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Harry Ferguson Memorial CMS choice – Textpattern

The last few days I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the CMS behind Harry Ferguson Memorial.com. Initially completely in hand-coded HTML (to get it looking right without distracting myself hacking around in a CMS template styling system), it was time to choose a CMS to allow a certain amount of user updating to be done on the site.

I first experienced the Textpattern CMS through my participation in the TextDrive Joyent Mixed Grill “Venture Capitalist” life-time subscription. I was initially baffled by it’s usage of ‘forms’ ‘pages’ and ‘sections’ to categorise different design and structural hierarchy. Mostly using WordPress over the last few years on various sites and most recently developing a custom Rails CMS for the upcoming Bible Society of Northern Ireland website (note: current site is *not* of my creation) (launching in the next few weeks) I decided I needed to hunt around a bit. A quick play with Drupal left me unimpressed, I wasn’t going to touch Joomla (is it just me or does every site that uses it scream “look, it’s a site built using Joomla!”) and so I thought I’d take Textpattern out for another try.

Impressed by the fact it’s finally had an update (version 4.2.0 was released just a week ago (28th August) — after, I believe, a long hiatus — time to give it a spin once more.

Installation is pretty simple, quite lightweight; doesn’t require much in the way of configuration if you have a bog standard *AMP setup, just create or associate the database you wish to use (you can use a ‘_txp’ style suffix to append onto your existing DB) and create the .htaccess requested – it’s all explained on the linked instruction page.

I’m not going to do any sort of tutorial on the installation process, that’s been covered so many times, by so many people, I’d only do it a disservice. However, I have been using the YAB_Shop plugin, which is seriously lacking in documentation, with a 27 page forum post over at Textpattern.org. I’ll be putting together a few thoughts and instructions (which I found difficult to find) on the e-commerce plugin in the next few days and hopefully that’ll help someone out (and help me process and learn further!).

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Edit: I realise I didn’t really ‘review’ the experience, which I intend to do more so when I write about the plugin, most of my gripes are with the plugin workflow!