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Web Development Thread, Church Website CMS in Coding and Web Development; I have, either bravely or foolishly, volunteered to design and host a Church website for a Church that currently has ...
  1. #1
    pwds's Avatar
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    Church Website CMS

    I have, either bravely or foolishly, volunteered to design and host a Church website for a Church that currently has no electronic presence (beyond a Yahoo e-mail address).

    I'm planning static information pages, rolling news stories, group mailing lists, calendar with events, and possibly to look at podcasting sermons later on.

    The most important bit is that it isn't tied to heavily to one individual (me or anyone else) such that the website folds as and when that person leaves the area or becomes too busy.

    I mostly have experience with Drupal which I'm not sure will do the job with a lot of hacking (specifically around the calendar/events issue), and Wordpress- which possibly will. Despite great plugins and a auto-updater I'm not sold that this is the best solution for this type of site (although many do use it as such).

    What I do use has to be free, Open Source, and should ideally have a reasonably strong community offering plugins and support so if I'm hit by the proverbial bus life (for the website at least) will go on. I'm not scared of a challenge and learning a new system, but it must be easy to maintain and update once in place.

    Have you any suggestions or practical experience to relay for a project of this type, both technical (the right CMS, features to try and those to avoid, good plugins) and human (how to achieve user buyin from a diverse community). On that note, the Church is outward looking and has a diverse range of ages and backgrounds, so this may impact the choice of style and design.

    All comments appreciated.
    Last edited by pwds; 22nd February 2010 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Typo

  2. #2

    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Wordpress?

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    pwds (22nd February 2010)

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    +1 - Wordpress is very easy to maintain, use and lots of cool plug-ins... just make sure you're on the latest version to ensure no takeovers by skiddies putting pictures of devils on it, kids can be sad like that.

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    pwds (22nd February 2010)

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    DaveMurphy's Avatar
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    I found Joomla to be a GOD send, I've actually done 4 Church sites so far why I don't know.

    If you set the restrictions for them to login and submit articles to different categories and upload newsletter with DOCman they'll be happy!

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    pwds (22nd February 2010)

  8. #5

    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Having tried to implement a calendar on a Wordpress site, I would say to avoid it if that is an important feature for you. I love Wordpress but there are no really good calendar plugins that I've found - most I've tried either aren't being actively maintained or have theme issues that require hacking around.

    P.S. More than happy if someone can prove me wrong!

  9. Thanks to AngryTechnician from:

    pwds (22nd February 2010)

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    pwds's Avatar
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    How easy is it to implement an event calendar in Joomla? Are there any good plugins for e-mail lists?

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    pwds (22nd February 2010)

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    gibbo_ap's Avatar
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    +1 for joomla, im really getting into it and is suprisingly good when you sit down and give it time.

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    pwds (22nd February 2010)

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    Devontechie's Avatar
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    I'd say to use Joomla as well.

    Have just had a quick look at calendars for it and have found this extension JEvents - Joomla! Extensions Directory also there is this list of extensions for Email Lists Mailing & Distribution Lists - Joomla! Extensions Directory

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    pwds (6th May 2010)

  17. #10

    webman's Avatar
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    I'd use Wolf CMS (dead straight-forward) and Google Calendar.

    Wolf is a port of Frog CMS, which I use for Spennymoor Town Band. Has a calendar & events page, and easy enough to use so one our non-technical secretary can add/modify pages.

  18. 2 Thanks to webman:

    mark (22nd February 2010), pwds (6th May 2010)

  19. #11
    pwds's Avatar
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    I'm still to get the "clients", that is to say the Pastor, to come and sit down and tell me what they want- or provide any content on request. At present the Church is mid name-change and has no logo, no "corporate colours" and newsletters are just typed sheets without design, so it's been really hard to actually get anything done beyond a vanilla site.

    That said I have installed Joomla (and updated), downloaded and unzipped the excellent Edugeek package and uploaded the orange theme via FTP (thanks guys), got maps and directions curtesy of Google and got a calendar up. I've also got a backup strategy for them so hopefully they won't lose everything in a hack/host change.

    Welcome to The Dales Christian Centre

    The questions I have for now are related to the rokslideshow module. I uploaded the latest version direct from the makers and have it set show images from a "comingsoon" directory. I intend to create a dedicated FTP account for (that will have the root- and only- folder as the one defined for these images). The idea is that the EU can treat this as close to a normal windows folder as possible, dragging news images in and deleting those for events that have passed. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this as "idiot proof" as possible for non technical end users. I had been planning to add a Network Place in Windows although I'm not sure if you can use SFTP for this. Does anyone have a better suggestion for management of these images? Is there a good plugin (including paid) where you can upload via the backend GUI and set expiry against the image at the same time- so they're not having to remember to do it?

    Secondly, rokslideshow has no failover in the event java isn't present or enabled on the device. I'm thinking of using CSS to position a image in exactly the same location as the rokslideshow module (and of exactly the same size), which will then show if Javascript is disabled- although it will obviously be static. I going to look in to using the background image property of the containing div and set dimensions in CSS as well. I am aware this is probably going to horribly fail in Netscape and IE6 etc. but does anyone have any other comments or criticisms on this?

    Lastly, from a design perspective, I've been drafted in to help with the design of our own Church as well following their migration to Wordpress after a virus attack. I'll probably move the Dales website closer to the look of this Wordpress theme I hacked about a bit to their spec, so for the benefit of both Churches have you got any design comments/suggestions.

    The development address New Life Church Derby which will change when I get the go ahead to take it live

  20. #12

    nephilim's Avatar
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    e107 or Joomla are my recommendations

  21. #13
    pwds's Avatar
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    I have in fact installed Joomla with reference to the OP, thank you
    Last edited by pwds; 6th May 2010 at 03:45 PM.

  22. #14

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    Most definitely Wordpress... by far the nicest CMS system I've used, huge community backing, great SEO (probably not too big a deal for a non profit organisation), and easy to write custom themes for.

    I'm surprised at the suggestion of E107, having used it a couple of times (our old school site was built on it) I would personally avoid at all costs - it also produces some really nasty code! Also if you can't be arsed to write a custom theme the themes out there are poor at the best of times.
    Last edited by SteveP; 13th May 2010 at 11:16 AM.

  23. #15

    nephilim's Avatar
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    I havent had issues with e107. If you work it properly, it is an effective CMS, but not as good as Joomla in that respect

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