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Lost in Textpattern

January 15, 2006 by debbie T | Textpattern

I have a love/hate relationship with learning new software. I love the challenge, but there is also frustration and a sense of overwhelming as well. I feel like I want to just give up. That is how I am feeling today about Textpattern.

My project is a conversion of my authored instructional course content into an online Content Management system. I have finished the initial design (xhtml & CSS,) and now I am starting to customize the backend of the CMS. It has been so long since I worked with Textpattern, so it is like starting over.

Of course, I am frustrated, and ready to take the easy way out and just use WordPress or pay for a new commercial version of Expression Engine. But I think (in my heart) that Textpattern will be a good fit for this project; I just need to stay focused and read read read through all the documentation at Textbook, the forums, and FAQ pages.

I laugh because I go through the same overwhelming process each time I learn a complicated CMS, and then it finally clicks, and I feel proud and happy that I accomplished what I set out to do.

UPDATE: ugh, this is getting harder by the hour. Do I really want to spend all this time, to find out in the end that Textpattern might not be the right choice? Sigh. I am going to have to do some serious thinking.

I can’t tell if I am having doubts because I am overwhelmed, or because Textpattern might not be the right CMS.

There are 3 comments

  1. I did what turned out to be a test site with TextPattern last year. I never got to know it well enough to know whether I just preferred WordPress because I knew it already or because WP worked better for me.

    I’m interested though in your project as I currently have a large number of tutorials in ATutor and desperately want to get them out of there. Some of my tutorials are 500 words, while others conists of up to 20 or 30 ‘pages’ of at least 500 words each.

    Is that the kind of thing you’re doing?

    Comment by Miraz on January 15th, 2006
  2. I was so tempted to just drop it and go to WP too. I was “this close” to giving up, but I took a shower, felt refreshed, then posted my question on the Txp forum. I quickly got an answer that helped.

    Did you not like ATutor? I had heard it was a good CMS for education. I didn’t necessarily want to go the full-on educational establishment route, I felt a CMS would do the trick for me.

    But anyway, what I have are lessons from when I taught at an online school. In pdf form, each lesson is over 20 pages as well. I decided to break them down into smaller chunks to make it more ‘specialized’ – so if someone wanted to learn about something specific, it would be just one article.

    I found out that Txp can insert up to 10 custom fields that can be used to sort the articles. So, I can assign each article a specific number, then on my front page, I can list all articles so the visitors can move through the articles as more of tutorial, in order starting with beginner. I didn’t want it to look like a blog generated by dates.

    If I start with article #101, the next article could be #105 to leave room to insert other articles in between.

    I imagine that is also a feature in WP, but I think Txp is a little more powerful. I like their “sections” – I don’t know if I like their template process, but I think I might have found a way around it. I still have to check on it a little more.

    Comment by debbieT on January 15th, 2006
  3. Atutor is probably great for educational establishments but it’s way too complex and complicated and sophisticated for what I need.

    The way it works it takes about 5 clicks for a visitor to get to the actual article – if they can even figure out what’s going on. I’m just not very happy with it at all, but it never was the right thing for me, I think.

    Comment by Miraz on January 18th, 2006