Bruce Lawson's personal site

WordPress as a CMS: diary plugin wanted

For small sites that I make as freebies or cheapies for charities I’m involved with, I try to give all the content work to the site owners, and so need a CMS (Content Management System). Good semantics, reasonable documentation, user-friendliness and the price tag mean that WordPress is my first port of call.

I generally use a heavily customised WordPress 2 install, with my accessibility hacks to the front end, and some hacks to the admin screens to remove functions that the punter doesn’t require. (I like to remove superfluous options as it’s less to confuse the non-techie social secretary of the Malvern Lyncathropy Association).

I keep the bundled TinyMCE “visual editor”, even though it’s impossible to tab out of the editing screen and it can mangle code. But the good committee of the Llangollen Line-Dancing and Felching Association are never going to learn semantic XHTML, and I figure that the decent semantic framework of modified Kubrick and the valiant attempt that TinyMCE makes to produce good code beats other freebie blogging tools that I’ve seen.

By way of digression, the single weakest link in the chain of validity and accessibility of user-maintained websites (or those that accept contributions from readers, like most blogs) is the mechanism by which people enter their content. Rumour has it that xstandard produces more robust code than the bundled WordPress editor. Patrick Lauke said at @media that he was going to work on a WordPress plugin that wraps the freebie xstandard Lite editor. But we were pissed at the time, so he may have forgotten saying it.

Anyway, one thing that all freebie sites seem to have in common is that they need a “diary” or calendar section of upcoming events. My PHP/ MySQL knowledge is inadequate to code such a thing, so I’m asking the community if anyone knows of a WordPress plugin that allows the user to write up details of a scheduled event (in exactly the same way as writing a blog post) on an “events” page, but which

If anyone knows of such a plugin, please let me know. If you write one like this, I promise to father all your children. And give you a free copy of Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance what I (co)-wrote.

Oh – and Happy Solstice!

17 Responses to “ WordPress as a CMS: diary plugin wanted ”

Comment by jim

In theory, as the orderby value can be the name of any field in the wp_post table.

You can add a custom field (Call it ‘event_date’)
http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Custom_Fields

when writing posts enter dates into the field in this format

YYYYMMDDHHMM

i.e. for an event at June 22nd 2006 at 1.35pm you would enter

200606221335

then sort the posts by that parameter
http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/get_posts#Parameters

Not displaying posts older than X days should be simple enough…

Dunno about the repeat / Yearly bit though…

maybe thats somewhere for you to start?

Comment by Bruce

Sorry – the URL in Matt’s comment above should be http://blog.firetree.net/2005/07/18/eventcalendar-30/

For some reason, since upgrading to WordPress 2.0, the comments box wrecks URLs that people enter, and adds backslashes before apostrophes; even when I edit their comments it does it.

Together with the incompatability with Spam karma that causes it not to count comments, I’m beginning to regret the upgrade.

Comment by patrick h. lauke

just to let you know that yes, i’m working on the xstandard-wordpress-plugin as we speak. it’s tricky, though…because of WP’s architecture, i’ll have to use javascript to wrap the xstandard object around the existing textarea in the admin screen. either that, or hacking away at the admin templates (which is far less portable)…

Comment by Bruce

@Adam,
thanks. The sothq events plugin is the most elegant solution, as it is a pure plugin, but unfortunately it only allows 120 characters per event, and doesn’t allow entering it via the visual editor.

So I’m going with the firetree event calendar, albeit with some misgivings, as it demands hackery to the guts of WordPress which would be overwritten if they ever upgrade. It still shows the posts with the farthest away event first, rather than the most imminent date first (which is the most intuitive).

Thanks to all. Is there any interest out there in a zip of WordPress 2, cutomised as an events calendar for a Society rather than a blog? If so, let me know, and I’ll document all the changes I’m making in a future post and zip up the source when it’s finished.

Comment by Tarwin

I’m sure there’s an RSS display plugin for WP. You could just get them to open a google calendar (or the like) account and read their RSS or even iCal feeds.

That sounds like what you want?

I might look into this myself, and if so, I’ll post back here.

Comment by nchenga

i’m also looking for something similar and would be interested in hearing your experience with the firetree plugin.

i guess, there’s also the possibility to add Google Calendar events using rss or html.

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