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
- orders a page not by date of posting (like the blog frontpage) but by “event date” (which will be in the future), closest date first
- Automatically ceases to display events that are in the past, and removes them from the database (or optionally, removes events that are x days old)
- allows the user to define an event as reoccurring (every 6 months, every year), so it doesn’t get removed when this instance is in the past (or maybe, this is better combined with the above, so the removal of past events feature is selected or de-selected on post-by-post basis)
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!