Wordpress - first impressions

Anderson Lizardo lizardo at linuxfromscratch.org
Thu Jan 8 12:50:25 PST 2004

Jeroen Coumans wrote:
> Some first impressions:
> - It's not a full-blown CMS, merely a publishing tool. Therefore it's 
> mainly useful for the news pages. The value to us for using it are 
> news publishing, automated archiving, automated RSS generation and 
> comments.

What I've said on a previous post: WordPress can only substitute our 
current news management system. Anything more sofisticated will be 
better done with other more powerful tool. It's a Weblog tool anyway,  
and this is its main function, which it does fairly well.

> - It has very sparse documentation and no mailing lists (although it 
> reasonably active support forums; haven't tried them yet)

I've also noted this. Most of its documentation is on a TODO stage. I 
can understand this; it is based on a previous abandoned software, and 
need some time to get contributors. Which does not mean that I accept 
this for a production environment like our Website, but that is what 
the WordPress developers can offer at the moment.

> - I'm not sure how we can convert our current news layout and 
> to the pages which wordpress generates.
> By default, Wordpress generates only one page. Via PHP and MySQL it 
> the articles and comments to this page, and via mod_rewrite it will 
> requests to this page appear as permanent links. In this format it 
>   difficult to publish different newspages like we currently have for 
> ALFS, BLFS and LFS.[cut]

That's the whole "magic" of PHP (or Perl, ASP, Python...) driven pages: 
many things are apparently done with a single page (index.php in this 
case). What changes the behaviour of the system is the _parameters_ 
passed to it. Want only General news? Go to 
http://test.linuxfromscratch.org/wordpress/index.php?cat=1. Want 
LFS-only news? change "cat=1" to "cat=2". Many Website maintainers 
don't like this behaviour, so they use mod_rewrite, to convert it to a 
more user-friendly style, like /news/general/ or /news/lfs/. So the URL 
"/news/general/" is equivalent to "/index.php?cat=1".

But I don't really recommend the use of mod_rewrite if we are thinking 
on mirroring pages. This require Mirrors maintainers make some changes 
on its webserver configuration (like allowing .htaccess use), and some 
will not want to do this for safety reasons.

> [cut] Als, pulling in the CVS changes would certainly require some
> backend work.

Definitely yes. But I think this is not that difficult. We can still use 
the cvs2cl.pl/cl2html.pl pair, but this time pulling the output XHTML 
to a changelog.html file (that will also be mirrored). On the index.php 
file we then insert a PHP include directive to insert the contents of 
this file on-the-fly.

> - I'm struggling with permalinks and mod_rewrite. I know very little 
> about regular expressions so I need some help with properly setting 
that up.

I can help you on this (It's my job, remember? ;)). Just say what 
results you want that I setup it properly.

> All in all, I'm not quite sure yet if it has all capabilities which we 
> require.[cut]

Which exact capabilities? I think that's the time to specify which 
features we are planning for the Website and/or which problems we are 
planning to address.

> For example, I haven't discovered a polling system yet. 

We have two options: use a CMS with this feature built-in or use a 
separated tool. If we need a polling system with sofisticated features 
(seems very difficult; a poll just needs to collect votes and express 
them in numbers, very simple). If we find a CMS with this feature 
built-in, and it fullfils our needs, even better.

> Anderson, what are your initial thoughts about using it?

If we need only to resolve the news management system issue (something 
really needed; I'm suspecting the LFS team is scared with the current 
system and is afraid to contribute news because could "break" 
something), WordPress is the right tool. For anything more (except the 
poll system; we can use a separated tool for this), let's try other 
alternatives (exclude Slash for a while).

Anderson Lizardo
lizardo at linuxfromscratch.org

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