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By Greg Lumley
Hi! I'm busy building a blog into my first test/learning/free/clients/project 😁
I've had a look at all the blog examples and there seem to be different ways of doing it. (the point of Processwire, I know)
It seems this is generally how it's done:
Master Blog Page
- Blog Post Child Page
- Blog Post Child Page
- Blog Post Child Page What I'm particularly interested in is the Categories. What would you advise?
I think I've even seen Categories set up as Children of a master Category page too. The pages were hidden containing no
What would you recommend?
Bare with me, I'm bashing my way through while I learn.
Here I'm introducing FlipFall Magazine, our multi-topic blog. It used to run on Wordpress but we recently switched it to ProcessWire. This was done the usual way we do it when converting our sites: install ProcessWire in a subfolder of the original Wordpress site under a hard-to-guess name, set up the new site there, then move content over manually, inspecting and updating each article as needed. After the ProcessWire site was ready, when we un-installed the Wordpress one and moved the ProcessWire site up one level to the document root, and... done.
We used the W3CSS framework because it handles the responsive breakpoints so well (no extra work for us 😉), and it tends to default to a clean modern look.
We wanted full control over the back end of the site and do customized things without having to hire a developer. As FlipFall has grown, the ability to have in-house back-end control has become even more important.
Case example: Ad partners - we now can quite easily, if we wish, place different ads on different topics on this blog at a moment's notice - no need to hire a developer. Changes like this can be implemented in-house right away. The fact that we can easily incorporate this sort of thing is really nice when we're talking with potential ad partners.
Helpful features of ProcessWire during this experience:
The ability to export and import fields in PW was key here. We had a few other article-style sites I had done in PW recently, so having the same types of templates was very helpful. We were able to export fields and templates from our existing sites and import into FlipFall as a starting base point. No need to re-invent the wheel here! Another helpful ability of PW was when we were dealing with the categories. We built the site without category templates (but with the category page field), then added the templates in later as needed - no disruption. In other words, a template-less page field worked perfectly for the categories until we needed the template, then we just created the template. Not every feature of the site needs to be thought out in absolute full beforehand, some can be added in later as needed. Very extensible and convenient. Internal links within blog posts worked well using the page select option in the link button on the editor. When moving out of staging folder and into document root, the links auto-updated, which was nice. Creating new articles is a breeze, because under PW our fields are now customized for our needs: we created all of the fields we need and none of the ones we don't. Again, this is unlike most blogging CMS's, where they try to guess what you want (and usually get it wrong). Even for people who are solely doing blogs/article sites, I feel that ProcessWire is a much better option than most blog-specific platforms, because of PW's flexibility. The only thing I miss about Wordpress is the ability to auto-schedule post publication, which for the serious blogger is important. For example, there were some occasions on some of our other blogs where we needed to schedule posts to auto-publish at 3:01am Eastern Time to allow a time-sensitive post to come out as early in time of day as possible on publication date (3:01 am US Eastern time ensures it's that same day 12:01 am on Pacific time). We were delighted to see that ProcessWire is much, much lighter on resources of the hosting environment than the same site on Wordpress - we could see this empirically on our web hosting stats before and after the switch.
Here is GoodKidsClothes.com, a blog about kids clothes - news, style tips, sale alerts, and more.
GoodKidsClothes.com originally ran on Wordpress, and I moved it to Processwire recently, the new Processwire version is shown above. There was a fair amount to change over, since it had 4 years on Wordpress before switching! I kept the colors, background, etc in line with what it had been before - a soft, friendly look. I wasn't seeking for it to be identical to its previous appearance, just similar but updated/better/more fun.
The html I did from scratch, although I used the W3CSS framework. I love W3CSS because they handle all the responsive breakpoints, and the default styling is a clean flat modern look with plenty of great pre-sets.
The reason I moved this site over to ProcessWire was not looks but actually functionality: the new Wordpress editor (Gutenburg) had just come out - one of its quirks is that it couldn't keep up with my typing, so I had to literally slow down my typing, which really defeats the purpose of WP as a blogging CMS. (Processwire's editor keeps up with me just fine). Also it was anyway time for me to manually go through and update old articles, put in new affiliate links etc, so I decided to do everything all at once and switch over to ProcessWire.
In case anyone is wondering, the switch-over was manual since I was going to examine every article I'd written to either a) update it, b) move it to another of my sites, or c) trash it. This was not time-efficent but this way I wound up with being certain everything was up to date content-wise, plus no unwanted bloat (like extra WP fields) could make its way into my Processwire database. I simply installed Processwire via 1-click Softaculous install in a subdirectory of the original Wordpress site, with the original site still running. Then after I had the Processwire version fully finished (this took several weeks), I simply uninstalled the Wordpress version and moved the Processwire site into the document root. This way I had less than 1 minute downtime.
The first menu link is an all-abilities-inclusive version of "skip to content". The actual text displayed depends on which page template is being used ( this text is assigned in _init). For example, the Article template will display "Scroll to article", while Search Results template will display "Scroll to results". Link styling in the body of article content is designed for both the desktop and mobile user, with simultaneous underlining and highlighting showing the entire link region to aim for when tapping on mobile. On the home page and some other templates as needed, skip links are available within the page. They offer the option to skip past a series of links such as social sharing links, pager navigation, etc for a) the screen reader user and b) the fully-sighted keyboard-only user (no mouse). These links only become visible to the eye when focus comes upon them via tabbing. Tab through the home page to see it in action - this is the template where the most skip links have been needed. Cookie manager - originally I used a slider for turning Google Analytics tracking on/off but changed to checkbox because I could not work out a way to manipulate slider without mouse. Newsletter - field, and feed
One feature of this site is its newsletter, and you'll see here how Processwire shines. The setup was (and still is) that on days when a new blog post relevant to children's clothes is published, subscribers get a brief email notifying them of the new article and linking to it. This is all handled by MailChimp, which I highly recommend. Under the old Wordpress system, I had to use categories to classify which of the posts wound up going into the newsletter (kids clothes) and which posts didn't (other topics like parenting etc). There was always the chance that under default WP behavior, things would be classified incorrectly if I forgot to specify categories. Under Processwire, I've set up the article template to have a field called "Newsletter" which is a simple drop-down choice of "For newsletter" or "omit from Newsletter". There is no default value, and it's a required field, ensuring that I do remember to specify it one way or another. It's such a relief to do it this way! My newsletter feed was easy to customize under Processwire: I created a feed template that selected a) all the pages using the article template that also had b) the "For newsletter" field selected, and those are listed at /newsletter in feed format. Please note that this feed may be empty right now - I omitted my existing articles from newsletter feed as subscribers have already seen them, and haven't had time to write new articles yet. To clarify, I'm expecting the newsletter feed at /newsletter to only ever be read by MailChimp, although it's certainly possible to be used by feed readers or read by humans.
Under Processwire, I was able to generate a list of articles in XML format at /sitemap.xml that I can then submit to Google as the XML sitemap for this site. Best of all, unlike web-based crawler-type sitemap generators which generate a static sitemap that you then upload to the document root, my Processwire /sitemap.xml auto-generates each time the page is loaded, so it's always auto-updated - any changes in back office like article deletion, unpublishing, adding new articles etc are reflected automatically in /sitemap.xml.
Some advantages of Processwire features when templating
$pp = $pages->findOne("template=BN-infopage, sort=created, title*=Privacy"); $ab = $pages->findOne("template=BN-infopage, sort=created, title*=About"); 2. Made use of Processwire's built-in retina-friendly image resizing class, class="hidpi" to ensure social sharing icon links render at a decent resolution on mobile screens.
To check my html and to help identify problems that are not visible to the eye, I found it incredibly helpful to use the "audit" feature available on Chromium and other Chrome-based browsers. (F12->Audit-> select options you want).
The order of the blogroll looks a little odd at first glance but it's ordered based purely on publication date. However, I updated some articles and they display the last updated date, which makes the blogroll look like it's not in date order even though it's in publication date order. Also some dates (the older article dates) reflect a user-specified date field, to show the article was valid at the time it was written (e.g. time-sensitive info such as reviews, sale alerts, etc). I'd be happy to explain further if anyone's interested. Moving forward as I write more articles, there should not be an issue, since I usually update only on or very soon after the publication date, so we should not expect to see wildly different dates on sequential articles from here on in.
Here I'm writing up about my first ProcessWire site, Reached.space, a blog and directory about shops which offer international shipping.
I'm from The GrayFly Group, which is the registered trade name for GrayFly Stationery, LLC, a limited liability company registered in the state of Kentucky, USA. You might ask, why is a stationery company creating websites?! Well, in a way both activities are very similar: both activities have the goal of getting written messages across in a pleasing manner to the reader.
With that out of the way, let's move on and explain what went on behind the scenes of the Reached.space site:
I used a free CSS-based template from W3CSS at https://www.w3schools.com/w3css/w3css_templates.asp , using mainly the "Architect" template as the basis and modifying it as needed.
The pagination feature of ProcessWire was very helpful here; I kept the home page to just two blogroll articles so that the reader was not overwhelmed, but upon pressing "more articles" the remainder of the blogroll is paginated with 4 articles to a page.
I made adjustments to my usage of the template to make it screen-reader-friendly. I used the Google Chrome extension to test out how the site would be handled with a screen reader.
Security is always important, so I was thrilled to find a great all-in-one-place security guide in the ProcessWire docs at https://processwire.com/docs/security/ - I simply went through the guide and did what it said, using it as a checklist.
As far as I'm aware, the only additional modules I used (that were not already activated by default in standard PW install) were the Upgrade and Upgrade Checker modules. The main reason for this was security considerations, but it was also an added convenience and peace of mind to have it check for updates every time I logged in.
However, I did use additional software that was not modules, as described below.
Other software - Simple HTML DOM
Here I was very fortunate to receive help from the ProcessWire community on the forum. Due to the site's monetization model being affiliate marketing, I wished to make all my external links nofollow and target _blank by default. User @Robin S was instrumental in showing me how to do this using Simple HTML DOM in the forum post https://processwire.com/talk/topic/17295-solved-how-to-make-external-links-nofollow-and-target-_blank-by-default-if-using-source-code-toggle-in-editor/
Other software - Google Analytics cookie manager
My site requirements for GDPR were specific enough that I felt I would rather develop my own code to handle Google Analytics tracking, which I'll describe here. I wanted to be certain GA tracking was disabled by default requiring opt-in, instead of opt-out. I also included in the Cookie Manager some written info about third party cookies (these are placed when clicking on affiliate links) and how the user can avoid such tracking (turn off third party cookies in their browser settings).
I also disabled front-end PW cookies as described here: https://processwire.com/talk/topic/15270-session-storage-and-lifetime/
Google Analytics cookie settings
Efficiency - optimizing 404s
I used the guide at https://processwire.com/blog/posts/optimizing-404s-in-processwire/ to sinkhole bot-driven 404 requests to a static 404 file.
Back office pic
Below is an image of how ProcessWire allows helpful field descriptions and displays them when used in templates, so that when I come to actually use or enter content in fields I created months ago, I know what the ramifications are. Very helpful. Also, when using the back office I found the Reno admin theme to be very pleasing, efficient, and easy to use.
I'm creating a News/Updates section for a client and they would like the 3 most recent Updates previewed on the home screen. So this would be Title and Date Posted. These blog posts will be child pages of a News and Updates page, which is a child of the Home page. So it's like Home -> News -> Blog posts. I don't need this to be a nav menu, just something to show the newest updates.
All help is appreciated 🙂