Intro to Textpattern

Textpattern Manual

Note: This article has also been translated into Swedish.

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.

Textpattern Structure

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.

  1. Nice Intro I enjoyd reading it :)


    Nov 30, 11:18 PM #

  2. I’ve been using TXP for over two months now, and know a bit, but this series should be really helpful to learn the other stuff. can’t wait!


    Dec 1, 04:43 AM #

  3. Look forward to the readings. : – )

    cody lindley

    Dec 1, 06:58 AM #

  4. I have been toying with the idea of switching to TXP from WordPress so this will be a great resource to possibly help me along the way. I’ll be looking forward to future installments for sure.

    Shawn Grimes

    Dec 1, 10:01 AM #

  5. Shawn: To try to entice you to switch, I’ll be writing an article on creating a Textpattern site from start to finish, including an example template that people can download and re-use as needed.

    Nathan Smith

    Dec 1, 12:55 PM #

  6. Wow Nathan, that sounds like a really good article you’re kicking up. Can’t wait to read it!


    Dec 1, 06:27 PM #

  7. @Nathan: I will be looking forward to that also.

    @Thame: You might want to change Nathan’s name to Nathan Smith instead of Nathan Spring :p

    Shawn Grimes

    Dec 2, 07:36 AM #

  8. Haha thanks Shawn, can you tell I’m severely dyslexic :D


    Dec 2, 04:09 PM #

  9. hey, nice articles. been looking for something like this for some time now, cant wait to read the next installment.



    Dec 3, 02:30 AM #

  10. kumar: The second part of the series is out


    Dec 3, 07:14 AM #

  11. Thank you. I’ve been looking for something just like this.

    Adam Messinger

    Dec 18, 12:58 PM #

  12. Glad I could help. Stay tuned for the rest of the series and the guest articles.


    Dec 18, 09:33 PM #

  13. Thanks
    Rather clearly.

    Affordable web hosting


    Oct 5, 12:19 PM #

  14. wow, you carried good work out. well nice!

    3dsl Eugen

    Nov 28, 10:29 AM #

  15. Just getting to know textpattern. You look like you have a nice resource going here. Taking a deeper look..


    Jun 10, 04:03 PM #

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