graphicpush

Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

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.

Many of my articles were published on other sites like A List Apart and Creative Latitude. These are now present on graphicPUSH with a link to the original.

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.

commentary + criticism

Wim

wrote the following on Saturday January 1, 2005

Congrats with the new design. It’s a big improvement compared to the previous one.

Keep up the good work in 2005!

Sebastian

wrote the following on Saturday January 1, 2005

Like Wim said the new design is a big improvement and I really like it (although nothing beats your pointguru design)!
I did try out Textpattern yesterday but somehow couldn’t make it work the way I wanted it to. Now my (soon to come) journal section is powered by Wordpress.

J. Money

wrote the following on Monday May 23, 2005

Explain your TXP process / tips / hints / etc.!

Peter

wrote the following on Thursday May 25, 2006

Goog job!

Peter

wrote the following on Thursday May 25, 2006

Like Wim said the new design is a big improvement and I really like it (although nothing beats your pointguru design)!
I did try out Textpattern yesterday but somehow couldn't make it work the way I wanted it to. Now my (soon to come) journal section is powered by Wordpress.

John

wrote the following on Saturday May 27, 2006

The site is very nice done indeed…the free icon set is very useful, it helped me out. Thanks

Peter

wrote the following on Thursday June 8, 2006

Its a very good site…..

Georg

wrote the following on Saturday June 17, 2006

Congratulations! Nice page! Thx!

Andre

wrote the following on Thursday July 6, 2006

Hi, nice page with a lot of informations. Thx :)