Up and Running With Textpattern
Here we are. graphicPUSH ver 3 is now naked to the world, for better or worse. Dumping Movable Type for Textpattern, the new CMS drives every element of the site, from the news section to the contact form.
So. Here we are. A fresh design of an old site, a pile of hacked PHP, a bewildered designer still learning the inner workings of an obtuse CMS.
Textpattern now completely drives this site — everything from the front page news items to the articles to the contact form. My reaction to the software is mixed. As a previous Movable Type user, TXP forces a new way of thinking about content and its relationship with presentation — it essentially forces the designer to separate the two, and you really have no choice in the matter.
Customizing Textpattern is a bear. Way too much of the HTML is embedded in the source code, and I did way too much digging around inside PHP for my liking. While this would be OK, some of the author’s design decisions were weird — for instance, when there’s multiple paragraphs in a comment, break tags are used instead of semantic <p> tags. This was incredibly frustrating to solve. Also, every now and then the author would attach inline styles to a hard-coded HTML tag — it took me nearly half an hour to track down and delete a rogue <h3> that has some embedded margin definitions.
That being said, Textpattern is a nice CMS and I think I am going to stick with it. It is a pure PHP system, totally dynamic, so there is no need for lengthy rebuilds. The backend interface is also nice. There is a very healthy community supporting this open source CMS, and new plug-ins are being developed almost weekly. (Since TXP is not even 1.0 yet, a lot of these plug-ins fill some obvious functionality gaps.)
Unfortunately for other Textpattern users out there, nothing in this site is very groundbreaking, and everything I’ve accomplished has been from reading the forum. However, if people are interested, I will write up some of the techniques I used, or at least link to my secret sources.
About the New Design
Everything has changed. We are back to a three column fluid layout, which I find slightly more liberating. The HTML is a bit more accessible (like em-defined font sizes), but I’m still struggling to correct the shabby comments form that comes stock with Textpattern (no label tags).
I have also brought in some new content. There is now tons of material for you PowerPoint designers, as well as a new free icon set which I introduced earlier in December.
Not everything is quite in place yet, and I’m still ironing out some kinks. If you find something amiss, please send me a message right away and I’ll try to fix it.