Note: This article has also been translated into Swedish.
- Part 1: Intro to Textpattern
- Part 2: The Textpattern Engine
- Part 3: Textpattern Sections
- Part 4: Textpattern Pages
- Part 5: Textpattern Content
- Part 6: Textpattern Forms
- Part 7: Guest Writer: Nathan Smith of SonSpring Design
- Part 8: Guest Writer: Garrett Dimon of garrettdimon.com
Part 1: Introduction to Textpattern
Welcome to the Textpattern Manual, a multi-part introduction to Textpattern. Textpattern is not the simplest CMS; however, once mastered, it is beautiful in its practical functionality. First, I must acknowledge some other tutorials that are still great resources. This series is meant to be a comprehensive manual for Textpattern, used as a thorough guide for beginners and a quick reference for experts.
The most important thing to remember about Textpattern is that it is much more than a blog script and must be approached as such – a robust, business-level Content Management System. This tutorial will aim to give you an understanding of the general architecture of Textpattern so that the smaller program details become less daunting.
This is how I see Textpattern. First, is the engine itself which I have, luckily, only had to delve into on a few occasions. This area is housed within the “textpattern” directory and contains the heart of the CMS. Only intense pickiness will require you to modify anything in this area as most features can be added with plugins. The only areas I have had to modify are the “comment.php” and “taghandlers.php” which were fairly simple processes because the code is thoroughly commented.
Next are the sections. Textpattern sections are very powerful content and presentation dividers. Each section can take its own page template and style sheet, and the section’s content can be called directly. Sections can be used to create entirely different blogs, but in most cases, sections are used to manage “static” content such as “About” and “Contact” pages.
The next level falls into the presentation area of Textpattern. Page Templates and CSS control the look of the site and can be section-specific. The page template is the simple HTML/XHTML structure of your website. We can use various tags to call the articles from the content side of the CMS into the pages.
After the website layout comes the website content. This is perhaps the simplest part of Textpattern because it takes the structure of most other systems. This area includes images, files, links, and any other types of actual content whether contributed by the author or visitors.
The next level returns to the presentation of the website but at a smaller level. Textpattern forms are more detailed layout elements that directly affect individual content entires. While page templates dictated the presentation and structure of content listings, forms act more specifically on the actual entries. For example, the “default” article form modifies the structure and style of the article title, body and associated links.
Finally, the last structural element of Textpattern are categories. These pertain to individual articles and are only labeled as a “structural element” because of the various tags that make use of them.
Obviously, this is only a simple introduction to the much wider complexities of Textpattern, so stay tuned for the remaining classes where I (and maybe some guest authors) will explore each aspect in depth.
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