvements under the hood.  Even if we change everything else, with the old banner people will think it's just cosmetic.

I used one of the wallpapers that nudone made for the banner on the DC facebook page. It's pretty similar to the one used on the site already, but not quite. Personally, I think it's beautiful and could work well for the new site banner too.
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