Mike, I've got to emphasise that I'm not after yourself or anyone else on these fora giving me custom instructions on how to implement a specific site, but rather I'm after up-to-date howto documentation on the process of doing so with WP. Although I've got a specific site in mind at the moment, I'd like to use whatever CMS I choose for other sites with very different requirements and clients.
"What specifically do want to to do with it as a CMS?"
Replicate and expand on features already in my sites, and enable colleagues to update their own content in limited areas. Features I'm looking for include:
- member's area
A restricted area with selected goodies for paid-up organisation members, with the ability to get password reminders, edit profiles, contribute to an organisational blog.
- events calendar, default listing by title in date order, options to list by location/month
- news database with RSS feed
- dynamic menu highlighting
- different templates for site sections (maybe as sub-templates from a master site template)
- complete design control over the site appearance via CSS2 (CSS3 when I get round to learning it)
- searchable/browsable links repository with Dublin Core-compliant metadata
I could go on, but I've not written a full spec, as I would do if preparing a site for a client. Mind you, what I'm writing here is becoming a spec of sorts.
I've not firmly decided on WordPress as a CMS, as although it plainly can act as such (the existence of non-blog WP sites attests to that) the articles I've seen require you to do one or more of the following:
- hack the PHP code
- create your own theme
- adapt an existing theme/skin (eg Semiologic)
- install and configure various plugins
As explained in my first post, although a PHP coder I really do not want to get into code hacking, not least because, if I do change scripts, I'll likely find it difficult to upgrade WP versions without overwriting my hacks and having to redo them.
The main article I've been using is on the Graphic Design blog which has lots of links to other articles, some of which have suffered linkrot. I've looked at the Semiologic theme but the documentation is patchy. I'm going to try the Constructor theme to see if that gives me design freedom. I've looked at the following articles in detail:
- How to create a WordPress theme
- WordPress CMS
- WordPress as CMS (Stanford)
(1) is limited to themes and although helpful doesn't address some of my reqs, plus it requires PHP hacking. (2) is still in rough draft and is patchy and lacking detail, but does have links to other articles to follow up. (3) requires code hacking, and discouragingly the developed site gives a database error.
In a way, WP is already a CMS, for the production of specialised websites, ie blogs, so it shouldn't take too much bother to wrangle it into a platform to produce more general sites. It's just knowing where to start.
This is all getting a bit detailed. Surely there must be a book on this somewhere? The important thing is that I'm looking to be more efficient in development and save time. I've already rejected CMSs like Joomla, Drupal, typo3 and others, because they require serious time investment to learn, which is fine if you're having to churn out highly-featured sites regularly under time pressure as the investment is worthwhile, but that's not the situation I'm in - the sites I manage I do in my spare time outside my day job.