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#1 2022-07-07 10:34:14

NorfolkGreg
New Member
Registered: 2022-07-07
Posts: 8

Is Textpattern For Me?

I maintain a large church web site. Apart from the forum embedded within the site it’s all hand coded by me. I’m fine with HTML and CSS but I have no skills in PHP beyond the ability to use PHP includes for headers, footers, main menu etc. Nor do I know anything of JavaScript.

It’s getting to big for me to manage alone, especially, as since COVID, we’re pushing out much more stuff, audio, video and pdf newsletters on-line every week.

40% of our congregation are not online and a similar percentage have no mobile phone, so IT skills are minimal, but I do need to get more of the congregation able to maintain the parts of the site that refer to the activities they take part in or run. There’s all manner of social activities and services for the local community – from the weekly coffee shop, lunch club for the elderly and table tennis sessions, etc, not to mention services, Sunday school, prayer groups, Bible study sessions and the like.

I’m looking for a package to which I can migrate (manually) the content of the existing site. I’m happy to train a small group in “Textile” who could maintain the public facing pages on the site. That looks as if it should be quite straight forward.

The lack of off-the-shelf themes doesn’t deter me, as it appears that building up a stylesheet that I can insert in a template shouldn’t be too difficult.

The main menu on the current site has several sub-levels to most of the top level items but I spite of the words towards the end of the Basic tutorial about a lack of native “sub-sections”, I suspect that , as it suggests, the “Categories” facility within Textpattern would appear to be adequate as a replacement for that.

What I am still unclear about, is whether it would be better to retain the forum where such things as the proposed “Order of Service” for the next Sunday are shared with the small group that is to deliver it (worship leader, preacher, worship band, etc) and where they ask follow-up questions etc. Are there Textpattern plug-ins available that would allow the administrator to keep an area private that only relevant people could access, comment on, and subscribe to. What would the required plug-ins be?

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#2 2022-07-08 04:44:58

colak
Admin
From: Cyprus
Registered: 2004-11-20
Posts: 8,870
Website GitHub Twitter

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

Hi Greg and welcome to txp. I’ll try to respond to most of your queries.

NorfolkGreg wrote #333680:

I maintain a large church web site. Apart from the forum embedded within the site it’s all hand coded by me. I’m fine with HTML and CSS but I have no skills in PHP beyond the ability to use PHP includes for headers, footers, main menu etc. Nor do I know anything of JavaScript.

No php or js knowledge needed for txp. If you know html you’ll understand most of the txp tags.

It’s getting to big for me to manage alone, especially, as since COVID, we’re pushing out much more stuff, audio, video and pdf newsletters on-line every week.

You can embed videos, audio, and upload pdfs for download.

40% of our congregation are not online and a similar percentage have no mobile phone, so IT skills are minimal, but I do need to get more of the congregation able to maintain the parts of the site that refer to the activities they take part in or run. There’s all manner of social activities and services for the local community – from the weekly coffee shop, lunch club for the elderly and table tennis sessions, etc, not to mention services, Sunday school, prayer groups, Bible study sessions and the like.

I’m not sure that you can limit which part of the website members of the congregation will be able to maintain, but you’ll be able to limit what they’ll be able to work on. ie. only their own articles which they can save until someone with higher rights publishes them.

I’m looking for a package to which I can migrate (manually) the content of the existing site. I’m happy to train a small group in “Textile” who could maintain the public facing pages on the site. That looks as if it should be quite straight forward.

Textile is a indeed wonderful to work with once you get the hang of it.

The lack of off-the-shelf themes doesn’t deter me, as it appears that building up a stylesheet that I can insert in a template shouldn’t be too difficult.

You can use almost any html template and then add the html tags.

The main menu on the current site has several sub-levels to most of the top level items but I spite of the words towards the end of the Basic tutorial about a lack of native “sub-sections”, I suspect that , as it suggests, the “Categories” facility within Textpattern would appear to be adequate as a replacement for that.

We can help you with this when the time comes. Keep in mind that the menu has to be mobile friendly.

What I am still unclear about, is whether it would be better to retain the forum where such things as the proposed “Order of Service” for the next Sunday are shared with the small group that is to deliver it (worship leader, preacher, worship band, etc) and where they ask follow-up questions etc. Are there Textpattern plug-ins available that would allow the administrator to keep an area private that only relevant people could access, comment on, and subscribe to. What would the required plug-ins be?

‘Private areas’ are possible but admittedly, we still need to work much more on this to make it friendlier.


Yiannis
——————————
neme.org | hblack.net | EMAP | NeMe @ github
I do my best editing after I click on the submit button.

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#3 2022-07-08 10:44:35

NorfolkGreg
New Member
Registered: 2022-07-07
Posts: 8

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

colak wrote #333681:

I’m not sure that you can limit which part of the website members of the congregation will be able to maintain, but you’ll be able to limit what they’ll be able to work on. ie. only their own articles which they can save until someone with higher rights publishes them.

‘Private areas’ are possible but admittedly, we still need to work much more on this to make it friendlier.

What I had in mind was a work-around like this: Create a section with a single article that in effect said “Members Only” then, from what I had read, I understood it was possible to grant editorial rights in that section only to a number of users. I hoped that would allow one of those editors to create a draft that others within the group could see and then create their own drafts to comment on, or add their response at the end of the original. None of these would ever be set “Live” and all drafts could be deleted after the service. In this way create a crude form of forum with a number of users discussing something privately.

Would that work?

At the moment the forum software I use is fully embedded in the site as it is the only way I have of allowing other editors to upload public material themselves. But it has just occurred to me that once using Textpattern all the public stuff can be created through that and the private stuff can be operated separately in the existing, or another forum package in a sub-domain and need not have any links between www.mychurchsite and forum.mychurchsite That’s probably the better approach!

Textile is a indeed wonderful to work with once you get the hang of it.

This is my first experience! Needed to read up on the “bq- double dot”!

Keep in mind that the menu has to be mobile friendly.

No worries on that! A lot of my inspiration comes from the excellent: http://www.cssplay.co.uk/menus/

You can use almost any html template and then add the html tags.

That’s another area where I lack experience. I’ve looked at other packages to use for a personal blog, such as FlatPress, where you find many templates ported from WordPress, but as I’m used to doing everything by hand myself, I’ve duplicated Textpatten’s default template and plan to edit the files within that. Not that I’ve found where duplicate templates are stored yet!

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#4 2022-07-08 10:46:01

NorfolkGreg
New Member
Registered: 2022-07-07
Posts: 8

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

Should haver said, thanks for the detailed response. Very encouraging to a newcomer and suggests Textpattern is the right software to use.

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#5 2022-07-08 20:59:29

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,744
Website GitHub

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

NorfolkGreg wrote #333682:

I understood it was possible to grant editorial rights in that section only to a number of users.

Sadly not. You can limit a user’s rights so they can only edit their own stuff but that doesn’t stop anyone else clicking through and reading the content. There are no restrictions on who can edit content based on the section name. You’d need a plugin for that.

once using Textpattern all the public stuff can be created through that and the private stuff can be operated separately in the existing, or another forum package in a sub-domain

This. I would be tempted to install some dedicated free forum software or something that can act the way you want it as a private conversation space, and leave the publicly visible stuff in the CMS. Maybe even a wiki would do the job as you can use talk pages perhaps.

Not that I’ve found where duplicate templates are stored yet!

We were late to the party with themes, which is partly why there are so few available.

There’s an in-depth guide on how we manage themes which gives some context to help answer that question. There’s also The end of the web development staging server which touches on how you can clone a theme and work on it privately before flicking the switch to make it live.

But if all you want to do is work on the files themselves in the filesystem, Export the theme from the Presentation>Themes panel and then you’ll find the files in your /themes directory. You can then edit them, import them each time you make a change to see the difference, or use a plugin to streamline the process.

Hope some of that helps.


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#6 2022-07-09 04:46:49

jakob
Admin
From: Germany
Registered: 2005-01-20
Posts: 4,370
Website

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

I’d also echo bloke’s thoughts. There is a code snippet here in the forum for restricting what publishing sections show in the dropdown on the write panel for a certain user privilege level but those users can still see the content of the rest of the site, and it’s more involved to start restricting which other articles show in the list of articles, the search functionality, the next/previous article switcher, and so on…

A couple of ideas if you want to pursue the Textpattern avenue here:

  1. Create a section but do not link to it publicly from the rest of the site (you may also want to set it not to syndicate, i.e. not to show in feeds, and prevent it showing in sitemaps). Have a coordinating editor create each week’s suggested text as a new article and privately invite the rest of the contributors to use the comment function to reply to it. The coordinating editor would have to bring edits on board based on the suggestions. Then the article can be duplicated and assigned to a section on the live site where the comments don’t show.
  2. If you want things entirely separate, simply make a second Textpattern installation on a subdomain and work there with your members, then copy across the finished article to your main site.

But, if you want a more open system where everyone can edit and make comments or suggestions, you might be better off with an online collaborative writing platform such as Etherpad or Google Docs where you can see who has made which changes when and comment on them.

bloke answered your other question on working with a duplicate of the existing theme using an offline text editor. I do that too: export the duplicate to disk, work in an editor, then import the changes back. There’s a helper plugin etc_flat for making that process a bit easier.
But if you want to work within Textpattern, you’ll see a dropdown on the Presentation › Pages and Presentation › Forms panels that enables you switch between theme (once you have more than one theme active). The article(s) bloke links to shows you how to assign page templates from different themes to your sections.

Otherwise, as colak mentioned, you could also work from your existing html files and convert them to a Textpattern theme of your own. The basic principle is to work out which chunks of your page repeat both within your pages and across the pages of the site. The top and bottom (header + footer) of the page, menu/navigation, possibly sidebar etc. are likely to be similar or even identical across all your pages. Put those in their own Textpattern forms (usually of type miscellaneous), and then “include” them in your Textpattern pages using the txp:output_form (like the php include you mentioned). You can still make them vary slightly for different sections using txp:if_section.

For repeating chunks of content within a page such as the article content or list of excerpts, you also use Textpattern forms of type article in conjunction with the txp:article and txp:article_custom tags. While txp:article_custom allows you to be more specific and may at first glance look more powerful, txp:article is the real powerhouse as it automatically responds to the context of the page all from the same tag: that means, if you are on a section landing page it shows you a list page (using the listform attribute), if your address bar includes category or author, it automatically filters by category or author, and when you’re on a regular article page, it shows the main article.

The default theme provides a good example of how this can be structured for a site, but you can still start from your own existing code.


TXP Builders – finely-crafted code, design and txp

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#7 2022-07-10 21:09:55

NorfolkGreg
New Member
Registered: 2022-07-07
Posts: 8

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

Thanks all!

Some very useful tips. I remain impressed with TXP and the community here.

I think I was being over ambitious in thinking that TXP could do everything I needed. Understandably, it is primarily designed for multiple authors to impart information to the public at large. Trying to use it as a vehicle for private discussion within a sub-group of regular visitors, is always going to be using the software for a purpose it was never intended to fulfil. I’ll stick to using it for what it was designed and look for a forum package for my private group discussion need.

(I’d would be using Fluxx, or even PUN, but all the advice I receive is to avoid them as they are abandoned products – and may become vulnerable to security issues if no one is updating the code to keep up with PHP developments.)

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#8 2022-07-11 10:40:59

Algaris
Member
From: England
Registered: 2006-01-27
Posts: 498

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

NorfolkGreg wrote #333692:

I’ll stick to using it [Textpattern] for what it was designed and look for a forum package for my private group discussion need.

(I’d would be using Fluxx, or even PUN, but all the advice I receive is to avoid them as they are abandoned products – and may become vulnerable to security issues if no one is updating the code to keep up with PHP developments.)

There’s always Flarum.org which was intended to be a replacement for FluxBB at one point.

Last edited by Algaris (2022-07-11 10:42:48)

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#9 2022-07-11 12:54:47

NorfolkGreg
New Member
Registered: 2022-07-07
Posts: 8

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

Yes, I’ve seen that it is supposed to be a replacement, but it appears to be 50Mb of bloatware to me. By way of comparison, of the forum packages Softaculous offers with my host, only Vanilla is bigger and even the mighty phpBB comes in at half that.

A few score users is all I need to accommodate, and most will meet each other in the flesh each week so the crudest of packages is all I need with minimal options and no bells and whistles. Instant and daily digest subscriptions is just about the limit.

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#10 2022-07-11 13:03:59

Algaris
Member
From: England
Registered: 2006-01-27
Posts: 498

Re: Is Textpattern For Me?

NorfolkGreg wrote #333694:

Yes, I’ve seen that it is supposed to be a replacement, but it appears to be 50Mb of bloatware to me.

No worries. I haven’t taken a good look at Flarum and was unaware of its size. Hopefully you can find something that works for you :-)

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