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  1. #1
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    I need to create a content management system to go with a database-driven website. I'm exploring building the site in PHP (which I am just learning) and wonder...does anyone know where I can learn how to create an editing interface so that non-techie people can input content into the database....

    Has anyone experimented with over-the-counter content management systems like RedDot etc?

    I'm wondering if I can integrate such a system with a PHP-based site...

    Basically wondering what the options are, not sure I even know what the heck I'm talking about just yet.

    Any & all help is appreciated!

    Thanks!
    vcrs

  2. #2
    Not Bad, eh? Justin Sampson's Avatar
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    I would suggest you build your own. It allows you to customise it to fit your site more then over the counter ones. If you don't have the time to build it your self you could have a look at a few of these pre-built ones:

    http://www.typo3.com/
    http://www.phpnuke.org/
    http://mcyra.homeip.net/homepage/doc/doc_us/index.htm

  3. #3
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    If you have the time, build it yourself. It will probably take just as long to build yourself as to configure a boxed solution. Firstly, by the end of the project you will be a PHP wizard and secondly you will have an intimate knowledge of the code which will aid maintenance.

    The link in my signature leads to a thread full of useful links including a link to Kevin Yanks extensive tutorial that covers building a content management system using MySQL and PHP.
    Last edited by freakysid; Apr 4, 2001 at 08:31.

  4. #4
    Idea Developer
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    I like to build stuff myself too. Also you dont need to give any credit to anyone, and it fits nicely into your porfolio.

  5. #5
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I built my own and it was a good learning experience. I kept it simple, but I can build it further...
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  6. #6
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    PHPNuke

    I'm currently playing around with phpNuke... It's really great and all, but I'm more and more leaning towards making myself an own system. It's simply better - and it really doesn't take longer making one than customizing an over-the-counter script like phpnuke, just like sid says. It IS good to use for inspiration and reference, though.

    Go for making it yourself, I say - it will be much more satisfying!
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

    Buttons and Dog Tags with your custom design:
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  7. #7
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    phpNuke is very impressive but it's not at all flexible - if you want to do anything outside the "themed page with boxes down the side" look you're looking at customising huge chunks of code all over the script.

  8. #8
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    I have seen some sites which are obviously using phpNuke and the rigid format just does not suit the content of the site. phpNuke is great for magazine style sites where there will be mainly text/article content changing on a continuous basis. Its got a category>heading>grabline>link to full story, sort of format - if that makes sense.

  9. #9
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    heard anything abt RedDot specifically?

    Wow, thanks for all the prompt replies.

    I would love to build it myself...it's slightly daunting however...I want to make sure that's the best choice.

    I've been looking into RedDot & their customer service folks assure me that it is fully customizable without programming... and that it's fully compatible with any kind of functionality you want to add into it. Check out RedDot here if you're interested.

    If all they say is true, I *wouldn't* spend as much time customizing it as I would building it myself......but is all they say true....???????

    I don't want to get into either of these situations:
    (1) I get halfway done building something myself and it either becomes excruciatingly painful or I just can't pull it off for whatever reason
    (2) We get locked into a particular vendor or piece of software and can't escape. (which is where we are stuck now)

    Does anyone have any experience with RedDot that they could share?

    Again thanks so much for discussing this with me. I really appreciate your help.

    vcrs

  10. #10
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    To be honest - building a content management system is super-easy. Basically you just make one core file with the functions, one header, one footer, one home page, and one index page.

    That's it. After that, it's just features. Just use the guieds of sitepoint to make something simple and then add complexity.

    I cannot speak for reddot, but I know phpnuke has a gazillion features, is very customizable without programming BUT IT CANNOT customized enough without programming. If you want your site to be your site, and not reddot with content and other colours, you are better off by building it yourself.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

    Buttons and Dog Tags with your custom design:
    FatStatement.com

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict kunal's Avatar
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    what i would do is, get my hands on the source of some of the most popular, most suited for my needs, already existing content management system and hack it.. use it as a guide and make my own.. this would save a lot of time.. and give you what you need
    i dunno...

  12. #12
    Feel my RewiredMind KMxRetro's Avatar
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    I agree with these good people.

    It's much better to create your own management scripts. I played around with most of the packages mentioned, as well as a few others, and found that the majority of them either a) needed a bunch of mods installed on the server or b) just were NOT flexible.

    If you are looking at building an entire site which has the content management centre as the main chunk, PHPNuke is probably the best bet, it WILL look totally generic whatever you do to it though.

    If you just need a few sections of your site managed (say Articles, Reviews etc), build your own. It'll be easier to integrate and it will improve your PHP knowledge.

    The best thing to do when creating ANY PHP script/system is plan it out on paper. When creating my system, I started with a few blank sheets of A4 and just listed exactly what the script needs to do. Start with the basics, such as Edit Articles, Upload Images, Edit Author Date etc etc and then move onto the more advanced items (if required).

    If you need ideas for these items, have a look around at various websites and jot down anything that you see that would be useful to your visitors. I was surfing around at Yahoo! and saw their "Search for <CATEGORY TOPIC> at Amazon.com" box. I've just integrated that into my system using my Amazon Associates ID, an Amazon search link and the category name.

    As you take down ideas, write exactly WHERE the idea will fit into the page in parenthesis.

    For example: Automatically generated Amazon Search based on current category (Top Right below heirarchy bar)

    When you have built up enough ideas (when YOU think that there are enough ideas), get another sheet of paper and sketch out a design of the page that you are working on. Put the basic layout in as well as the advanced items that you noted down earlier.

    This way, you'll be able to see exactly WHAT you need and if there is any confusion over why something is there, scrap it. If it's confusing to you, it probably won't help your visitors.

    From the page(s) that you had showing the basic functions (and advanced items if applicable), you should be able to build a flowchart/diagram showing the progression of the script. Give things ascending numbers starting with 1.

    For example, the start of my diagram went like this...

    1. Main Page (Select Edit Article, Edit Review, New Article, Edit Author Data)
    2. Edit Article
    2a. Select article to edit
    2b. Display article content in HTML text boxes for editing
    2c. Submit content to database and update
    2d. Return to 1
    3. Edit Review
    3a. Select article to edit
    3b. Display article content in HTML text boxes for editing
    3c. Submit content to database and update
    3d. Return to 1

    etc etc.....

    Stick this flowchart to the side of your monitor while you create the script. If you give the individual scripts the same name that you gave them in the flowchart (2/2a.php, 2/2b.php) or comment out the areas within the script (// 2a begins here, // 2a ends here)

    This may not be the best way of doing it but it worked for me. My content system was completed within 4 days of deciding to use such a system and it worked.

    Also, don't think that you have to do EVERYTHING at once. If you make the system as basic as you can, adding things will be a breeze later on.

    Sorry if I went on a bit too long and I hope this helps. Please note (it may be obvious), I'm not the most advanced PHP coder in the world.

    http://www.hotscripts.com for examples.

    Thanks,

  13. #13
    SitePoint Member
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    You folks are excellent. It doesn't look like the project will get funding to purchase OTC software anyway, so it's me or nothing. I'm getting excited about it thanks to your encouragement....you may be hearing from me again with newbie questions as I try to learn PHP overnight. (Would anyone recommend using a different language instead?)

    Don't apologize, Ken, I'm just getting started with this stuff so your note was very helpful--I really appreciated your taking time to write so much.

    Thanks all!
    vcrs

  14. #14
    imagine no limitations exbabylon's Avatar
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    nope.. PHP is the easiest to learn with the least amount of hassle, the most functionality, and it leaves room for advanced learning... my first program, from knowing nothing about PHP two months ago, was finished in one week, and that was only ONE week after my first PHP script... which was just an echo(); I read kevins article in two seperate days, and three days later, I had a start on it, then finished in five more. I did not know enough at the time I wrote it to write a flow chart... GOOD IDEA!

    check it out.. totally user interactive, etc... no changes since March 9, 2001. http://www.loadswap.com, login, logout, all the fun stuff!

    To answer your question, yes, PHP is a good language... free too... so you'll find a lot of cheap hosts with PHP and stuff.... lot's of jobs I've got lately, my clients have not had ASP, but did have PHP... and those companies with ASP, can usually get PHP on them... good luck getting ASP on a *.nix server!
    Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

    Exbabylon- Professional Internet Services

  15. #15
    Feel my RewiredMind KMxRetro's Avatar
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    I agree with that exbabylon. It took me AGES to get to grips with ASP, I just don't understand why ASP needs about 6 lines of code to connect to a DB when PHP uses 2 or sometimes even 1.

    Micro$oft Bloatware, I guess

    vcrs, if you need a place to test your scripts for free, I would recommed http://www.f2s.com wholeheartedly. Their servers *CAN* be slow sometimes, but it's rare and best of all it's FREE! MySQL support as well.

    If you need any help man, drop me an email (in my sig). I can't promise anything, but I'll certainly try to help as much as I can.

  16. #16
    imagine no limitations exbabylon's Avatar
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    i agree! Anything to help a fellow beginer PHP'r.. just don't let the evil of ASP take you over... just SAY NO! j/k... I actually know some ASP... but I much prefer the syntax and simplicity/complexity of PHP.. simple, short commands, complex results!
    Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

    Exbabylon- Professional Internet Services

  17. #17
    SitePoint Member
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    Thank you very much for your generous offers of help! You are very kind. The info on f2s.com is really valuable ...I'm not sure if I'm going to get funding (i.e. server space etc) for this project until I can already say I can do it.

    Heck, even if I don't get funding, I'm going to be glad to learn this. I've been in this job for two years and at this point mostly I'm managing data entry into the CMS that we built with help from a vendor (who now won't let us escape). It will be nice to use my brain & catch up to technological advances a little!

    Thanks again. I may well take you up on your offer (and then you'll be sorry! )

    Have a good weekend

    vcrs

  18. #18
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    ASP is for nancy boys who wet their bed's then cry for Mummy. I think that is a well established and accepted fact around here.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Guru DenverDave's Avatar
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    VBulletin ?

    I looking into forums also. It is interesting that no one has mentioned the software for the forum that we are on - vBulletin. It's not free, but the price is reasonable and they have a lite version to try out. Also the download is a zip file rather than a .tar file. Anyone have a comment on vBulletin?

    Thanks.

  20. #20
    Feel my RewiredMind KMxRetro's Avatar
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    VBulletin..

    I think VBulletin is probably the best message board software out there. I was considering using it for my oh-so-frequently name dropped upcoming site.

    Unfortunately, the cost is a little steep. I tried out a couple of alternatives, such as BlazeBoard and PHPBB and to be honest, PHPBB leads by a whisker.

    BlazeBoard looks GREAT but seems to coded quite badly, TONS of DB queries to get the thread list etc. Also, it has private messaging, feet washing, toast making and a ton of other features that I don't need that cannot be turned off without basiclly rewriting the script.

    In the end, I'll probably end up using VBulletin, but until we make some cash, PHPBB it is

    Cheers,

  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict eddiembabaali's Avatar
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    PHP is certainly the way forward .. I am not in anyway a PHP guru but I somehow learnt it without a programming backround I did some vbscript and was luckily guided by someone to avoid unportable code and programming in an environment dictated by a specific vendor ..

    cd pub \r; more beer

    Eddie

  22. #22
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    Re: Content Mgmt Sys: OTC or build your own?

    Hi

    Give Back-End a try.

    www.back-end.org

    Version 3.3 is very easy to get up and running and the code is easily manipulated for your own site(s)

    Cheers

    Tylendel


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