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The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Sat. Jul 10, 2004

Textpattern Resources and Tutorials

NOTE: Though you’re welcome to peruse the links below, this page has been made obsolete by the far superior collection of Textpattern Resources at textpattern.org, the documentation at textpattern.net, as well as the release of Textpattern 4.0 at textpattern.com.

Over the past couple of months, a lot of people have switched the software they use to create their weblog, for one reason or another. Many have chosen Textpattern, and then wonder, “where’s the documentation? Where’s the tutorials? How do I figure this out?”

Part of the problem is that many people switch from Movable Type, and expect a similar experience. But Movable Type is 3.5 years old, now on version 3.0, with a huge community creating plug-ins, tutorials, and offering other support. It’s relatively mature software. By comparison, you should view Textpattern as … an adventure! It’s not version 3.0, it’s not even a beta for the 1.0 release candidate, it’s a gamma (Later: Release Candidate 1 came out 9/20/2004). As the “deanload” page says, “Note that current versions presuppose existing site design skills: there is nothing plug-and-play about Textpattern, yet.” Its vintage is not 2001 like MT, it is this year, but it comes from a fine and reputable vineyard in France. The community has grown immensely just in the quarter year I’ve been hangin’ around, and will continue to do so.

And another part of the problem is the different mindset required to understand Textpattern. It takes a bit of time to wrap your head around its concepts and tags. And while I experienced the same thing when I switched from Blogger to Greymatter, and from Greymatter to Movable Type, it seemed more acute this time around. Some of the links below address this directly.

Which is the point of this article; the links. Below I’ve collected the Textpattern resources I’ve come across in the past three months, and I’ll try to keep it updated as new ones appear. So, go “Deanload Textpattern,” and then dive in to these links:

Textpattern Support Forum — A great community of people, eager to help. Just beware of a somewhat flaky search function that often gives a lot of unrelated returns.

Textpattern Documentation Roundup – Added to the forums in late September, this page will eventually contain links to all known Textpattern documentation and resources.

Textpattern Tags: A Manual for Impatient Users — Perhaps the most critical document, this lists the known TXP tags and attributes, to be used in templates and forms. And I’ll use this opportunity to add one not currently listed. The tag to create the timestamp for the article —  <txp:posted />  — is known to be formatted as specified by the “Date Format” or “Archive Date Format” on the “Admin > Preferences” screen. However, the tag also will take the attribute format=”X”, using the characters defined in the function PHP: date. For example, on my site I use <txp:posted format="m.d.y @ H:i:s " /> which renders a timestamp format of 07.10.04 @ 13:05:22.

Textpattern Semantics — “This article is here to explain the elements in the Textpattern structure of design, and their relationship to one another. A correct understanding of Textpattern’s concepts & intended purposes is grease on the waterslide of happiness and fulfillment.

Textpattern 101 — “I created this essay as a means to get folks started with TXP after reading a lot of the questions on the support forums. It is not intended to be a particularly technical explanation about how to do very specific things. For that the forums are the best spot. This is intended to answer the sorts of questions that usually start out ‘It looks nice, what am I supposed to do now?’

Tutorial on the Textpattern Presentation Model — “This tutorial focuses on the TextPattern presentation model. Three elements of the model are discussed: page templates, stylesheets, and sections. After you see the interrelationship of these elements, you will be well on your way to developing your website using TextPattern.

Vinay Venkatesh’s Current TXP Templates — Vinay has been keeping his updated TXP templates available online for anyone to view. Sometimes it helps to understand the tag usage when you see them used outside the default setup.

Unofficial Textpattern Styles – This is my own offering, a small collection of copy-and-paste styles for the new Textpattern user who is still using the original templates and forms from the default install.

ALA: Build a PHP Switcher technique to use in Textpattern.

Textpattern Plug-ins — This collection was last updated June 11, and points you to the new forum repository, the Central Plug-in List.

TextPattern Gallery 1.21 — TextPattern Gallery is a “plug-in” that adds new functionality for image display using Textpattern. He’s also made available his .htaccess Rewrite Rules for Clean URL’s.

// hicksdesign — Here you’ll find a beautifully rendered Textpattern site, along with some specific tips and hacks. Textpattern Notes Part 1 covers Clean URLs for the news feeds, Shortstats, and mixing hard coded and TXP driven pages. Textpattern Notes Part 2 is about hacking the TXP comments system to change the tags used to display comments, and allow live previews. Textpattern Notes Part 3 offers a hack to prevent you receiving an email notification of your own comments (future Textpattern notes can likely be found via this search).

Moving from Movable Type to Textpattern — “This article is about my experience converting two Movable Type (MT) blogs to Textpattern (TXP). It’s not a step-by-step how-to, more a guide to (hopefully) help you along the way.

Converting from Blogger to Textpattern — Cleverly uses the Blogger to MT conversion template to get Blogger content into Textpattern.

If you’re having initial problems with your Textpattern setup, zem’s guide to Common Textpattern Issues may be of help. He also has tutorials on “Managing static pages with Textpattern,” and “Creating a Photoblog with Textpattern.”

And in closing, a tip of my own for those who’d like to experiment. Textpattern is very easy to setup with the default install (maybe ten minutes), and equally easy to wipe out (delete the Textpattern directory and the database, and simply start over). Trust me, I did it several times (you have to make mistakes in order to learn from them). So it’s easy to install and play with. Plus, on most servers, if your current home page is named “index.html” you can “hide” your Textpattern playin’, as it’s at “index.php.” For example, when a visitor requests “yourdomain.com/” the server will automatically send them to “yourdomain.com/index.html”. At the same time, you can view your Textpattern output at “yourdomain/index.php”. When you reach the point you are happy with your Textpattern setup, and are ready for the rest of the world to see it, simply delete “index.html,” and the server will show the Textpattern page.


Peanut Gallery

1  Jan wrote:

So, you are saying that I inspired you? Where is the watercooler crowd when you need them?

Thanks. I am running out of excuses to not have a blog yet.

And if you like Dew and coffee, try Dew with Kahlua. Really, try it.

Comment by Jan · 07/10/2004 10:06 PM
2  Zack wrote:

Thanks for these links. I have a TextPattern babylog installed but haven’t found the time yet to undertand TXP.

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